Seymour Biz looks ahead to a brace of important Cheltenham races and believes there is value to be found in each.
Some of the best chasers and hurdles from last season have retired or are suffering injuries, so we look unlikely to see some of the stars of previous years. Douvan is reported to have a pelvic fracture and is unlikely to be seen on a racecourse again. Faugheen pulled up at Leopardstown at the end of December and looked a pale shadow of her former self. Nichols Canyon fell also at Leopardstown and sadly was fatally injured. Bristol De Mai was reported to be suffering from ulcers after his poor show in the King George. Coneygree has pulled up in both his starts this season, but is now reported in very good form, I’m not so sure. Altior has had a breathing op, he is due a prep race at Newbury next month, so we will be able to see how he has got on over the winter. Mengli Khan looks a nut job and Gorden Elliot looks to have his hands full to sort him out. And that’s just a few of the horses we know have problems, between now and March there will be several more. However there will be some who’s star will rise into the ascendancy and these are the ones we shall try pick out as the weeks go on. The races we will be looking at will be those that offer punters some value, the ones we will omit are those with short priced favourites. The Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase has Footpad at a short price and many pundits are talking him up as unbeatable. The Unibet Champion Hurdle has Buveur D’Air at odds on, 1/2 in places. The OLBG Mares Hurdle has Apples Jade at 4/5 but she may go for the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle. Altior is evens for the Betway Queen Mother Chase, I will wait until after her prep run, I am not convinced all is well. So this week I will look at a couple of the other races on offer.
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TIMICO CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP CHASE
For me, the key to this race is the King George and what we saw at at Kempton was the best display of chasing we have seen this year. Might Bite was imperious, the way he looked his challengers in the eye and beat them off one by one was really something to to see. After the likes of Bristol De Mai, Thistlecrack and Whisper had been seen off, he had a rest, let a couple of rags come close and just toyed with them. Nicky Henderson says he just loves to show off. I cannot understand the minds of some pundits saying they expected him to win by miles and they were underwhelmed by his performance, they should watch the race again and see what a clever horse he is, and Nico de Boinville understands him perfectly. Over in Ireland in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, Sizing John ran a stinker and was found to be clinically abnormal post race. In the same race Djakadam was pulled up and Yorkhill was last and out with the washing. The winner Road To Respect is not yet the finished article and his price of 10/1 for the Gold Cup reflects that.
5 points win – Might Bite (7/2 RaceBets)
JLT NOVICES CHASE
Yanworth’s victory in the Dipper Novices Chase has certainly put him on song for this, his trainer Alan King states he was delighted with him. He was short at one or two fences but that is part of his preparation. Barry Geraghty certainly got the best out of him and was able to squeeze out Sizing Tennessee at the line,with Willoughby Court and Ballyandy trailing in their wake. Footpad will probably dodge the JLT for the Arkle, Finian’s Oscar does not look himself this season, he just doesn’t seem to be enjoying his racing. Gordon Elliot’s Death Duty was a tired horse when falling at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, so I think Yanworth has the best form of the principals in the betting.
2 pts win – Yanworth (8/1 RaceBets)
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