12.40 Cheltenham: Our Verdict
Our racing team weigh up their best bets in the Sky Bet Money Back race on Saturday – the 12.40 at Cheltenham.
Alan King: Trainer traditionally does well with his juvenile hurdlers
Will Hayler – East Indies
East Indies is by no means the only son of Authorized to prove hard to control on the racecourse, but again like his sire there's plenty of power under the bonnet. He pulled for his head like a raving lunatic for most of the way on his hurdling debut at Plumpton, charging into the lead after the first flight and running himself into the ground, only to rally once headed and surge back into the lead again close home. The bare form of that run is very, very ordinary, but if he gets a tow here and has been any way calmed down by a couple of months off the track since, I'm convinced he can prove himself a half-decent hurdling prospect – after all, eight flights of hurdles has proved the making of many an errant rogue in the past.
Matt Brocklebank – Diable De Sivola
Nick Williams won this race a few years ago with Pistolet Noir and it could be worth taking a chance on his Diable De Sivola. His effort at Huntingdon last month can be marked up significantly as he hung to the left throughout and had previously shown some pretty promising form at Uttoxeter and Fontwell. Back on a left-handed circuit, Lizzie Kelly's mount is expected to prove his most recent effort all wrong and outgun a few of the better-fancied runners in this field.
Ben Coley – Nucky Thompson
A difficult race to attempt to solve, particularly without the benefit of a market check, but Nucky Thompson is selected in the assumption he'll be underestimated. He did well to make all at Warwick last time and a line through the sixth gives him the beating of Defi Du Seuil. Noel Fehily keeps the ride and is two from four for Richard Spencer, who applies a first-time tongue strap in the hope of finding further improvement from a horse who was a decent handicapper on the Flat. Defi Du Seuil and Wealth Des Mottes are almost certainly better long-term prospects but under ideal conditions, perhaps Nucky Thompson can head off in front and keep them all at bay in a race which provided a turn-up last year.
Dave Ord – Defi De Seuil
A difficult race to have a strong opinion in but there are very good words for French imports Wealth Des Mottes and Defi De Seuil and preference is for the latter. This is a much deeper heat than the one he contested on his British debut at Ffos Las but Philip Hobbs' charge could not have been more impressive, jumping soundly, hitting the front two out and winning with any amount in hand. He escapes a penalty as that was only a Class 5 maiden hurdle and can take advantage of that before going on to better things.
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