Money Back: 1.10 Cheltenham
Sky Bet are offering 'Money Back' if your selection finishes second or third in the 1.10 Cheltenham – check out our verdicts.
You have to fear Saphir Du Rheu here as he's handicapped to win this if back on track but those comments also applied ahead of his seasonal reappearance third at Ascot and fall in the Hennessy, so a narrow preference is for Foxtail Hill. Nigel Twiston-Davies has his team in rattlingly good form right now and this eight-year-old has never been better. He was found a weak race at Kempton last time, winning despite jumping markedly to his left throughout, and will be much more at home here. He's a sporting choice at a decent price with Thomas Crapper also on the shortlist.
Annacotty has won the last two renewals and I wouldn't rule out a return to form with Alan King's stable in such fine form but I'm a glutton for punishment and am going to give another chance to Saphir Du Rheu. He didn't get very far in the Hennessy and this trip is undeniably on the short side for him but the winter ground and stiff finish should help to bring his stamina into play. He's so well handicapped on the best of his novice chase form and is still a relatively young horse. If he can't make his presence felt in this company then perhaps we'll see him lining up in the Foxhunters in a year or two instead!
Aso was hit pretty hard with a 7lb rise for winning at Chepstow but Venetia Williams' charge was dead impressive there and looks capable of going from strength to strength given he's still a seven-year-old with relatively few miles on the clock compared to some of these rivals. He's barely put a foot wrong this season and has his ideal conditions once again, with Charlie Deutsch's 3lb never to be underestimated. Regal Encore looked a reformed character at Ascot but has to prove it wasn't a flash in the pan and there's a strong chance the rest of his campaign is going to be geared around the Festival anyway. Saphir Du Rheu is the biggest danger to the selection but he's had a few chances and it looks a safer option to side with the thriving Aso, for a trainer who tends to do well at this meeting (won this race in 2013).
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