Simon Holt: That’ll do for me
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt nominates his best bets for the second day of The Open from Cheltenham.
Former World Hurdle winner can take BetVictor Gold Cup glory
MORE OF THAT, the former World Hurdle winner, looks to have a favourite's chance to lift Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham, the first major handicap chase of the season.
The Jonjo O'Neill-trained eight-year-old has been lightly raced over the years, but boasts a record of seven victories from nine starts including a defeat of Champion Hurdle heroine Annie Power in the staying hurdle championship at the Festival in 2014.
After winning that race, More Of That earned a handicap rating of 169 over the smaller obstacles but he can run off just 154 now after winning two of his three starts over fences last season.
Impressive when winning his first two chases here (on both the Old and New Courses), he was made favourite for the RSA Chase in March only to break a blood vessel and finish third behind Blaklion. In the circumstances, that may have been a good effort and his trainer still rates him a possible Gold Cup hope, and reports the horse in very good form for this test.
On running at this meeting last year, More Of That is quite a bit worse off with As De Mee (who he beat two-and-a-half lengths) and fourth-placed Double Shuffle but he was a comfortable winner and gave the impression that there was much more in the tank.
Last year's winner Annacotty bids to defy a 9lb rise in the ratings and loves the course having followed up here in January, but the fact that Buywise (runner-up 12 months ago) is now 7lb better off for just a half length beating illustrates that he faces a tough task.
Moreover, this could be a stronger renewal though Buywise has often threatened to win a major handicap chase and, after a promising reappearance over hurdles last month, may well be primed for another big run provided the jumping problems which have dogged his career do not resurface.
With a clear round, the Evan Williams-trained nine-year-old would have decent each-way claims again.
As ever, Paul Nicholls is strongly represented with the four-year-old Frodon possibly the leading hope of the champion trainer's four runners.
For a young horse, this French import jumps exceptionally well but his three chase victories have come in small fields, latterly when finishing alone at Wincanton.
Frodon carries a 5lb penalty for that latest win last Saturday but actually runs off a 2lb higher mark than his reassessed rating and, for all his promise, this is a very different test.
The other Nicholls runners are Art Mauresque who beat Double Shuffle (1lb better off) by a head at Chepstow last time, Bouvreuil, who finished just over four lengths in front of Double Shuffle (just 1lb better off now) when second in a novices' handicap chase at the Festival here in March and the aforementioned As De Mee who became a bit disappointing towards the end of last season and finally gained his first win over fences against much weaker opposition at Fontwell three weeks ago.
All three are useful young chasers but probably need to find more.
Like Annacotty, Village Vic seems to relish Cheltenham and landed two big chases here last term resulting in a 19lb rise in the ratings. Philip Hobbs' front-runner has a great attitude but failed to figure at the Festival behind Vautour in the Ryanair Chase in which he was a long way behind sixth-placed Taquin De Seuil (Annacotty 11th).
The latter, a stable companion of More Of That, has struggled to find his best form since beating Uxizandre in the JLT Novices' Chase at the Festival in 2014 but there were signs that all is not lost in a hurdling return at Chepstow last month.
Later, ALLYSSON MONTERG could be the one to be on in the Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle.
This lightly-raced six-year-old was only narrowly beaten by the useful Champers On Ice over two-and-a-half miles here in January before slamming Potters Legend (subsequently third at the Aintree Grand National meeting) by nine lengths at Leicester.
Allysson Monterg was then not disgraced on his final start when, sent off at 40/1, he finished sixth behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Festival and, a horse with further improvement in him, looks fairly handicapped here with Aidan Coleman jocked up.
Trainer Richard Hobson doesn't have too many horses but they are in good form judged on the victory of Valadom in a valuable handicap chase at Bangor on Wednesday.
Posted 1120 GMT on 11/11/2016