Our tipster Karl Hedley provides the odds for the weekend's races
1-50 BETBRIGHT CUP CHASE (GRADE 2) – 3 M 1 F 110YDS
Smad Place has a good course record compared to a few of his rivals this afternoon and he is expected to come on for his recent seasonal reappearance when he chased home the re-opposing Many Clouds in the Hennessy back in November. Despite having never won here he tends to deliver some of his better efforts at the track and it would be of little surprise to see him record a first career success here this afternoon. Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson do well when they combine at Cheltenham and much better can be expected from this eight year old grey.
Dynaste is a two time course winner and there is no doubting that he is a seriously talented horse. He ought to appreciate this drop in class having contested the King George at Kempton Park last time and he may prove the biggest threat to the selection. They have met once before with Smad Place coming out on top by quite a margin.
Many Clouds is undefeated so far this season and there is every chance that he is still improving. He has been to Prestbury Park twice previously and he failed to act around track on both occasions. He will need to leave those previous efforts well and truly behind him in order to figure here. Smad Place tends to improve for his first run of the year and with his yard back amongst the winners in recent days he can go well.
2-25 FREEBETS.COM HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE 3 HANDICAP) – 2 M 5 F
Easter Day was only beaten three lengths on his seasonal debut and he bound to have come on in no uncertain terms for that run. The form was given a boost following a gutsy effort by Master’s Hill at Kempton last time where he was beaten only a short head. Paul Nicholls has his stable in excellent form and most of his runners have improved from their first to their second runs so far this season. This slight drop back in trip will also suit the son of Malinas and with Nick Schofield booked to ride the combination should prove tough nuts to crack.
Annacotty loves to get his toe in and despite pulling up in the Hennessy last time, he should find things much more to his liking this afternoon. He is still only lightly raced compared to a few of his rivals and Martin Keighley is likely to have him spot on now. He too has won races at up to three miles and Gavin Sheehan will be more aware of how he should be ridden this time around. They look the biggest danger to the selection and ought to be competitive.
Quincy Des Pictons is proven over this trip and has gone well fresh in the past. The booking of Barry Geraghty certainly catches the eye and despite having to give weight away all around the duo still command plenty of respect and are capable of at least a place. Sew On Target and Dare Me are not guaranteed stayers and are overlooked on this occasion. Easter Day is open to plenty more improvement and is likely to have a major say in the outcome of the finish this afternoon.
4-10 STEEL PLATE AND SECTIONS HANDICAP HURDLE – 2 M 1 F
Royal Irish Hussar looked a promising sort last season and he won three races on the bounce including once over this course and distance. He was subject of a misplaced gamble when contesting the Triumph Hurdle at the festival and then travelled over to Punchestown and then Royal Ascot where his efforts are best forgotten. He has had a decent break since then and it would not be the biggest of shocks to see him rejuvenated by Nicky Henderson during that time.
Peter Carberry is an intriguing jockey booking by the stable but more importantly he can claim a more than useful three pounds from the five year old. If back to anywhere near the form he showed at the beginning of last season he has to be high on the shortlist this afternoon.
Diamond King won both of his starts last season and is now two wins from three appearances this year. The form of his last run is beginning to work out and if the selection has not trained on this seven year old son of Kings Theatre will be there to pick up the pieces. Kiama Bay was a talented stayer on the flat when trained by the likes of John Quinn and Richard Fahey. He has since moved to the yard of Jim Best and he seems to have improved on every start for his new handler. He wasn’t beaten all that far in a Grade 2 at Haydock last time and has definite place claims if repeating that effort.
Royal Irish Hussar is entered for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month and he would need to put in a commanding performance in order to take up that engagement. The yard must think there is more improvement to come and he can go close here.
|SATURDAY 1-50 CHELTENHAM
|SATURDAY 2-25 CHELTENHAM
|SATURDAY 4-10 CHELTENHAM
|ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR