Turners Novices Chase
At the prices, Mighty Potter is definitely the bet for me here, I can’t quite believe he isn’t odds on. He’s already beaten Banbridge extremely convincingly at Fairyhouse and I can’t see how that form can be overturned.
He was electric at the Dublin Racing festival and Davy Russell who rode him that day retains the ride for Gordon Elliott who is in good form after landing an early winner in the penultimate race on Tuesday.
Mighty Potter jumps exceptionally well and hasn’t looked back since becoming a chaser. I’ve seen some judges try and crab him by saying he hates Cheltenham following a dismal showing in last year’s Supreme but he only made one mistake that sent him hurtling back through the field and he’s yet to make such a catastrophic error over fences.
He seems to have quite a stranglehold on the novice chase division at this intermediate trip and with him being so far clear on ratings, it’s hard to see how 6/5 isn’t a fantastic price worth lapping up.
This is a belting renewal of the Stayers Hurdle and I’m not even joking when I say you can make a case for absolutely all of them!
My case however will be made for the favourite Blazing Khal who is unbeaten over hurdles after 4 starts to date. He’s a best price 3/1 which looks a tad skinny but he’s trained by a genius and his SP could be even shorter.
He’s got Cheltenham form on both the old course and the new course following defeats of subsequent grade 1 winner Gelino Bello in his novice days and then he suffered a setback which kept him out of action for 428 days.
He was none the worse for his time off though and sprung back to life with a classy performance in the Boyne Hurdle, travelling through the race ominously well before stretching clear to win by 3 lengths. He may not have been tuned up to perfection that day but he surely will be at Cheltenham and he’s got a fighting chance in a scintillating renewal of this feature race.
Plate Handicap Chase
The favourite for the plate is So Scottish who has every chance of takiing a race that features 24 runners.
A lot of these are very exposed and have been headbutting each other all season in various handicap chases. This horse has been kept fresh for this race after running at Ascot in November over an inadequate 2 miles.
He’s raced over middle distance trips before and won both starts over fences. Interestingly, connections appealed the original mark that the British handicapper awarded him and as a result, he’s been dropped a pound in the ratings which could aid his claims.
I think he has a favourites chance of winning the race stepping back up in trip but he’s also cracking value in the place market.
Mares Novices Hurdle
Another Nicky Henderson favourite today is one I’ve not stopped hearing about in the lead up, Luccia has won 4/4 so far and I’m hoping number 5 brings home the treble.
Comfortably won both hurdle and bumper events. Albeit on good ground.
There was talk of potentially entering her in to the Supreme and if that doesn’t speak volumes about the potential ability here then I’m not sure what does.
There appears to be a near limitless ceiling for this horse and Lot Of Joy can challenge but there’s no reason Luccia can’t just keep getting better.
The last win came by a whopping 11 lengths which is when Henderson dangled the idea of entering her in to the supreme.
An impressive turnaround for a horse that was nearly put down in the past.
Kim Muir Handicap Chase
Lastly, we are siding with another favourite and that is Stumptown in the Kim Muir at 5:30. This is quite a fiddly race but it looks like this has been the target all along for this progressive horse trained by the shrewd Gavin Cromwell.
He’s been very well placed to slowly get his mark up and he gets in comfortably now that he’s rated 135. He has a good jockey on board which is crucial in these amateur contests and if he jumps quite as immaculately as he did at Sandown then that will stand him in good stead.
The horse that he beat at Sandown has franked the form by bolting up in a long distance contest at Wetherby and with further improvement expected from Stumptown for stepping up a further 2 furlongs in trip, I’d be surprised if he didn’t