We are racing once again at Cheltenham Racecourse with the first day of The Showcase meeting almost upon us. Jamie Taylor has a look through the card on Day One and looks to find us a few value plays amongst a competitive seven race card.
Paul Nicholls has had a sterling start to the campaign with form figures from 14th October reading 111113521111316P1, and his representatives tomorrow are almost certain to be thereabouts in their respective races.
The opener on the card is a small and competitive novices’ hurdle in which recent Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle winner El Bandit, looks to enhance his already burgeoning reputation for a stable bang in form at present. He looks a worthy favourite at the overnight prices to build on that win at Chepstow.
The second race looks like being a potential burn-up on the front end between perennial pace horses Marracudja and Aristo Du Plessis, with an added help of Baron Alco who also loves to be near the fore. Much will depend on pace as to how this race plays out, and it is possible we could get a shock here but wouldn’t be a race I’d be rushing to get involved in.
Race three is a fiercely competitive handicap hurdle, in which at the early prices both Lord Wishes and Arctic Gold seem a little overpriced in respect to their chances. Dadsintrouble is another one who showed enhanced form on his comeback at Newton Abbot, and drops down in class here.
The fourth race on the card arguably should be there for the taking for Tiger Roll, but questions remain on if this race will be used as a sighter for the four-miler in March, and will therefore the gelded son of Authorized ‘bump into one’ here. A repeat of that Munster National win last time out makes him hard to beat, and he should take plenty of beating – short enough at the prices though for me.
The maiden hurdle is next up, where there has been some early support for the Nicky Henderson trained Khezerabad, and that must be respected from a trainer who boasts a 16.33% strike-rate in October at Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls saddles ex-French recruit Garo De Juilley, who’s form is very much an unknown at present. One which looks overpriced to me is the Henderson second string Thomas Campbell, who around the 6-1 mark looks a fair each-way bet to nothing in an open race.
Preceding this race is the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase in which there has been plenty of support for Fingerontheswitch for Neil Mulholland in the early markets, but his other runner Velator makes more appeal to me at the prices. Brownville is another who looks on the right side, as does Handy Andy and Ballinvarrig but it’s an open race and I don’t usually do any good in these types of contests, so most likely be a watching brief.
The dogs have clearly barked early for Wishfull Dreaming in the last, as I had hoped I’d get a reasonable price when looking at the early declarations a couple of days ago, alas that ship seems to have sailed a while ago and is now biggest 2-1. Eddiemaurice would be an ideal of a bet at larger prices and seems a bit generous at 20-1 generally, he could be the alternative play in the ‘lucky’ last.
El Bandit 2pts win @ 7/4 StanJames (13/8 generally)
Arctic Gold 1pt EW @ 16-1 SkyBet, BetVictor, PaddyPower,WilliamHill
Dadsintrouble 0.5pt EW @ 10-1 generally
Lord Wishes 1pt EW @ 14-1 generally
Thomas Campbell 1pt EW @ 6-1
Eddiemaurice 0.5pt EW @ 20-1 generally
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