* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change. All Cheltenham races are non-runner money back with Paddy Power
Dan & Harry Skelton can’t do much wrong at the moment and it’s highly likely that they’ll click with one of their four chances at Huntington on Thursday, with ANTUNES being one of their best chances on the card.
No match for Allart in a Grade 2 novices chase at Ascot in December, the seven-year-old started off his chasing season with an excellent second-placed effort behind Good Boy Bobby at Bangor and that horse since has finished second to Mister Tommytucker and fourth in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
Next time out, Antunes was a comfortable winner at Chepstow, in which the third-placed Lieutenant Rocco has since finished placed in the Paddy Power Dipper Novices’ Chase, and on his latest start, Dan Skelton’s charge fell early at Sandown in a much better race than this when he was sent off a 7/1 chance.
This looks a huge drop in grade for the son of Nathaniel and while carrying top-weight, Antunes takes on three runners which haven’t won a single chase between them. There’s no doubting this looks an ideal opportunity for him and he should be up to winning this in fairly comfortable fashion.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
A small field for this mares’ handicap chase and to be honest, it’s hard to make a case for many of the runners. Fally Jem has disappointed badly on her three runs since leaving France and despite Venetia Williams’ good form, it’s hard to see her getting involved here while The Toojumpa’s sole win came over two years ago and she was beaten out of sight on her latest start at Warwick.
As for Hills Of Connemara, while she was a winner two runs ago at Newcastle, her latest effort at Musselburgh leaves a lot to be desired. So that leaves No No Juliet and ELLENS WAY and preference is most definitely for the latter given her recent form. She did very little wrong when third in a well-contested mares handicap chase at Taunton last month, where she had Fally Jem 24 lengths behind her, while she also put up a bold bid at Fontwell in December when finishing second.
No No Juliet has some good placed efforts to her name this season but she can often be let down by her jumping and the usual front-running tactics of Ellens Way is likely to put that under pressure from an early stage. It’s also worth considering that Jeremy Scott’s mare is 9lbs better-off compared to her hurdling mark and there’s every chance that she’ll be able to dictate matters in this small-runner field.
For Kim Bailey & David Bass, it’s been an incredible season and having bagged Grade 1 glory last month, their purple patch has continued into the month of February. For Bailey, he’s already amassed a 43 per cent strike-rate for this month alone, his highest of the season so far, and only five of his 14 runners have finished out of the frame. And that record should get better with the third of his three runners at Huntington this Thursday.
LOTS OF LUCK had been in excellent form up to his last run at Wincanton in December, when he was pulled up, but a bad mistake at the sixth fence seemed to contribute to his poor performance. On his previous six starts, he was a winner on three occasions, and his jumping had been foot perfect in each of those outings.
That disappointing effort was also his fourth run in the space of two months and for a horse which runs so well after a lay-off, that was probably a negative too. Native Robin and Rob The Getaway would look the main dangers on form but Lots Of Luck is most definitely less exposed than that duo and he’s also 7lbs better off with the former than when finishing less than four lengths behind Jeremy Scott’s charge in November. Throw in the fact that David Bass’ mount has two good efforts at Huntington to his name and he looks set to resume winning ways now.
Cheltenham Festival 2021
- Jump over to all the top tips and racing previews now
- Cheltenham Festival: Willie Mullins’ top contenders rated or slated for Prestbury Park
- Frank Hickey reveals antepost picks for the Stayers’ Hurdle
- Cheltenham Festival: 4 value plays in the Championship races
- Cheltenham Festival: 3 jockeys who can light up Prestbury Park
- Here’s 5 Irish trainers to take Prestbury Park by storm
- Cheltenham Festival: Dates, race times & antepost tips from our experts
- Paddy’s literally all over the telly thanks to our new ITV sponsorship
- Paddy Power to sponsor 2021 Festival Handicap Chase