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Frank Hickey has studied the leading contenders for the for National Hunt Chase ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival – where Paddy is offering non-runner money back on all 28 races so there’s no risk of losing out if your pick withdraws.
Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast, our top trader picked through the field in preparation for the 3m6f Grade 2 event at Prestbury Park.
You can listen to the full show BELOW.
ROYAL PAGAILLE is rated 166 and is the best horse to run but Native River and Minella Rocco also ran here. Carefully Selected went off 10/11 last year, so Royal Pagaille would surely go off around that price if he lined up. He would have a big chance but looks an unlikely runner at this stage.
People have probably latched onto the fact that GALVIN had good course form, was from a top stable, had Jamie Codd riding and was a certain runner. I’m not sure he is actually that far clear of a few of these but respect the trainer’s record in the race.
He won it with Ravenhill, Tiger Roll, Chicago Grey and Cause Of Causes. He has eight chase starts, so has plenty of experience but his rating of 151 looks to be the ceiling of his ability and I’m not sure his form since last year’s festival amounts to much.
ESCARIA TEN would have a big chance were he to run here rather than in the Ultima Handicap Chase. He was impressive at Thurles on his second chase start and second to Eklat De Rire at Naas in a Grade 3 last time out. A small worry would be that he didn’t run well at Cheltenham last season in the Martin Pipe Hurdle. Maybe the test came too early for him. He’s only seven and improving. I think he has far more potential than Galvin.
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PENCILFULLOFLEAD was six lengths behind Escaria Ten in that Naas G3 but was carrying an 8lb penalty. He beat Coko Beach in his beginners chase at Galway and beat Latest Exhibition at Punchestown in the G2 Florida Peral over 2m6f. He was beaten a half length by Colreevy in the Grade 1 over 2m3f at Limerick at Christmas and I think he is more likely to go to the Brown Advisory Novices Chase.
COKO BEACH has progressed all through the season. He won the Thyestes off 138 and won the G2 Ten Up novices chase at Navan. The track suits him but he might go for the Irish National instead.
REMASTERED showed a good attitude to win the G2 Reynoldstown last time out. Minella Rocco was second in that before winning the National Hunt Chase. He is now 3-3 over fences but he isn’t capable of running beyond a mark of 150 in my opinion and probably wants testing ground to be at his best.
SECRET REPRIEVE has had six chase starts but was disappointing in three starts last season. On his last two starts, he bolted up in the Welsh National trial off 130 and the National itself off 134. He’s now rated 144 and would have a chance here with stamina guaranteed but I think he might swerve this and go to the National instead.
It looks likely that RUN WILD FRED will get a handicap mark of less than 145, so I would think the he is more likely to end up in the Kim Muir. He has plenty of experience and is improving with every start, despite being yet to win in six chase starts.
LONGHOUSE POET beat Monkfish in a bumper and was third in two Grade 1 hurdles as a novice last season before finding the Ballymore too much of a test. He was only beaten just over two lengths in the 2m6f Grade 1 at the DRF. However, he was poor on his chase debut at Punchestown when he finished sixth.
On his first start over 3m1f at Punchestown last time, he beat Run Wild Fred, The Big Dog and Mr Henricks. Run Wild Fred was second in the Thyestes off 136 on his next start. The Big Dog won the National Trial off 136 two starts later and Mr Hendricks won a beginners at Navan on his next start.
Longhouse Poet isn’t a proper Grade 1 horse but he has plenty of ability and is unexposed as a staying chaser and his prominent style should keep him out of trouble here. I’d say Longhouse Poet is the value in the market at the moment, provided Escaria Ten doesn’t run.
Frank Hickey’s National Hunt Chase bet summary
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES
March 16 – 13.20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 16 – 13.55 – Arkle Chase latest odds and tips
March 16 – 15.05 – Champion Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 16 – 15.40 – Mares’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 17 – 13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 17 – 13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 17 – 15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase latest odds and tips
March 18 – 13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 18 – 14.30 – Ryanair Chase latest odds and tips
March 18 – 15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips
March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY ONE SCHEDULE
13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f
15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y
16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y
16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y
*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.
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- Cheltenham tips: Mares’ Hurdle antepost picks from Frank Hickey
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s National Hunt Chase antepost picks