Don’t you hate it when the big stables take over an ante-post market with a tasty gamble the week before the event in question?
NO! I absolutely love it. Why? Well because it gives the market a false shape and means you can bag a whole wad of value at an each-way price about a horse that has been offered at inflated odds, so bring it on!
Cue the BV Gold Cup Handicap Chase on Saturday and the rush of cash for the Nicky Henderson trained Rather Be. He was second in the Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival behind the strong-finishing Mister Whitaker, and now a full 9lbs better off for a head beating.
Okay let’s do the math. Rather Be will be making his seasonal debut so let’s take 2lb off for that. Mister W has already had a run, so let’s given him 2lbs for that, adores Cheltenham, say an extra 1lb, and is a much stronger stayer than his rival, I’ll grab another 2lbs back for that.
To my mind that makes Rather Be only 2lbs better off with his market rival. Add into the equation that MISTER WHITAKER is a faster and more efficient jumper and will probably relish an end-to-end gallop more than his rival! I am at pains to try and understand why my selection is a couple points longer at 13/2 with Paddy Power and Rather Be is 9/2. I fancy that Mick Channon’s charge is an each-way play to nothing.
If you prefer a bit more value in your betting wallet then Alan King’s ex-French five-year-old Full Glass could outrun his current double-digit odds.
It’s always a natural betting play to fly in with an each-way double on the weekend’s two big handicaps and the Greatwood Hurdle, (15.00 Sunday), fits the bill nicely.
If Elite Hurdle winner Verdana Blue were to take her chance off top weight she would be a titanic player on ground set to suit. It would also be logical to assume that if Henderson feels she is a genuine Champion Hurdle player (which I don’t) that she should readily land this valuable event off a mark of 151.
However, all of her best form has come on relatively flat tracks and she could be vulnerable here.
I have already backed two against the field here with the underrated GARO DE JUILLEY and progressive DEYRANN DE CARJAC both available at 20/1.
The last named is a beautiful mover and each drying day through the week will be in his favour.
He does have an alternative engagement on the Friday (should be backed wherever he goes), but trainer Alan King only put him in that race as he thought the youngster wouldn’t get in on Sunday. However, at the time of writing he is 24th in the weights which sneaks him in at the bottom of the pile.
Garo de Juilley was running all over his rivals from a long way out in the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow and a 4lbs penalty is far from harsh. The faster they go the better, for this son of Ungaro. He could upset the form apple cart here.
The drop back to a bare two miles and going left-handed looks just the ticket for the over-hyped JAMESON in the 1.50 at Cheltenham on Friday.
He ran a blinder behind Traffic Fluide here in April and most of the jockeys that have partnered him have suggested he is a much better horse going left-handed. I fancy he could pick up this field on the run to the line.
CALETT MAD has been absolutely crying out for a test of stamina over fences. That was the impression I gleaned again when he ran on at the one pace over an extended three miles at the Showcase meeting last month.
The extra quarter of a mile of the staying handicap chase on Saturday at 1.50 looks right up his street. I think he can improve past some experienced – yet totally exposed – rivals.
On a much lesser note, I have been waiting for CANFORD’S JOY to reappear again on the Flat since he was nearly put on the floor at Leicester last time out.
Dropped a pound for that run, the very well treated three-year-old could run well at a huge price if declared to race at Wolverhampton (6.45) on Friday in a race which could be split into two divisions.