Cheltenham tips: Here’s 4 to soar above their rivals in the Festival handicaps

The Timeform crew think these may just be ahead of the handicapper.

Vinndication @ 7/1 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Tuesday)

Vinndication made an excellent impression over hurdles during the 2017/18 season, winning all three starts, notably giving weight and a beating to Champ at Ascot. He took well to chasing last season, scoring on his first couple of outings, including at Grade 2 level, and only forfeited his unbeaten record when coming up against top-class duo Defi du Seuil and Lostintranslation in a Grade 1 at Sandown.

He ran creditably when fifth behind that pair in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival, but he shaped as if he would benefit from the step up to three miles, and he duly produced an improved performance over that trip at Ascot on his return, justifying good support to make a successful handicap debut.

He bolted up by five lengths there from a mark of 151, so an 8 lb rise in the weights does not look severe, and there’s a good chance he will prove in a different league to his rivals.


Espoir de Guye @ 10/1 – Novices’ H’cap Chase (Tuesday)

Espoir de Guye shaped with plenty of encouragement when runner-up to Simply The Betts on his chase debut at Chepstow in November – that is extremely strong form – and he confirmed that promise to get off the mark at Exeter, proving well suited by the step up to two and a half miles.

He took a huge step forward at Ascot last time, looking a long way ahead of his mark as he scored by 10 lengths, and he could still have more to offer, bearing in mind his lightly-raced, progressive profile.

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Phoenix Way @ 6/1 – Pertemps Final (Thursday)

Phoenix Way was a cosy winner of a red-hot novice hurdle at Plumpton on his final start last season and, having undergone a wind operation, he had little trouble making a successful handicap debut at Huntingdon in January.

He may have only won by a head at Huntingdon, but he scored with a lot in hand, always looking like he had plenty still to give, and he was clearly some way ahead of his opening mark of 133. He has gone up 7 lb for that success, but he remains open to further progress and is deservedly towards the head of the betting.

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Greaneteen @ 7/1 – Grand Annual H’cap Chase (Friday)

Greaneteen won twice over hurdles last season but has shown much-improved form since going chasing, proving successful on all three outings and looking like a really exciting prospect.

He took a strong hold in testing conditions on his chase debut at Ascot in December but that was not enough to stop him scoring off a mark of 132, and he produced an even better effort at Musselburgh in February, winning a strong-looking handicap chase off a 6 lb higher mark, jumping superbly before drawing clear on the bridle.

He again impressed with his jumping, which looks a real asset, when completing a simple task at Fakenham with the minimum of fuss, and he can go close in this off a mark of 150 before making his mark in graded company.

*Prices & entries are subject to change but all are part of Paddy Power’s pre Festival non runner money back offer.

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