Cheltenham tips: 20/1 antepost shout tickles Frank Hickey’s fancy in the National Hunt Chase

Our man Frank's done his homework on the National Hunt Chase.

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We’re officially on the road to the Cheltenham Festival here at Paddy Power as the first episode of our antepost tipping podcast series has dropped.

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The National Hunt Chase was one of two races our expert panel assessed, and Paddy’s top trader Frank Hickey picked out The Bosses Oscar as his antepost punt, despite admitting another of Gordon Elliott’s potential runners is the most likely winner.

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Gordon Elliott has an incredible record in the National Hunt Chase and he knows exactly what it takes to win it. The fact he could even win it with Ravenhill, who wouldn’t have been on anyone’s mind in 2020, shows how good he is. He has a strong hand here again and you’d be surprised if, looking at the make up of the market, he or Willie Mullins don’t win it. I can’t see how it isn’t between the two of them.

Run Wild Fred’s the most likely winner and you’d imagine he’ll shorten up a good deal but I wouldn’t give up on THE BOSSES OSCAR just yet. He didn’t jump well in the Paddy Power but he’s had four chase starts now so he has a bit of experience. His two runs at the Festival over hurdles have been decent – he was unlucky to be hampered in the Martin Pipe when staying on for fifth and then he was second in the Pertemps off a mark of 151 to Mrs Milner.

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The worry is he’s rated 143 over fences and there might be a chance he will go down the handicap route depending on what the handicapper does to him. I wouldn’t give up on him and just think that sort of test might suit him.

I don’t like Stattler and I don’t think he’s a stayer. If you look to the Albert Bartlett and the Dublin Racing Festival he travelled well but seemed to get outstayed on both occasions so he wouldn’t be for me.

I know Vanillier was sick at Leopardstown last year but he has that inconsistent trait. It’s nearly one good run followed by a bad run. He was fourth at Punchestown and definitely wasn’t himself there. His jumping isn’t brilliant, particularly at Leopardstown last time he was very deliberate and slowed into a number of fences. There is a possibility he might be able to get away with it in a National Hunt Chase. Tiger Roll clattered half the fences but still won in 2017.

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You’d like him to jump better but he has the engine and you have to respect what he did in the Albert Bartlett. It wasn’t a classic renewal of the race but it wasn’t bad and he absolutely ran away from them. The engine’s there but can he sort his jumping out? I do think that its likely connections will go down this route than the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, especially if Galopin Des Champs goes in the three-mile race. That’ll have a bearing on this one.

I have no idea if he’ll run here – I think the aim is the Scottish National – but I liked Corach Rambler when he won a handicap at Cheltenham in December. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ran here and went on to the Scottish National. He’s one I wouldn’t put a line through completely.

The British-based horses have a lot on their plate. Paul Nicholls has Threeunderthrufive but there weren’t too many catching my eye from the other side of the Irish Sea.

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