Cheltenham tips: Our pundits’ best bets for the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at next week’s Festival

Our tipsters pick the bones out of the famous old steeplechase

From the Horses Mouth Cheltenham Countdown

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We’re just a week away from the Cheltenham Festival, which means it’s the final episode of our antepost tipping podcast series as attention turns to the handicaps.

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The From The Horse’s Mouth team ran the rule over the Grand Annual Handicap Chase, with legendary jockey Ruby Walsh, Paddy’s trader Frank Hickey and tipster Rory Delargy giving their early fancies ahead of final declarations.

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Ruby Walsh:

“I’m siding with POSEIDON for Charles Byrnes. He finished second by half a length behind Embittered in Killarney last year. Poseidon will get 4lbs off Embittered in the Grand Annual this year. He was in the wrong half of the race behind Ciel De Neige at Punchestown last month. He struggled on really heavy ground over the winter but he’s shown signs of improvement on better ground. Charles Byrnes can deliver on the biggest stages too. He’s a big price and worth looking at.”

Frank Hickey:

EMBITTERED, who was last year’s favourite, stands out like a sore thumb to me! He fell last year while travelling really well. He was off a mark of 146 then but his preparation for the race wasn’t great. This time round, he’s already won at Killarney, was beaten by a neck at Roscommon and then went on to win at Punchestown. He’s ran in Grade 2 and Grade 3 company since. He’s running off a rating of 145 and I don’t think this race is any better than last year’s. He’s a big price and it looks like he’s been targeted for this.”

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Rory Delargy:

“I’m looking at an outsider in FOR PLEASURE, who has fallen at Warwick and Doncaster this season. However, he’s ran in very good races. His form actually stacks up well. He was fourth out of four in the Kingmaker last time out but that was a red hot contest. He set a strong gallop that day and set the race up for others. He jumped well too and that was needed for confidence. He won at Plumpton in December and he’s not badly handicapped off 138. He handles the track and his hurdles form is very good. He’s a brave horse and he’s a big price. He has a lot to offer.

GUNSIGHT RIDGE is another who is overpriced. However, I’m not a huge fan of his. He often finishes second but he did win at Sandown in January. He’s a huge price. He’s a good chaser but he keeps a bit back for himself. You’d rather have him as an each-way bet than a win bet. He’s going the right way and he has the right running style. He jumps well and he could run into the frame.”

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