Cheltenham tips: Paddy’s pundits pick their Ultima Handicap Chase best bets

Ruby, Frank and Rory take a close look at the Festival's opening handicap.

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 Ultima, with legendary jockey Ruby Walsh, Paddy’s trader Frank Hickey and tipster Rory Delargy giving their early fancies ahead of final declarations.

You can listen to the Cheltenham Countdown show in full BELOW.

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Frank Hickey:

“A lot of people will be looking at Death Duty and he’s been a bit of a market mover this week. He did bounce back to form at Punchestown but he wouldn’t be for me.

“I like the Gary Moore-trained Full Back. He didn’t stay very long over hurdles and won well on his second and third starts over fences. He won at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and jumped relatively well and only got 4lbs for that to go up to a mark of 139. He was then second behind Yala Enki in the Portman Cup at Taunton and was meeting on 16lbs worse terms than if it was a handicap. He travelled better than Yala Enki but got outstayed/outclassed in the last few furlongs. The handicapper only bumped him up 1lb for that.

“He’s seven. He’s improving. He’ll be ridden in the first four or five as he’s normally pretty prominent, which is a good thing in the Ultima. He’s also won at Cheltenham before, all be it on the New Course instead of the Old Course.”

Rory Delargy:

“I’m thinking along similar lines as Frank – the same owner but a different horse. Tea Clipper is very interesting. He’s not the easiest in the world to weigh up but he looked very impressive on his chase debut and then he’s disappointed in Grade 2 company at Newbury and in the Kauto Star at Kempton.

“He’s guaranteed a run here as it’s his only entry at the Festival, which makes me think it’s been the long-term plan for him. You’re taking all the upsides from the Chepstow debut but it was a very impressive performance and there were some good horses behind him. That was on quickish ground and the more the ground dries out at Cheltenham the more it’ll play to his strengths.”

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Ruby Walsh:

“Ben Dundee ran an absolute cracker in the Paddy Power at Christmas. He was second behind School Boy Hours. A rating of 147 puts him out of the Kim Muir so he’s guaranteed to go here.

“He’s lightly raced for a 10-year-old and the trip will suit him. He can race close enough to the pace so I think he’s worth an each-way shout.”

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