Matt Brocklebank has unearthed a fascinating 100/1 chance he's keen to back for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival - check out his latest preview and tip.
Racing betting tips: Cheltenham Festival antepost
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Mouse Morris hasn’t had a runner in the (formerly RSA-backed) Festival Novices’ Chase since Alpha Des Obeaux was fourth to Might Bite in 2017, but he obviously knows what's required having also sent out First Lieutenant to be second behind Bobs Worth in 2012 and it’s hoped SAMS PROFILE (100/1 Sky Bet, Unibet, bet365 1/5 1,2,3) might be geared towards the same Cheltenham Festival race this season.
The genius trainer – who won the Gold Cup with War Of Attrition in 2006 and the Grand National courtesy of Rule The World 10 years later - has largely struggled to compete at that sort of level since the Gigginstown battalions were moved on, but he remains more than capable of pulling a rabbit out of his hat if granted the opportunity.
The O'Flynn family (Sams Profile’s owners) have been loyal supporters throughout and their lightly-raced seven-year-old looks just the type of horse that helps inspire a character like Morris, who has really rated him since day one.
A winning three-mile point-to-pointer aged four, the fact he was successful in a maiden hurdle over the minimum trip immediately confirmed the impression he was well above average, and he went on to be a seriously good novice over the smaller obstacles, including three highly creditable efforts at Grade One level.
The first came when second to Battleoverdoyen in the Lawlor’s of Naas, then he was fifth in the Ballymore at Cheltenham, before just missing out (closing at the line, beaten a neck) to Reserve Tank in the Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in May, 2019.
Morris was hoping for a crack at the Stayers' Hurdle early last season before injury struck and, following 566 days away from the track, the long-awaited chasing debut at Thurles in November could hardly have gone much worse given it ended with a crunching fall three from home.
Thankfully, the gelding can’t have been badly affected, mentally or physically, as he was back out just nine days later where he lined up in a beginners chase at Fairyhouse over two miles, five furlongs, against none other than Monkfish.
Roll on six weeks and Monkfish – winner of the Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas – is a best-priced 2/1 in the antepost lists for Cheltenham.
Sams Profile was beaten 11 and a half lengths by Willie Mullins’ eased-down star at Fairyhouse, but given everything that had preceded that race – the layoff, the fall, the rapid turnaround – it can only go down as a seriously promising performance in third. Especially when you consider he led, raced far too keenly and was still right there on the shoulder of Monkfish as they rose at the second-last fence (click here for the FREE video replay).
Not only has the winner gone in again at the highest level since, but the fourth Diol Ker – a horse Sams Profile beat two lengths way back in the aforementioned point at Cragmore – has subsequently won over hurdles at Limerick, while the fifth Escaria Ten has won his beginners chase by 20 lengths at Thurles.
It’s really warm form, to say the very least, and on account of the improvement Sams Profile is entitled to make between now and mid-March, as he builds both fitness and further fencing experience at home and on the track, then there’s definitely a small case to be made for him putting up a bit more of a fight when he next meets Monkfish.
Presenting Percy is the only Irish-trained winner of the Festival Novices’ Chase in the past five years, but there’s no escaping this year’s crop do look stronger than the Brits and, even accounting for the likelihood of Irish horses facing some difficulties joining the party this spring, 100/1 Sams Profile does look tempting.
He’s 66/1 (Non Runner No Bet) with Paddy Power if punters prefer money-back insurance over their outlay should he not turn up, but I’m comfortable rolling the dice at such big prices and recommend a small each-way bet at triple-figure odds.
Posted at 0900 GMT on 13/01/21
More Cheltenham Festival previews & tips...
Matt Brocklebank is assessing the 2021 Cheltenham Festival markets and will be publishing his antepost previews in the build-up to the big meeting over the coming weeks.
In recent seasons, our man has identified big-priced winners of the Paddy Power Gold Cup (Baron Alco, 12/1) and Ladbrokes Trophy, striking rich in the Newbury feature with back-to-back 33/1 victors Sizing Tennessee and De Rasher Counter.
Matt also enjoyed a fantastic Flat season in 2020, having put up Love to win the 1000 Guineas at 16/1 and the same horse to win the Investec Oaks at 20/1, among others - he's now aiming to add to those profits with long-range selections for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Click here or on the image below for the full schedule and already advised tips.