16:10 Cheltenham Thu 15 March 2018
Forces the pace and is one to be reckoned with over C&D. Enjoyed a stellar period between November 2015 and January 2017, including winning the 2015 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Beaten in this race in 2017 (11th) and generally below par lately.
Has a strong win to run ratio (6 from 13) and posted a career best effort over fences when demolishing some solid handicappers by 9L at Leopardstown last month (2m5f). Raised 11lb, but also ran well behind Tully East (fifth) at the 2017 Festival.
Generally delivers his 'A' game on a decent racing surface, so unlikely to be suited by the recent precipitation. Won well (fresh) over this trip at Market Rasen in September, beating Guitar Pete by 4L but held by the assessor ever since.
Lightly raced over fences so lacks experience of the hustle and bustle of handicap company; kept only to novice events so far. No denying he has ability though with form-lines associated with the likes of Monalee and Invitation Only. Handicap debut.
Kept quiet with this race firmly in mind since beating Jameson by ½L at Newbury in December (2m4f good to soft). Races from just a 2lb higher mark, and is ultra consistent overall over fences (four wins from eight runs); boasts place claims.
A Cheltenham regular since winning the 3m3f Bet Victor Chase by 1L from Warrantor in 2016. Below his last winning mark, and ran very well at Punchestown in April, but not so sharp this season and that's the worry. Has had a wind op since last run.
His best form as a novice came over 2m and he's not managed to win a race since March 2015. However, he contested the Champion Chase in 2017 (sixth) and remained solid throughout the spring months. Not so sharp this term; mark is slowly easing.
Has taken his record to five from 13 over fences, with a pair of successes in 2018 at Kempton (2m4f+) and Wetherby (2m3f+). 3lb higher than when an all-out head scorer latest, so further improvement is required.
Finished down the field in the 2017 Grand Annual, and a characteristic of his career appears to be stronger early season form. No ground or C&D issues (2016 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup fourth), and is reasonably weighted. Has second start since wind op.
Progressive over fences earlier in the campaign, posting rapid back-to-back victories at Chepstow and Stratford. Found the competition tougher in competitive Cheltenham handicaps since but not far off the pace and doesn't have masses to find.
Runner-up to Ballyandy in the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle in February 2017, and lightly raced overall remaining a maiden after three attempts over fences. Entirely possible he's the handicap blot (debut) having previous with the JLT bound Finian's Oscar.
Posted a dismal effort over C&D on heavy ground latest, so needs to bounce back quickly from that inexplicable effort. However, useful on-song, particularly over the National fences at Aintree (Topham winner and Grand Sefton runner-up in 2017).
Profited from some slack fencing from his main market rival when an emphatic winner of an amateur riders contest at Ascot in January (2m3f soft). Tailed off in the Kingmaker latest, and a 12lb rise for that victory makes life tough.
Stable has a strong record in this and this French import (had wind surgery since) has hurdles form with none other than Tuesday's Arkle winner Footpad. Soft ground a plus, and he was an eye-catcher in a small field affair at Kempton last month.
Recorded his second success over fences at Huntingdon latest (2m4f soft) when a pushed out 10L scorer. Raised 7lb, and that form perhaps isn't overly strong in the context of this race, but clearly adept with cut in the ground.
Sound jumping, prominent racing individual who hoovered low grade novice/beginners contests at Towcester and Hexham in the summer. Halted the winning run of Petrou in a Uttoxeter handicap (2m4f) in September, but plenty more required off 6lb higher.
Finished well down the field in this contest in 2017 (14th of 24 to Road To Respect), but is a previous C&D winner off this mark (January 2016). Also finished third over C&D latest; albeit comfortably held by Frodon.
Recorded a career best effort when a fortuitous winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (soft) in December, beating Clan Des Obeuax by 2¾L. Pleasing that the handicapper didn't go overboard with just a 5lb rise. Fresh and should handle conditions.
Stable not the best of times this season but are always to be feared in handicaps; especially with this particular rider booked (2016, 2017 winner). Lightly raced (two from four over fences) but beaten comprehensively by Oldgrangewood at Newbury.
Festival winner as a novice handicap chaser in 2016 (2m4f Close Brothers), and always had ability as a hurdler; runner-up to Faugheen in the 2014 Neptune. Advancing in years, but back from injury this term and appears in reasonable shape.
A three-time chase winner in Ireland for Henry De Bromhead; latest success back in the summer of 2015 (Galway). Had wind surgery since joining this trainer and tries the first time tongue-tie, but that really does need to provide the solution.
Goes well over C&D, and has enjoyed some high-profile victories for this rider, the highlight coming in the Bet Victor Gold Cup in November, beating the ill-fated Starchitect by a neck. Below that form since, but fully capable on a going day.
Last Year's Winner
|Road To Respect||6||10-13||14/1|
|T: N MeadeJ: B J Cooper|
The Storyteller (5/1), King's Socks (7/1), Tully East (7/1), Last Goodbye (8/1), Movewiththetimes (8/1), Guitar Pete (10/1), King's Odyssey (14/1), Willie Boy (14/1), Ballyalton (16/1), Pougne Bobbi (16/1), Traffic Fluide (16/1), Romain De Senam (20/1), Go Conquer (20/1), Oldgrangewood (20/1), Splash of Ginge (25/1), Mercian Prince (25/1), Drumcliff (25/1), Village Vic (33/1), Quite By Chance (33/1), Viconte Du Noyer (33/1), Ballybolley (40/1), Midnight Shot (50/1), Shanahan's Turn (50/1), Ultragold (66/1)
- The Storyteller
- Last Goodbye
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