14:10 Cheltenham Thu 14 March 2019

  • Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1)
  • 2m 7f 213y, Good to Soft (soft in places)
  • 24 Runners
  • Winner£56,270.002nd£21,200.003rd£10,610.004th£5,300.005th£2,660.006th£1,330.007th£660.008th£340.00
  • Surface: Turf
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Weighed In

Winning time:5m 52.98sOff time:14:10:50
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1
911-12OR: 148
16/1

Useful handicap hurdler who has been in top-class form in big-field handicaps winning at Navan and then finishing twice placed. Split two of today's rivals last time (Cuneo/Thermistocles); possibly should have won last time; up 9lb, stiff mark.

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2
911-10OR: 146
20/1

One of two runners for last year's winning yard who has some smart chasing form to his name; returned to hurdles last time (finished fourth) to qualify for this. Has to now back that run up off a 2lb higher mark; struggled over fences this season.

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3
711-9OR: 145
4/1

Fourth in the Martin Pipe last season (lightly-raced since); very much caught the eye when securing qualification for the Final, given plenty to do, finished well. Cheekpieces now added to his usual tongue-tie; looks to have been targeted at this.

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4
811-7OR: 143CD
25/1

Needs to get a clear run at things but could be described as progressing after finishing second to a handicap blot on his return here in November. Qualified for this with a third to Flemcara at Exeter, 4lb better off with him; should run his race.

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5
511-6OR: 142
50/1

The only five-year-old in the field he saw off ten rivals to score in the Wincanton Boxing Day qualifier (three of today's rivals behind). Yet to prove himself over a stiff 3m and this may come a year too soon for him; ran poorly last time.

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6
611-6OR: 142BFCD
15/2

The only five-year-old in the field he saw off ten rivals to score in the Wincanton Boxing Day qualifier (three of today's rivals behind). Yet to prove himself over a stiff 3m and this may come a year too soon for him; ran poorly last time.

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7
811-6OR: 142D
66/1

Will appreciate a slog in the mud having taken the Sandown qualifier off the back of a very ordinary performance the time before. Undone by an 8lb rise for that win when last seen (career-high mark); only 1lb lower here, faces a stiff task again.

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8
811-6OR: 142CD
16/1

Comes here off a break (that looked the plan though) having won his last two handicaps including the Market Rasen qualifier (had already qualified earlier); added a C&D victory in December. Likeable sort but is off a 9lb higher mark (career-high).

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9
711-5OR: 141D
40/1

An improving sort throughout 2018 she has shown herself to be a dour stayer having finished fifth in the Exeter qualifier won by Flemcara. Held off this mark last time; unless this turns into a real war of attrition she's likely to be too laboured.

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10
711-5OR: 141BF
50/1

Very mixed messages as to what trip he really wants but has yet to prove himself over this trip. Travelled well but failed to get home (2m5f) when behind Padleyourowncanoe and Wait For Me at Wincanton; faces a severe task on that form.

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11
611-5OR: 141D
16/1

Stablemate of the topweight who was successful when last seen in GB taking the Huntingdon qualifier (first-time cheekpieces; retained). Up 4lb for that win but could do with more experience for a test like this; looks stable second string.

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12
811-3OR: 139CD
33/1

Likely to be one of the lesser lights in this despite finishing in front of a few of these when last seen at Sandown (testing conditions). Usual hood is left off again but will find it hard to dominate this field if adopting his usual prominent role.

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13
711-2OR: 138D
25/1

Consistent sort who has been chasing the last twice after qualifying for this with a fourth in a C&D outing in October off today's mark. Has matched his hurdles form over fences but hardly had the most traditional preparation for the Final.

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14
711-1OR: 137BFD
9/1

Looks an improving young stayer (winner over 3m; Clonmel handicap) before coping with an 8lb rise to finish amongst the principals in the qualifier won by Cuneo. Not been seen since then (still a novice); still looks unexposed in handicaps.

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15
711-1OR: 137D
14/1

Winner of the penultimate qualifier with two of today's rivals behind; appearing to relish the test (would welcome more rain). Confirmed the promise he had shown at Sandown; travels well, unexposed as a staying hurdler, should hold his own.

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16
711-1OR: 137BFD
12/1

Still looks a little raw but had three of today's rivals behind when landing the Leopardstown qualifier (first try at 3m); had the run of the race. Backed up that effort when fifth over the same C&D (off 7lb higher) last time; little more needed now.

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17
Oh Land Abloomt,v17(ex 5)
911-1OR: 132
66/1

Just ahead of First Assignment/Notwhatiam in the Warwick qualifier when second he's maintained some consistent form since then scoring a deserved win at Uttoxeter last time. Could have done without the penalty for that win; ground not ideal.

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18
911-0OR: 136
33/1

Frequent Festival visitor having run well in Champion Bumper and the County Hurdle (twice); disappointing in this race 12 months ago. Not got his head in front for a while though; ran with credit in first run since wind op last time; mark falling.

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19
911-0OR: 136D
40/1

Nowhere near the form he was when winning seven straight handicaps (first seven runs for this yard) when the winning run came to an end in the 2017 version of this race. Not won since that spree but did return to form behind Samburu Shujaa last time.

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20
611-0OR: 136D
17/2

Took a while to get going over hurdles but the penny now looks to have dropped winning 3m maiden at Chepstow and the final series qualifier over the same C&D (beat Tobefair). Should confirm that form but may be harder to dominate this big field.

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21
910-13OR: 135
16/1

Looks to have improved since joining this yard plus having had wind surgery. Fell here in October but has since run with credit winning at Uttoxeter; interesting on his fourth in the Warwick qualifier, finished well, ridden with an eye to the future.

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22
910-13OR: 135BFCD
10/1

Chasing hasn't really been his bag since going down that road; returned to hurdles for his last three runs off a diminishing mark. Needed the run last time (had been off 14 months); shaped with promise, needs a real test, lurks on a dangerous mark.

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23
1110-12OR: 134D
20/1

Irish Grand National third (2017) his two runs for this yard have seen him score impressively over hurdles before qualifying for the Grand National over fences. Aintree is his aim, yard have used this route to glory there once before, worth noting.

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24
710-12OR: 134WS
33/1

Rather lost his way in Ireland before looking rejuvenated in back-to-back Carlisle 2m4f handicap wins (responding well to pressure each time). Quickly went off the boil though; first run back from wind surgery; given connections not a market move.

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Last Year's Winner

DRAWHORSEAWGTSP
Delta Work510-106/1
T: G ElliottJ: D N Russell

Betting

Forecast

Sire Du Berlais (4/1), First Assignment (15/2), Samburu Shujaa (17/2), Thermistocles (9/1), Champers On Ice (10/1), Cuneo (12/1), Flemcara (14/1), Not Many Left (16/1), Aaron Lad (16/1), Walk To Freedom (16/1), Notwhatiam (16/1), A Toi Phil (20/1), Abolitionist (20/1), Theclockisticking (25/1), Boyhood (25/1), Coole Cody (33/1), Aspen Colorado (33/1), Wait For Me (33/1), Tobefair (40/1), Culture De Sivola (40/1), Padleyourowncanoe (50/1), Black Mischief (50/1), Oh Land Abloom (66/1), Eminent Poet (66/1)

Verdict

The last three winners have all come from Ireland and they are represented by a sextet of runners this time led by Sire Du Berlais from the Elliott yard that landed a 1-2 last year. His credentials are hard to ignore having just qualified for this in sixth but the claims of the third from that race Thermistocles are preferred. 2015 was the last time that GB kept the prize at home and Dan Skelton’s NOTWHATIAM is charged with that task this time; Skelton being no stranger to winning Festival handicap hurdles. First Assignment (progressive), Flemcara (suited by conditions), and Champers On Ice (well treated on his old form) are a trio that also enter a complex picture.
  1. Notwhatiam
  2. Thermistocles
  3. Sire Du Berlais

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