The three-day Open at Cheltenham gets underway tomorrow for what should be a fantastic meeting along with an eye-opener for punters with regards to potential big winners for the season.
Opus Energy Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase
Standing Ovation won well at Wincanton last week and a five-timer is the likely outcome here. He is down in trip on faster ground which may be a problem, along with the added weight.
At short odds of 6/4 with Stan James some may avoid this one, although the way he has ran his four wins suggests otherwise.
Victrix Gale probably poses the most threat. The 7-year-old has been in good form over hurdles throughout the summer and top Irish, amateur jockey Jamie Codd is booked. Most firms are 6/1 for him to upset the favourite, which represents decent value.
Paddy Power Handicap Chase
The second race of the day is a wide open contest with 17 horses set to feature. Venetia Williams’ 8-year-old Renard leads the betting at 11/2 from the 6/1 shot Eastlake.
The favourite is suited by 2m and was promising on his return here, however Eastlake has champion jockey A P McCoy booked and is worth a bet at very good value. He has 4 wins from his last 6 and although this is sure to be tougher, he warrants huge respect.
Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase
Oscar Whisky is phenomenal over hurdles and is sure to run well on his chase debut here. He is at 4/6 with most firms, although Ladbrokes are as short as 1/2 for Geraghty to lead him to success.
Taquin De Seuil is likely to be the main danger but is also faced with a penalty under A P McCoy, whilst The Romford Pele should not be completely ruled out.
David Johnson Memorial Intermediate Handicap Hurdle
David Pipe saddles favourite Top Gamble in the 2.40 and he is currently 10/3 with most leading firms. This is harder than what he has faced previously; however he certainly has scope for further progress.
Whisper symbolises decent value at 6/1, following a nice 1 1/2 length victory here over Valdez in April. Both defeats came when upped to graded events, which makes the 6/1 price very tempting.
Upswing, Atlantic Roller, God’s Own and Killala Quay are other to watch out for and all represent decent value in what is sure to be another wide open contest.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
BALTHAZAR KING is the 7/4 market leader for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase which is due to start at 15.15. He won a competitive handicap for two years running here last month and is likely to make it three consecutive wins.
Uncle Junior is the main danger to the favourite, having won this for the last two years. He is 7/1 with Paddy Power following a collapse in form in the latter stages of last season.
Chicago Grey and Diamond Harry both represent good each-way value.
Countryside Raceday Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
The final race of the day sees 20 horses battle it out for the Class 3 Handicap Hurdle. Quick Jack leads the betting for A J Martin after his impressive victory at Listowel last time out. Rosie Pobert won impressively at Stratford last time and took her hurdles record to 4-5.
Edmaaj should also be there or thereabouts, whilst LITTLE POP represents very good value and may be worth a punt each-way.
BETS OF THE DAY:
Cheltenham 15:15 – Balthazar King to win
Cheltenham 15:50 Little Pop each way
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