It’s usually around this time each year that I start to take a look at the ante-post markets for the Cheltenham festival and I have a couple of interesting types who I will be backing now at value prices.
We will also take a look at some of the feature races over the weekend and we have a couple of interesting runners from today’s cards.
There is a lot to like about Value At Risk and his chances in the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle despite the fact he was beaten on Trials Day last weekend.
He made his racecourse debut when runner up to Very Wood in a bumper at Punchestowns when trained by Phillip Fenton.
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He then went on to win his next two races before finishing 13th in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper.
This was followed with a fine 3rd at the Punchestowns Festival, beaten only by the Cheltenham bumper 1-2 in the shape of Silver Concorde and Shaneshill.
Value At Risk was then acquired by Harry Skelton and hacked up on his hurdles debut before going down narrowly to Ordo Ab Chao at the weekend.
He stayed on stoutly after being passed to suggest the step up to 3 miles will be right up his street.
This horse has bumper form that ties in with two Festival winners (Very Wood went on to win the 2014 Albert Bartlett) and that is enough to tempt me in at 12/1
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle 2015 – Value At Risk @12/1
The other horse to catch my eye at the weekend was David Pipe’s Un Temps Pour Tout who ran a blinder to finish just under 3 lengths behind tough-as-nails Reve De Sivola and the race-fit, yet classy, Saphir De Rheu.
You could argue that he was getting 2lbs from the winner and 6lbs from the runner up but you need to take into account it was his first run for 266 days and also his first crack at 3 miles.
He will strip fitter for his reappearance and there could be any amount of improvement to come over 3 miles. I think the 16/1 currently available will be a lot shorter on the day.
Ladbrokes World Hurdle 2015 – Un Temps Pour Tout @16/1
On to today and Garde Fou has a decent chance in the 3.30pm handicap hurdle at Chepstow.
A runner-up on his two previous starts, the form of his latest run has worked out well with the winner going in again at Newbury.
Garde Fou is dropping back in trip here but 2m 4f on heavy going around Chepstow will take plenty of getting and he has an each-way chance.
Rocky Elsom is a bit hit-and-miss but he won’t mind the mud flying around and he is another in with an each-way shout based on his win at Lingfield two starts back.
In the next race, Loughalder is an interesting runner down in class and down in trip. He is 3 from 4 over C&D and I am hoping this venue sparks a revival after a lackluster effort on his seasonal reappearance.
This is easier than the race he contested at Haydock but he is 9lbs above his last winning mark so it will be a speculative punt only for me.
Chepstow 3.30pm Garde Fou @15/2 & Rocky Elsom @12/1 (e/w ¼ odds, 4 places)
Chepstow 4.05pm Loughalder @6/1
I will be covering all of the big races at the weekend over at the Betting School Insiders Club on the Big Race Analysis thread on the Members Forum. Hopefully we can continue where we left off last week.
In the five races we covered we picked out winners at 10/1 and 9/2 to go with two runners-up at 6/1 and 10/3 and a third placed finisher advised at 12/1 each-way.
One of the races we will be covering is the West Wales National at Ffos Las on Saturday.
I put up Global Power as 1 of the 2 selections for the Welsh National at Chepstow but he was not declared at the 48 hour declaration stage.
He has an entry for Saturday and I am hopeful of a decent run. He has some form over staying trips including a 4th placed finish in 2013 Midlands National, a win in the Cumberland Handicap Chase over 3m 2f on heavy ground in 2013 and a 2nd place finish in the same race 12 months later.
Two starts back he was beaten a neck by Theatrical Star who has since run a fine second to Hawke’s Point in a Grade 3 at Warwick.
When it comes to training thorough stayers, Venetia Williams has few peers. She has three entered at the time of writing and the one I like is Royal Palladium who fell last time out attempting run up a four-timer in a race won by Firebird Flyer.
Royal Palladium was leading when he fell three from home and he meets Firebird Flyer on much better terms this time around.
He has a nice racing weight of 10st 8lbs and that might count for a lot when you consider the first three home last year carried 10st 5lbs, 10st and 10st 1lb.
Saturday January 31st
Ffos Las 2.40pm Royal Palladium (e/w) & Global Power (e/w)
All the best