I have had a few issue this morning. The article I was working on last evening hasn't saved so I have had to hastily rewrite this morning.
Inside today’s main piece I’m once again looking ahead to March and the Cheltenham Festival. There’s another free ante post selection. Plus, I have a selection from this afternoon’s meeting at Catterick.
Path To Cheltenham
Its Thursday so it’s the second installment of my “Path to Cheltenham” series. Last week I put up an ante post selection for the Pertemps Series Final. This week my attention has turned to the Champion Hurdle.
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Unibet Champion Hurdle
Honeysuckle is going to be very tough to beat in the Unibet Champion Hurdle. Doesn’t she just bolt up if she turns up in the same form as last year? With her 7lb mares allowance she could run 6lb or 7lb below last year’s best form and still win this seasons’ race. Even though Honeysuckle is the most likely winner of the Champion Hurdle. I’m looking for something at an each-way price
Plenty will be looking to Sharjah and you can see why. He’s finished runner-up in the last renewals of the race and given he goes so well at the course; he won’t be far away again in March.
Besides Sharjah we also have his stablemate the intriguing Appreciate It. Runner-up in the 2020 Cheltenham Bumper. He went one better when winning last season’s Supreme Novices Hurdle. The 8-year-old had been expected to go novice chasing this season. However, he’s staying over the smaller obstacles. That said we have yet to see him run this season and his preparation has been less than ideal. Like his stablemate he’s a best priced 8/1 for this year’s Champion Hurdle.
2020 winner Epatante was very disappointing in last years race but she had back problems last season. She seems to be over what was ailing her. Having dead-heated with Not So Sleepy in Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Before winning the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. Again, she’s another who get make the places but even her Grade 1 form this season isn’t good enough to win.
That leaves Saint Roi. The 7-year-old looked a future Champion Hurdle contender when landing the 2020 County Hurdle. He started last season with what looked like an unlucky second in a slowly run Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
He didn’t really build on that promise on two subsequent starts though. Returning from a near 11-month absence he shaped well when a 5 length third of 6 to stablemate Sharjah in Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown. Not for the first time he was a little keen but he wasn’t subjected to hard race when his jockey realised, he wasn’t going to win. He will now head to the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
I think there remains a big performance in Saint Roi. The 33/1 that was available at the weekend has gone but you can still back him at 25/1 with Bet365. At the prices he seems much better value each way than the likes of Sharjah, Appreciate It and Epatante.
Selection: Saint Roi – 25/1 @ Bet365 (Non Runner No Bet) – Each Way.
Catterick and Bangor provide the action over jumps on Thursday. Plus, there are all-weather fixtures at Newcastle and Chelmsford. The highlight of a seven-race card Catterick is the Vickers.Bet North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase (2:40).
2:40 – The favourite Sidi Ismael is sure to be popular with punters in today’s feature race. The 8-year-old made it 3-3 since joining the David Pipe yard when winning the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day. The step up to 3m 3f suited that day and he should stay 3m 6f.
Chef D'Oeuvre was very disappointing when I put him up at Haydock last time. However, the ground was really testing that day so that’s a possible excuse for his poor performance. Now it’s possible that the 11-year-old legs have gone. The first-time visor he wore last time is replaced by the reapplied blinkers and given he’s 4lb below his last winning mark I’m going to give me another chance here.
Chef D'Oeuvre – 9/1 @ Bet365 or 8/1 – Gen.
Good luck with your Thursday bets.