High-class racing from Cheltenham this Saturday should get the juices flowing for the Cheltenham Festival in seven-weeks-time, whilst there’s also a strong card at Doncaster.
We’ve three free tips for Cheltenham in the Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase, the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase, and the Cleeve Hurdle. We’ve also got free tips for Doncaster in the olbg.com Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle and the Sky Bet Handicap Chase.
This doesn’t look the strongest renewal of the Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase and not many of the runners have any previous experience of Cheltenham, whilst those that do have hardly troubled the judge.
One exception is Ballyhill, who won over course and distance last January off a mark of 133. He won again off a mark of 134 at Aintree two starts ago and, though the handicapper hit him with a 10lb rise for that win, his stable’s 7lb claimer could be being used to good effect to effectively bring his mark back down to 137. He looks worth an each-way bet.
Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase Free Tip:
Ballyhill (Each-Way) @ 9.00 Bet365, 888Sport
A really interesting renewal of the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase. Frodon is by far the highest rated horse on a mark of 169, but he’s yet to convince over trips of three miles and may be vulnerable to a stronger stayer.
Minella Rocco certainly fits that description having won a National Hunt Chase over four miles and finished second in a Gold Cup. If wind surgery has made a difference to his suspect breathing, he could be dangerous getting weight from the market leaders, but the suspicion is we might not see the best of him until the Grand National weights have been framed.
Nicky Henderson also saddles two runners in Terrefort and Valtor and either could be good enough. However, Elegant Escape’s win off a big-weight in the Welsh National evoked memories of Gold Cup wins for Native River and Synchronised and he’s given the chance to outstay his rivals.
Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase Free Tip:
Elegant Escape @ 3.75 Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betvictor
After an impressive chase win at Doncaster last time out, Lady Buttons reverts to the smaller obstacles in the olbg.com Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle. It’s easy to see why too, with a first prize of £28,000 up for grabs.
She’s unlikely to have it all her own way, as both Irish Roe and Chica Bueno have chances at the weights, but this improving nine-year-old is rated much higher over fences and she’s a model of consistency. Her trainer Philip Kirby has also shown just how good a trainer he is with the right ammunition this season and he continues in great form.
olbg.com Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle Free Tip:
Lady Buttons @ 2.00 William Hill, 888Sport
The Sky Bet Handicap Chase looks a tricky puzzle to solve, as most of the fancied horses are at the head of the weights, whilst the last five winners have all been rated between 136 and 145 and have carried 11-0 or less.
It may be that the low-weights just aren’t classy enough this year but, with the stats on their side, a case can be made for backing Monbeg River. Although he’s proved better over shorter trips throughout his career, the 10-year-old recorded what was probably his most impressive victory on his only previous runner at Doncaster, when he stayed on well over 2 miles and 5 furlongs. This will also be his first chance to carry a nice low-weight on decent ground at this trip and he looks worth a small each-way interest at a big price.
Sky Bet Handicap Chase Free Tip:
Monbeg River (Each-Way) @ 26.00 Ladbrokes, Betvictor
A great renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle, with some new pretenders to the staying hurdle crown taking on some horses that have been there and nearly worn the t-shirt.
Paisley Park, Midnight Shadow, and Black Op all fall into the young pretender category, but all have question marks over them regarding either trip, course, or well-being.
The established hurdlers include Wholestone, who is yet to finish outside the first three at Cheltenham, as well as Aux Ptit Soins, Unowhatmeanharry, and Agrapart. However, Lil Rockerfeller could appreciate a return to hurdles on good ground, whilst he wouldn’t be the first horse to jump better for having Bryony Frost in the saddle for the first time.
Cleeve Hurdle Free Tip:
Lil Rockerfeller (Each-Way) @ 21.00 SkyBet, Betvictor, Coral