11th November 2016
Good afternoon, friends,
In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….
This weekend we target tomorrow afternoon’s BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (1.50) where a field of 17 go to post for the 3 mile 3 furlong event….
The ground is currently described as good (good to soft in places) but there is rain forecast for tomorrow – from the early hours to mid-afternoon. They’re expecting between 6mm and 8mm to fall and by the time they go to post it could be good to soft all round.
Last season’s winner, Sausalito Sunrise, lines up again for Philip Hobbs. If he’s to put up a repeat performance, he will need to do so from a stone higher up the weights than was the case last year. He carries to-weight of 11-12 this time round.
Last year’s runner-up, Upswing, also returns for another crack at the same nut. He’s 4lb lower in the weights then he was last year. But his three races since then have produced a 31 length beating and two failures to finish – including a pulled-up effort at Chepstow in October. He was never travelling that day. The 7s about him for tomorrow’s event seems plenty short enough to me.
I had hoped Fergal O’Brien was going to run Viva Steve. O’Brien has a good record in this race – his last 4 runners produced a win and two places. And Viva Steve produced a career-best on his seasonal debut at Ayr earlier this month (he is one for the notebook). But he will not figure tomorrow. O’Brien relies instead on old-stager and 2013 winner of this race, Alvarado.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Minella Rocco heads the betting at 6s. He won the National Hunt Chase Cup at the Festival in March on just his 4th go over fences. This is his first go outside novice company. That in itself is not necessarily a negative. But I would be worried about the yard’s current form. Zero winners from its last 30 runners suggest something is not quite firing at the moment. And this trip is sure to expose any fitness issues.
We’ll get to my selection in a moment. But first a word on the rest of the action I’m targeting over the weekend….
A brace of additional bets at Cheltenham….
Over on my paid Against the Crowd service this afternoon we’re targeting two big handicaps at Cheltenham – one on Saturday and the other on Sunday….
If you’re looking for a couple more bets for tomorrow afternoon you can access those picks free of charge right now by taking a FREE test-drive of my Against the Crowd service….
SHOTGUN PADDY is something of a standing dish in the big handicaps over long-distance trips. Last season he was winless and he’s slipped down the weights to a fair mark of 140 as a result.
At his best he was rated 151 and on his best form he is potentially very well treated for tomorrow afternoon’s BetVictor Handicap Chase (Cheltenham 1.50).
Whilst he’s fallen down the rankings, it isn’t as if he’s been running like a spent force. He was 3rd in last term’s Welsh National and 2nd in the Eider Chase up at Newcastle. He began last season’s campaign in the race he contests tomorrow and put in a solid effort to finish 5th – beaten just 3.75 lengths.
He’s 5lbs better off this time round and whilst he might have needed the run last season, and goes again without a prep run this time round, jockey Daryl Jacob reports the horse to be in ‘really good form’ and says that the ‘old spark is back’.
You can’t take everything jockeys say at face-value. But Jacob’s comments do suggest they are happy enough with the 9yo at home. The forecasted rain is another plus for a horse who appreciates cut.
The bottom line is price and at 16s the horse is a fair each-way bet at a track he’s done well at previously off a weight that offers him his best chance in a while.
First-time-up you are always taking a little something on trust. But if the horse puts his best foot forward and produces a solid round of jumping, he can run a big race at the price.
The ATC Extra bet recap….
Remember, we don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with….
Note: I’ll be going in each-way. Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.