The pick of the prices at Cheltenham....

17th November 2017

The pick of the prices at Cheltenham….

The bookies are playing it cautious with tomorrow’s BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2.25).

A field of 18 head to post and no less than eight of them trade at odds ranging from 6s to 10s in this morning’s market....

You can make a case for plenty. It’s very competitive. Hence the cramped upper echelons of the betting....

  • I can see where fav-backers are coming from....

Kylemore Lough is the standout jolly at 6s. The 8yo will be having his first run for Harry Fry after being transferred from the care of Kerry Lee.

He’s rated 154. That’s high enough on the face of it. But he was 5th in last season’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham off a mark of 156 – beaten 2.5 lengths. On that evidence he’s entitled to be in the mix off tomorrow’s mark – assuming he’s set to fire.

He’ll need to be at it first-time-of-asking. He’s had no prep run. Fry believes freshness is the key to getting the best out of the horse and we’ll find out if he’s right tomorrow.

Fry has put pressure and expectation on himself thanks to his exploits with Unowhatimeanharry. That one was rated 123 when Fry got hold of him and he subsequently rose to a mark in the 160s.

Supporters will be looking for Fry to use the same magic powers to squeeze a bit more out of Kylemore Lough.

Of course, this one comes ready-assembled with an established reputation. He’s a G1 novice chase winner. It wasn’t the best top-level event you’re ever going to see. But he did beat Outlander that day – conceding weight – and that one is up now to a mark of 164 over fences....

I can see where the fav-backers are coming from. But in a big-field handicap, I must take the price on....

  • Watching Brief....

Double Treasure is a fascinating runner for Jamie Snowden tomorrow....

The 6yo has been tearing up the rankings this summer – producing a sequence of four wide-margin wins on the bounce and rising 42Lbs up the weights since the start of that winning streak in April....

He’s recently lost his novice status and he’s up to a mark of 150 now – a rating that renders him smart.

Last time out in October, he got a look at the Cheltenham fences for the first time and handled them well from the front. That experience can’t do him any harm in tomorrow’s assignment.

I can see how the 14s and 16s available about him this morning could provide temptation. Nothing in tomorrow’s field has improved so quickly on the scale he’s been doing. He’s a horse with momentum. And there could be more to come.

But I take the view that he’s high enough in the weights for a horse that has never experienced this level of competition before. Tomorrow’s race is a massive step up in class.

He’s never been in and amongst this many runners. And he’s never had to confront his fences at the type of speed tomorrow’s race will require him to. He also likes to be out front – and he won’t find it as easy to dominate this bunch as he has the lesser opposition he’s been up against....

Fair play to connections for having a crack. And good luck to them. I won’t be backing the horse. I think this will prove beyond him. But I’ll be interested to see how he goes....

  • Under-estimated at 20s....

At Against the Crowd we don’t worry too much about horses at the top-end of the market in big-field handicaps. Their claims are generally well-advertised in the formbook and available for all to see....

My job is to find the horse or horses the market might be overlooking at the price and I do like the 20s available about THEINVAL in this morning’s market.

With just two wins from 15 goes over fences, his strike rate leaves a bit to be desired. But he’s been well-tried and shown up prominently in a couple of decent handicaps at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring – and he might be considered a little unlucky not to have won one of them.

He very much gives the impression that winning a decent pot of a mark of 146 is not beyond him when things fall right....

He had a prep-run at Ascot earlier in the month and, whilst he was beaten far enough, that was over an inadequate 2-miles. He will come on a bundle for that and this step back up to 2m4f will be much more up his street. 

The ground will be okay for him. Nicky Henderson’s runners are in good heart. And at the price, I just think he’s under-estimated. He’s an each-way play for my money.

  • The pick of the prices….

In tomorrow’s BetVictor Gold Cup (Cheltenham, 2.25)….

THEINVAL @ 20s (Generally)

Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4. I’ll be going into this one each-way.

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra