Exitas brings the best form in to the race having won three of his last four, with the latest of these coming earlier this month when winning a Listed contest by seven lengths. On this basis it’s not difficult to see why he will likely go off as favourite however it is worth noting that the last three winners of this race have done so at double figure odds and a new rating of 133 coupled with expected good-to-soft conditions could mean it’s worth taking him on.
Kapstadt only just failed off his current mark at Ludlow last time out but has a previous course victory to his name and with only two runs over fences to his name is capable of further improvement, while Doitforthevillage races for last years’ winning trainer and although disappointed over course and distance last time out he has winning form both over the trip and in forecast conditions and could do better today.
Just the four runners but an intriguing contest all the same. Coo Star Sivola disappointed on chase debut but has made the frame in four from five at the course, while William Henry has winning course and distance form over the smaller obstacles and if taking to fences could prove a force to be reckoned with over the season ahead.
Movewiththetimes should improve from first run over fences and is interesting now stepped up in trip, however even at the short price it’s very difficult to get away from Finian’s Oscar who blew away his rivals at Chepstow last month in his first attempt over fences, jumping soundly and finishing eleven lengths clear without coming off the bridle.
FINIAN'S OSCAR (WIN)
Enda Bolger has won this race five times in the last nine years and sends last years’ winner Cantlow along with the young pretender Auvergnat. Both have had recent spins over hurdles and it would be folly to dismiss either considering their trainer record however both were beaten by Cause Of Causes at the Festival last season and neither arrive in the greatest form.
With this in mind I’m happy to take a chance on Urgent De Gregaine who was a course and distance winner at 50/1 when last seen in January 2017, racing from out of the handicap and out of the weights yet still beating all of the above-mentioned three.
URGENT DE GREGAINE (WIN)
15:35 CHELTENHAM - (BET OF THE DAY)
Nicky Henderson and Nico De Boinville have both in fantastic form in recent weeks and team up with the unbeaten On The Blind Side who has no concerns with stamina having won over todays’ trip last time out and in a point-to-point prior to that.
Vision Des Flos was beaten by Poetic Rhythm on hurdle debut but could improve for the step up in trip and would be a fitting winner given the devastating loss of owner Alan Potts this week.
Calett Mad is now two from two since reverting back to hurdles but is arguably better over further so in a competitive looking affair I’m opting for Momella for the in-form Dan Skelton team. He only had two rivals to beat last time out but won by over seventeen lengths (with the third a further forty lengths behind) and is now unbeaten in his last three runs, two over todays’ trip. This is a big step up in grade but he looks capable of further improvement so gets the vote.
MOMELLA (WIN) - NAP