Televised action at Cheltenham on Friday gets underway at 1.50pm with the two-mile Handicap Chase that might take a little less winning than normal.
With Ian Williams’ team in such good form, this can go the way of Kapstadt, who is a pretty hardy campaigner, with fifty-three lifetime appearances under his belt, despite only being seven years old.
He’s tough, pretty consistent, versatile and as yet, unexposed over fences having had only two starts over the larger obstacles. He was a bit unlucky not to win at Ludlow last time, having been hampered late on and a repeat of that sort of form will see him go pretty close here.
In addition, he’s got a victory at this track to his name and seems to be better going left handed.
I’m quite sure that Finian’s Oscar will be all the rage for the Novice Chase at 2.25 and it may very well be that he blows his opposition away. But he’s only got a few pounds in hand on official ratings and actually comes out worse at the weights with both Movewiththetimes and William Henry.
At the likely odds, I’m quite tempted by Movewiththetimes. He ran as though he needed the race on his reappearance here and ought to improve with the step up in trip. Thus far, he’s raced almost exclusively at the minimum, even though his pedigree suggests this intermediate distance is what he wants.
The Cross-Country race at 3.00pm looks its usual mix of odds and sods but at the prices, it might be worth taking a chance with Urgent De Gregaine, who won at this track in January and might have improved subsequently, judging by his effort in the Pardubice last time. Clearly the obstacles are no barrier and although he needs a ride of some finesse, he’s weighted to go well here.
The final race can go the way of On The Blind Side, who looked a smart prospect when winning at Aintree last time. He needs to step up on the bare form of that performance but the manner of that victory was quite striking.
All the Best.
Nick’s Picks for Friday at Cheltenham…
1.50 – Kapstadt
2.25 – Movewiththetimes
3.00 – Urgent De Gregaine
3.35 – On The Blind Side
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.