It’s Cheltenham again this weekend with the December meeting in full flow. Nick Luck is in red hot form with his BetBright column and takes us through a spin of the card on Saturday…
Twelve months ago I strongly fancied King’s Odyssey to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup off a mark of 147. Given how few times he’s run since and given there is no evidence to suggest that he is significantly inferior, I surely must back him this time round off a mark of 140.
Now I appreciate I am only telling half of the story as I am not taking account of the relative opposition between the two runnings the race. I also suspect there was nothing as progressive and potentially top class as Clan Des Obeaux in last year’s race. But the fact remains that my selection is a well-treated horse who has had a very good preparation for this.
The one slight worry is that he is not always the best of jumpers and he was scrappy a couple of times on his comeback at Carlisle although this sort of trip should help him.
The Novice Hurdle at 2.30pm can go the way of the progressive Count Meribel who really captured my imagination with the way he bounded clear at Ascot. He’s been given a little break after a busy spell and can continue his improvement here. He looks a strong stayer with a touch of class as his attractive flat pedigree clearly suggests.
The International Hurdle might just present the opportunity for My Tent Or Yours to finally win a race. Although he is a relative stranger to the winners enclosure in recent years, there is little doubt that he boasts the best form from last season and we know that he can act well fresh.
The trainer has been quite clear that this has been the target for some time in order that he can avoid Buveur D’Air at Kempton. While I appreciate he is not the most bankable proposition I think he form entitles him to be shorter than his current odds.
He and The New One have a long established rivalry going all the way back to the Aintree bumper in 2012 when they were four and five year olds and my own view is that The New One needs a little bit more time between his races now to be seen at his very best.
As for Melon he is evidently the one with the scope to progress but the bare form of his Supreme Novices run doesn’t entitle him to be the price that he is.
The concluding Mares Handicap Hurdle can go the way of Fergal O’Brien’s Oscar Rose who was a smart bumper performer last season and hasn’t quite shown as much as you might have hoped. She now has an extremely dangerous handicap mark of 118 if she can translate her bumper form and show the benefit of the experience she has accrued.
1.55 King’s Odyssey
2.30 Count Meribel
3.05 My Tent Or Yours
3.40 Oscar Rose
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.