Cheltenham Wednesday Preview

1.30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase – 4 m

Willie Mullins seems to be favouring Back In Focus for this race and staying looked to be his game when just pegging back Aupcharlie in a valuable Grade 1 Chase at Leopardstown last time. He has also been considered for the RSA Chase and he looks to have more than enough class for this field. He is priced at 7-2 favourite by Bet365. David Pipe has elected to run Buddy Bolero in this race from a choice of several engagements. Alan King rates Godsmejudge as possibly his best chance of a winner at the festival so he could be each-way value at 10-1.

2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 5f

Trainer Willie Mullins again saddles the favourite in the highly regarded Pont Alexandre. Although his victories have come on soft ground, Mullins is confident of an even better display if the rain stays away. Nigel Twiston-Davies has high hopes of The New One who looked to have hit the front too soon when collared by At Fishers Cross last time. He will be ridden with more restraint but the recent bug to hit the stable is a slight concern. Rule The World looked well above average when cruising home at Naas and he could be worth a bet at 8-1 with Bet365, particularly if the going is soft. Anything that Nicky Henderson runs in the novice events is worth a second look and Chatterbox could be worth each-way support at 10-1.

2.40 RSA Chase – 3m

David Pipe has thrown this race wide open by withdrawing ante-post favourite Dynaste and diverting him to the Jewson.  Boston Bob looks likely to represent the stable of Willie Mullins here whilst there has been plenty of support for the Paul Nicholls-trained Unioniste in recent days. Hadrians Approach gave that horse a scare at Newbury last time and may even have won but for some erratic jumping. If he can iron out his fencing he could be an each-way threat at 7-1 with Bet365.

3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2m

The hype has been in full swing for many months surrounding Sprinter Sacre and most the credible opposition has elected to swerve a clash with Nicky Henderson’s star chaser. Thankfully it looks as if last year’s runner-up Sizing Europe will be opposing him and he can provide a solid test. He looked unlucky to be beaten by Finian’s Rainbow last season and that horse has been ruled out by the soft ground. Bet365 offer 5-1 Sizing Europe for those looking for some each-way interest against the long odds-on favourite.

4.00 Coral Cup – 2m 5f

The Coral Cup looks typically wide open and there remains some doubt as to whether or not Paul Nicholls will run the ante-post favourite Wonderful Charm. He is considering letting him take his chance in the World Hurdle so he would clearly be strongly fancied to take this handicap. Edeymi went into many notebooks when staying on strongly last time out but he needs a few to come out before he is certain of a run. If he sneaks in, he could be the gamble of the race and is currently priced at 8-1 with Bet365. Alan King has an interesting pair in Meister Eckhart and Medinas whilst Willie Mullins has several to choose from. Donald McCain’s Bourne has been shaping well recently and could have been brought along with this race in mind. If he runs here in preference to his other engagements, he could provide some value at 25-1.

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 2m 1/2f

Several of the big stables have strong entries for this competitive handicap this year and the Paul Nicholls pair of Saphir Du Rheu and Ptit Zig dominate the market. Preference is just for Saphir Du Rheu who could hardly have won any easier last time. Willie Mullins also has a handful of entries with Fatcatinthehat and Blood Cotil both prominent in the market. However, the one to be on here could be John Ferguson’s Bordoni. He looked certain to collect first time out at Ludlow before running out and won with his head in his chest at Market Rasen. He looks worth supporting at 10-1 with Bet365.

5.15 Weatherby’s Champion Bumper – 2m 1/2f

Several of these have been put away for this race and there appears to be great confidence behind Le Vent D’Antan. He is trained by Liz Doyle who was responsible for Al Ferof and Cheltenian before they went on to Cheltenham success. The word from Ireland is that he is definitely in their class so he could be a good bet at 7-1 with Bet365. The race has added interest with Joseph O’Brien riding Shield for his father and Richard Hughes set to partner Sgt Reckless for Mick Channon. The each-way selection here is David Pipe’s The Liquidator at 20-1 after an easy win last time.

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