Its the Cheltenham Festival with Jewson Novices, Pertemps, Ryanair Chase,World Hurdle & Byrne Group Plate Cheltenham tips available as punters eye Thursday’s racing card.
There may be no Big Buck’s, but boy the World Hurdle been given a betting boost from his withdrawal.
They go 7/2 the field today and the race looks like a mystery that Agatha Christie would struggle to solve. There are some significant big-race trends to use in this race though that will help punters come to a conclusion.
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The last 12 winners of the World Hurdle could be found in the first four in the betting; sure, it’s easy to think that statistic might be skewed due to the dominance of the likes of Inglis Drever and Big Bucks.
However, the horses that have finished behind them have also been amongst the market leaders. Therefore, our focus is very much at the head of the market, and after much deliberation we have decided to plump for Oscar Whisky around the 4/1 mark with Paddy Power.
What has swayed our decision to show faith in the Nicky Henderson hurdler is the fact the ground has been drying up since the first day and the predicted soft conditions are now a thing of the past.
Connections of Oscar Whisky should now fancy their chances of reversing places with Reve De Sivola, who is a 9/2 shot with William Hill, from the Cleeve Hurdle as he will suit the drying conditions at Cheltenham. Henderson’s hurdler may not completely stay the three mile trip but his class could see him through in this ground.
He is a machine, the best around, in the 2m5f division, yet has been beaten on both occasions when trying three miles. Henderson claimed the horse wasn’t completely right last year when finishing fifth behind Big Buck’s and has been quietly confidently about the chances of the horse if the ground was like it is at the moment. The race isn’t the strongest of renewals and lacks strength in depth in our eyes – Oscar Whisky should have too much class over the gutsier stayers that haven’t got their ground.
Cue Card is a horse, like Oscar Whisky, that divides opinion within the punting ranks but his big day in the sunshine could come in the Ryanair today.
This is a horse that has some very strong form-lines with some very, very classy chasers. On good ground at Cheltenham, he has been beaten just a nose by Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth, finished third in one of the classiest renewals of a Supreme Novices Hurdle, won a Champion Bumper by eight lengths and only got beat seven lengths over fences by Sprinter Sacre in an Arkle.
Some of that form is streets ahead of what is rivals bring to the table today. Colin Tizzard’s chaser may not be straightforward, and can throw in a wobbly jump now and again, but at a best priced 4/1 with Paddy Power he looks a solid bet to come home in front.
Dynaste has been very well backed for the Jewson Novices Chase since switching from the RSA Chase but we’re very much against him at a best priced 7/4 with Paddy Power. The one we like at an each-way price is Texas Jack for trainer Noel Meade. The chaser has strong form with Lord Windermere, who won the RSA Chase on Wednesday and at 10/1 with William Hill the Irish form can hold up to deny Dynaste.
Trainer David Pipe looks to have a better chance in the Byrne Group Plate though, as Ballynagour heads the market 5/1 with William Hill. He won on his British debut in convincing style and even though he has suffered a hike in the weights, he still looks ahead of the handicapper.