Friday Races: Playing the long game

Friday’s racing is a calm before the Guineas-weekend storm.  That said, it includes the annual evening hunter chase meeting at Cheltenham.

An entire meeting of tweedy amateurs may not be everyone’s cup of Earl Grey, but it is not without some betting appeal, and a final chance to have a crack at the greatest racecourse in the world before they close shop til October.

Mr Alex Edwards should get an armchair ride on favourite Barel of Laughs in the main race (1845 BST), with a shade of odds-on being in stark contrast to the 100/1 he was when a close 3rd here at the Festival.

There will be nothing armchair about his other ride as he gets the leg up on that old rogue Sybarite in the 4 mile event (1950).

I once got the leg up on a recalcitrant camel near Cairo, and he needed less coaxing than Sybarite.  The frustration is that when Sybarite does decide to put his best hoof forward he can be a very sturdy stayer.  This 4 miles should therefore be ideal, and if he can retain some interest in the early stages, then he is the kind of animal that could produce a barnstorming last half mile.

It’s a risky bet all right, here’s hoping Alex Edwards knows never to give up – keep shoving and you never know what this horse could do.

Recommendation:  Sybarite (1950 Cheltenham), 20/1 generally available.

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