Wednesday Nap: Repetitio , (1650 Cheltenham), 3pts win, 14/1:
The Juvenile handicap hurdle is arguably a crazy place for the day’s big nap, but Nigel Hawke’s Repetitio just looks one to get heavily involved in. Sure there are classy types here like Aramax and Mick Pastor, but it is a race that has often favoured lower weighted horses. Repetitio started in basement level Summer juveniles and has taken the long route here. But his staying on third in a decent Chepstow juvenile and then his gusty handicap win here against good older horses showed that this hurly-burly and climb to the finish might be ideal for a proper street-fighter.
Wednesday Big Race Feature: Defi du Seuil, (1530 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 6/4:
A truly fascinating clash of the big guns in the Champion Chase, made less glorious by the late lameness withdrawal of living legend Altior. Chacun Pour Soir holds a Punchestown verdit over Defi du Seuil, and whilst I don’t prescribe to the end-of-season reasoning for that, I do wonder how Chacun will handle Cheltenham, and that is something we do not have to worry with Defi, himself already a two -time Festival winner. Defi has the least question marks now, and can win.
Rest of Tuesday:
Longhouse Poet, (1330 Cheltenham), 0.5pts each way, 16/1:
Hot favourite Envoi Allen will be very hard to beat here, but this may be more of a test of stamina and the value may just lie in opposing him. We like Longhouse Poet and Sporting John, but with the latter a fraction short in the betting we will risk a little each way on Longhouse. He has seen Envoi Allen’s backside once this season, but looks like he could really like this track, and if he can close the gap at all it could be enough for a podium slot.
Minella Indo, (1410 Cheltenham), 2pts win, 7/2:
A fine RSA with at least four big name challengers. Favourite Champ can be brilliant or disastrous and the risk of one big howler is too much to take. Minella Indo is a grinder who outstayed Allaho twice last year, they rematch here and if it comes down to stamina, Minella can do it again as Allsho can run far too freely. For it to come down to stamina Minella has to match Allaho for jumping fluency, but in jockey Rachael Blackmore he has one of the best in the business at extracting exactly that. Copperhead is respected but may struggle to match the others for class should they run to their best.
Canardier, (1450 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 12/1:
The Coral Cup is arguably the most difficult cavalry charge of the week. WE have been keen on Birchdale but Barry Gerraghty has chosen to ride Dame de Compagnie – and whilst she has a big chance that weakens confidence in Birchdale. Alfa Mix has a chance whilst Traffic Fluide could go well at a price. But we think Willie Mullins is worth a few pounds on any horse’s rating, and Canardier makes his debut for the yard here after running 5th in this last year for a smaller trainer. If Willie finds some improvement then he should better that effort.
Easysland, (1610 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 3/1:
Backing against the legendary Tiger Roll requires a sanity check. the logic is that he was awesome last year, but that cam in the middle of an awesome season for him. In 2018 he won this cosily again in a good season of form. This year he comes off a small operation and one promising warm up over hurdles. He may well be exactly the horse he was, but equally a third Grand National is the main target. If he is a little below his best the door is open to French youngster Easysland who won here in December and is on a roll.
Appreciate It, (1730 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 7/4:
On a day packed with short priced hotpots it’s hard to avoid them all. This guy is trainer by 8-time bumper winner Willie Mullins and comes here off the back of a runaway success in a Dublin Festival bumper. That festival is only in it’s third year and the last two winners of this came from that meeting. Third Time Lucki makes most appeal for those looking for longer odds.
The Daily Yankee:
Minella Indo – Repetitio – Appreciate It – Canardier
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