FREE CHELTENHAM TIPS – BY ROBERT BROOKES (THE JUMPS PUNTER)

 

Day One Ultima Handicap Chase

The Druids Nephew won this race two years ago. He was trained last year with the Grand National the main target after running so well in the race the year before. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out in the Grand National last year and connections this season are keen on not making one firm target for the season. I fully expect though that one of his main targets this year as been this race at the festival. I think horses that have been to the festival in the past and performed well are always worth keeping on side as you see horses coming back year after year and performing with credit there. This season his first run was at Sandown where I felt he ran ok to a point. The right handed course however just didn’t suit as he jumped out to his left and looks like he will be more suited going left handed and I do feel going back left handed we will see an improved performance from him.

For me he as been there and done it already he is handicapped to win and he is versatile regards to ground at his current price I think he looks a really nice each way bet.

We already have The Druids Nephew in our portfolio but I would like to add Holywell. He finished second in this race last year off a 5lb higher handicap mark than what he races off this year. His overall record at the Cheltenham festival reads well with figures of 1,1,4,2. I’m not overly bothered by his recent form figures as he bounced back to form last season in this race and his stable have come nicely back to form in recent times.

The stats for the race in recent times point to a young progressive chaser with singlefarmpayment and champers on ice fitting the bill but the former hit the deck last time which isn’t ideal and connections seem to be heading down the 4 mile route with the latter. In Holywell and The Druids Nephew, I feel we will get a good run for our money.

Day One National Hunt Chase

Champers on Ice as been a horse that as caught my eye on his last two chase starts. At Warwick over 3m, he seemed to get outpaced before staying on nicely late on. Last time out on trials day he was dropped in trip he didn’t jump particularly well in the early part of the race but the experience won’t have been lost on him. Given how fast the race was run he didn’t have the speed to get involved which is no surprise given that he looks an out and out stayer. The same connections ran Un Temps Pour Tout in the same race last year on trials day before he stepped up in trip at Cheltenham to 3m and won the Ultima Handicap Chase. While he as a few entries at the festival having read the recent comments of his trainer it looks like he will be heading down the National Hunt Chase route. I just feel he is a horse that will massively improve for the stamina test.

Day Two Coral Cup

Looks interesting connections have opted to go down the handicap route with Tombstone once they were allotted there handicap mark. He had been entered in the championship races but appears to be going to the coral cup now connections have seen his handicap mark which for me is a clue in itself.

Day Three Stayers Hurdle

The Stayers Hurdle what was formerly known as the World Hurdle and to a horse who was successful in this race two seasons ago in the shape of Cole Harden.

I never felt he was at his best last season and with a couple of below par runs this season the jury was certainly out that was until his run in the Cleeve Hurdle last time out on ground that wouldn’t have totally suited him. I felt he showed his first signs of him coming nicely back to form. Hopefully, on better ground he can take another step forward. While I totally respect the chances of uknowhatimeanharry at the prices and given Cole Hardens run last time I really think he is a nice looking each way bet for this seasons Stayers Hurdle.

Day Four Grand Annual Handicap Chase

The last race of the four day meeting and Dandridge was second in the race last year. He had to be campaigned differently last year to make sure that he had a high enough handicap mark to get into the race. The trainer is a really shrewd operator at getting horses to peak for chosen targets and with the same jockey that rode him in the race last year already ridden him this season come the day of the race we will hopefully have one of the best trainer-jockey combinations there is for the big days.

This year the trainer has been able to campaign the horse different which is something that I like. I don’t like seeing horses having rushed preparations or having to be prepared for races before hand to get a higher handicap mark to enable them to make the cut. I always feel horses that have been campaigned to peak at a certain time are much better horses to follow. He as been quietly brought along this season and as improved with each start. I feel having finished second in the race last year his main target this season will be to go one better in this race. I like horses who have been to the Cheltenham festival in the past and performed well. Year after year we see the same horses coming back and running good races. I really feel he is a horse more than capable of coming back this year and running a solid race.

Day Four Gold Cup

We will finish the blog with the Gold Cup and it’s Native River who I’m keen on he has already had a fantastic season. He’s not put a foot wrong since his Pipe opener over hurdles at Wetherby. Winning the Hennessy Gold Cup and following up next time under top weight to win the Welsh National in impressive fashion. One of the things for me about this horse that I think people are put off by is the margin of his wins and the horses that have finished close to him. That doesn’t concern me one bit as I have been left with the impression this horse idles close home. The way in which he jumps and keeps finding for pressure are all good traits to have when it comes to tackling the Gold Cup trip. As we saw last time I don’t think this horse is by any means slow given the way he quickened from his two rivals late on. For me he as all the right attributes that it takes to win the Gold Cup he stays well but isn’t short of speed he jumps well enough and he shows a really good battling attitude.

He hasn’t faced any of the big guns that he will line up against next month but again that doesn’t bother me when we look at the past winners of the Hennessy and the Welsh National we see horses who have gone on to win the Gold Cup that season. In recent times they include Denman who won the Hennessy in 2007 before going on to win the Gold Cup later that season he later went on to win another Hennessy 2009. Bobs Worth won the Hennessy in 2012 and on his next start came out and won the Gold Cup. Synchronised won a Welsh National before going on the next season to win the Gold Cup.

By looking at Bobs Worth, Denman and Synchronised all three won the same races as Native River before going on to win the Gold Cup.

There are my thoughts on just a few of the horses that have caught my eye throughout this season so far. All my selections for the four days can be found on twitter under thejumpspunter.

I hope you have enjoyed the read good luck with whatever you decide to back over the four days.

The Jumps Punter

 

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