All jump racing fans will feel really well catered for today, with two spectacular meetings at Wetherby and Ascot and we will do our best to add to the excitement with the value bets.
Feature of the Wetherby card is the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at 3.15 and this Grade 2 event has attracted a stellar field of nine.
Favourite at 15-8 is the somewhat fragile Coneygree, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a Novice in 2015, but only seen three times since. This 10-y-o was last sighted finishing a close third in the Punchestown Gold Cup way back in April and is reported to be quite a bit heavier today for its comeback. Talented though Coneygree undoubtedly is, our pendulum swings in favour of its old rival Cue Card at 3-1.
Specifically laid out for this race, which can’t be said for many of today’s rivals, this seemingly evergreen 11-y-o thrashed Coneygree by 15 lengths in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock last November and a 6lb pull shouldn’t be enough to reverse the result. With Coneygree almost certainly making the running, Paddy Brennan can wait, wait ,wait and pounce at the business end, so a win bet is recommended.
The big race is preceded at 2.40 by the Grade 2 bet365 Hurdle over 3 miles and the favourite for this is Neil King’s gutsy Lil Rockefeller at 9-4. This ultra-gane 6-y-o competed in the highest class last season, finishing second in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and second again in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. As it didn’t actually win a race last year, it can run here unpenalised and gets weight from 3 of its six rivals, so, with the yard in good form, this represents a strong win bet.
At Ascot, the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 3.35 is the most valuable race and, out of the 18 runners due to line up we look no further than last year’s winner, Anthony trained by Gary Moore. Fresh from a warm-up run at Fontwell, this 7-y-o is just 4lbs higher than a year ago and, at 10-1, makes strong each way appeal.
The Ascot Underwriting Chase at 1.50 has the ‘dead eight’ runners and in the hope they all stand their ground, we recommend an each way bet on Cobra De Mai at 11-2. Ran only a week ago, at Cheltenham and was never put into the race with a chance by Harry Skelton, finishing fast into fifth with plenty of running left. Let’s see what Ian Popham can do.
At 2.25 the Listed Byrne Group Handicap Chase takes place and it’s only a matter of time before this is renamed the Venetia Williams’ Benefit, as the fragrant handler has pocketed the dough three times in the past 5 years and can do so again with Calipto.
Although perhaps not noted for first time out winners, you can bet your bottom dollar this 7-y-o has been laid out for this and with Brian Cooper over for the ride, we must get on at 9-2.
Watch and enjoy.
Cue Card 3.15 Wetherby win @ 3-1
Lil Rockefeller 2.40 Wetherby win @ 9-4
Anthony 3.35 Ascot e/w @ 10-1
Cobra De Mai 1.50 Ascot e/w @ 11-2
Calipto 2.25 Ascot win @ 9-2