Day 2 of the Cheltenham International meeting and the heavnes are about to open on Gloucestershire.
By the time the eponymous Unibet International Hurdle is run at 3.05 the going should have changed to ‘soft’ and that will suit our each way pick for the race – Western Ryder at 6-1.
Always the apple of the trainer’s eye, even when not wearing a white bikini*, ‘Honey’ ran a great race first time up this season when a close fifth in the Greatwood on this course.
On official ratings, Warren Greatrex‘s runner has a bit to find, but, getting weight from all but one of the other participants and with cheekpieces on for the first time, ‘Dickie‘s mount could cause a minor surprise.
The other valuable race on the card is the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at 1.55, which has attracted a field of 15, including the first and second in last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup, namely Baron Alco and Frodon.
Our selection for that race was Rather Be, which was still in a hack canter when brought down four out and we have no intention of deserting this 7-y-o today, although today it has to be a win bet at 7-2.
We also suggest an each way bet on War Sound at 10-1. Ultra consistent last year, even with the yard out of form, this 9-y-o confirmed its and the yard’s well being by completing a demolition job on a good field at Aintree in early November, after which it was put by for this. Dickie could have a good day.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at 2.30 sees Doux Pretender and Aye Aye Charlie fighting it out at the head of the market, but with the former saddled with a penalty and the latter making hard work of winning a four runner affair at odds of 1-12, we choose to oppose them both with Lisnagar Oscar, which is available, each way, at 10-1.
Rebecca Curtis‘s runner is an expensive acquisition from the Pointing field and gets the chance to show what it can do over a distance of ground this afternoon.
End-of-day race at 3.40 is the OLBG.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, which has the Skelton team’s Ratoute Yutty as favourite at 5-2. Such was the promise of this 5-y-o’s debut run for the yard, we’ll go with the flow and recommend a win bet at the price.
We also like the chances of Oscar Rose, which has yet to quite fulfil her promise but is attractively handicapped and should be backed each way at 10-1.
TV cameras are also at Doncaster, which survived a morning inspection, but the races covered are, in the main, uncompetitive.
Exception is the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at 2.10, which at least has a field of seven and in this we recommend a modest win bet on Peter Atkinson‘s pet Irish Roe at 7-2.
That’s yer lot.
Western Ryder 3.05 Cheltenham 3pts e/w @ 6-1
Rather Be 1.55 Cheltenham 4pts win @ 7-2
War Sound 1.55 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (4 places)
Lisnegar Oscar 2.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Ratoute Yutty 3.40 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 5-2
Oscar Rose 3.40 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Irish Roe 2.10 Doncaster 2pts win @ 7-2