First day of the two-day International meeting at Cheltenham and ITV are showing 3 races and one joke for our entertainment.

With no particular highlight we will crack on in chronological order, which brings us to the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase at 1.55, which, with the defection of Skewiff, has a field of five.

Disputing favouritism at 5-2 are Chequered View and the Harry Fry trained Definitelyanoscar and we have a distinct preference for the latter.

Chequered View won a four-runner affair at Fakenham last time out, beating a horse that would struggle to beat the stable cat and is effectively 10lbs higher today, in a race which is a completely different cauldron of tuna.

Definitelyanoscar, apart from having a very unimaginative name (it’s by Oscar out of a mare by Definite Article) has finished second on both chase starts to date, improving last time for the addition of a tongue strap, which is retained this afternoon. With the yard now in flying form, we recommend a win bet to defy top weight.

The BetVictor Handicap Chase at 2.30 has a competitive line up of 12 and we take another Harry Fry inmate to go in, this time at 7-2.

Onefortheroadtom creeps in at the bottom of the weights after running a highly promising 4th on seasonal debut, behind today’s opponents West Approach and Cogry. Off a 2lb lower mark, we take this 6-y-o to get off the mark over fences at the 9th attempt.

So what do we make of Singlefarmpayment in this race?

No point in asking the horse, which came second in this race last year and has a 6lb pull for not very far with Cogry, so, on the off-chance that everything goes horribly wrong and SFP wins by accident, we recommend a very modest win bet at 7-1.

(Readers who haven’t a clue what we are talking about should perhaps view Singlefarmpayment‘s previous runs over this course and guess what price it hit in running)

The ‘joke’ race is at 3.05 and after 1.5 seconds of analysis, we predict a French-trained animal will win it, but which of the five? No clue, sorry.

The Citipost Handicap Hurdle at 3.40 completes the entertainment and, in this, we think Ask Ben is a worthy favourite.

Quite highly tried as a juvenile, Graeme McPherson‘s 6-y-o made a tremendous start to this season when, on handicap debut, it finished a close 4th of 17 in a fierce handicap at Haddock three weeks ago.

A repeat of that effort will surely see this horse home in front today and we recommend a win bet at 100-30.

For safety’s sake we also recommend an each way bet on Olly Murphy‘s Smackwater Jack, which was all the rage for a similar event over the Old Course 4 weeks ago, but rather got stuck in the mud. 8-1 looks fair.

That’s it – now off to polish the old CV, in case the Lib Dems or the Labour Party need a new leader.


Definitelyanoscar 1.55 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 5-2

Onefortheroadtom 2.30 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 7-2

Singlefarmpayment 2.30 Cheltenham 1pt win @ 7-1

Ask Ben 3.40 Cheltenham 3pts win @ 100-30

Smackwater Jack 3.40 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 8-1

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