Monetaire can enhance his stable's excellent record
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate, 2m5f, New Course (due off 4.00pm)
David Pipe has won three of the last six runnings and he looks to have saved Monetaire for the festival, after the gelding won on his second start for the stable over 2m1f at Newbury in November. He’s 12lb higher now but is far from exposed and may have further improvement in him over this trip, given he won over 3m in trip. Punters have latched on to him in recent days but this race is rarely straightforward and Salut Flo, a 9/2 shot when obliging three years ago, is the only winner to have returned at single-figure odds since Majadou in 1999. The connection being, both those horses also emanated from the Pipe stable. Top price: 7/1 bet365.
Who else is fancied?
Kim Bailey had Un Ace well entered up at the festival but this is surely his best chance of a victory. Beaten less than 11 lengths on just his second start over hurdles in last season’s Supreme Novices’, he has already shown plenty of promise this season, winning twice, and is still on a workable mark of 144. Tony McCoy rides.
Buywise keeps catching the eye at Cheltenham but it’s just as much for his clumsy jumping as his strength up the hill. That said, it didn’t stop him winning a Grade 2 over course and distance last April, albeit from a 12lb lower mark. Attaglance is still a maiden over fences but has a festival first – 2012 Martin Pipe – and second – 2014 Novices’ Handicap Chase – to his name. He’ll be hard to keep out of the frame again, while the Nicky Henderson-trained pair of Hunt Ball and Rajdhani Express are also former Festival winners.
Any decent outsiders?
It would be easy to name the entire field here but I’ll spare you that and cut to my idea of the best outsider in Champion Court, who has gone well around here several times in the past, including when winning a Grade 2 over this distance. He hasn’t done much of late but the upshot to that is that he’s slipped back down to a good mark.
Trainer quote: “A lot will depend on the ground. On softer ground we’ll probably lean towards the Grand Annual. On better ground it’ll probably be the Plate. We had planned to give him another run [since Newbury] but he wasn’t quite right so we had to sit tight. He’s in good order again now.” – David Pipe on Monetaire
Best bookie offer
Several firms are offering five places – and rightly so – and each-way backers shouldn’t go anywhere else. Currently they are: bet365, Sky Bet, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.
This has not been a good race for backers but the Pipe stable have come to their rescue on several ocacsions and MONETAIRE looks a similar type to their previous winners. There’s no harm in having two running for us and CHAMPION COURT is a must each-way.