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Bookies.com are proud sponsors of five races at Sedgefield this afternoon and here is what might happen in the opinion of our racing expert.
13:45 Champion Hurdle Tips At bookies.com ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, 2m178yds
Donald McCain’s Perfect Poison is sure to be popular with punters after getting off the mark over fences last time out at Catterick (2m3f, good). However, he only just held on in a modest race that didn’t make winning – the 11/8 favourite ran well below form – and he’s now up in grade and 6lb higher in the weights, with softer ground also a worry.
This is a bad race but even so it could be worth taking him on with FIDDLER’S FLIGHT, who has won twice over track and trip this season under today’s claiming jockey. He was found out in a slowly run race here last weekend, finishing a modest third, and his chance hinges on there being a strong gallop. With the rest much harder to fancy on all known form, it could be worth taking a chance he gets it, though this is not a race to have a mortgage on by any means. Top price: 7/2 bet365
Bet on the Champion Hurdle instead and we of course have that race nicely covered.
14:25 Free Cheltenham Bets At bookies.com Novices’ Handicap Chase, 2m3f65yds
Jennie Candlish has her horses in great form – her last nine runners have finished 111123542 – and her THEFLYINGPORTRAIT wouldn’t be winning out of turn after a string of solid efforts off similar marks to today’s. Most recently, he finished a six-length second to Some Finish at Leicester and that looks decent form as the winner won twice more subsequently and was ‘thrown in’ that day. The seven-year-old also finished runner-up here on Boxing Day and a reproduction of those efforts might well suffice. Top price: 5/2 bet365
Tim Vaughan’s Lawless Island looks a big danger and especially if the ground dries out from the ‘soft’ they were calling it on Monday. He hated the heavy conditions at Uttoxeter two starts back, being pulled up, but was in the process of running a much better race when brought down at Musselburgh last time when conditions were less testing. He’d definitely got a handicap in him off his current mark.
15:05 Cheltenham Price Boosts At bookies.com Handicap Hurdle, 2m178yds
It’s hard to get away from the in-form ROXYFET with question marks over his rivals. The six-year-old has been superbly placed by his trainer Micky Hammond to win his last three starts, including over course and distance earlier this month, and he still looks well treated under a 7lb penalty for winning cosily over fences at Catterick last Wednesday. Top price: 5/4 bet365
Away For Slates has disappointed twice since winning at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day and a bigger threat may come from Prince Khurram, who has a good record at the track and will appreciate the drying ground more than most.
15:45 Compare Cheltenham Odds At bookies.com Handicap Hurdle, 2m3f188yds
This should be between the two last-time-out winners GENEROUS PET and Bladoun, with the former just preferred. The seven-year-old was making his stable debut for Kenneth Slack when scoring at Newcastle seven days ago and has clearly benefitted from a change of scenery, having shown some promise when with Kevin Bishop. As that race was confined to conditional jockeys, he escapes a penalty and, while this is a better race, he is one step ahead of the handicapper and likely has more to offer. Top price: 11/10 bet365
He rates nap material with David Pipe’s Bladoun helping to make the market for him. That rival is also unpenalised for winning at Exeter last time where he jumped markedly to the left at several hurdles. A return to a left-handed track is therefore in his favour but he’s an infrequent winner (2-22 record) and has to give stacks of weight to the selection.
16:25 Expert Racing Tips At bookies.com Handicap Chase, 2m77yds
DISCOVERIE isn’t the most prolific of winners, though he managed to get his head in front last time, and has let me down a couple of times already this season. However, he’s been found a golden opportunity to follow up and should justify favouritism – but there are surely better bets elsewhere! Top price: 5/4 bet365
17:00 Wednesday Cheltenham Tips At bookies.com Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, 2m78yds
This is a fair bumper on paper with Paper Roses, Mount Mizooka and Tara Time all showing promise on their debuts, and the three newcomers will have to be above average to score. As always with these type of races the market should prove the best guide, but it wouldn’t take much movement to persuade me to back Malcolm Jefferson’s nicely-bred ONLY ORVIETO given the stable is in form, does well here (a 28% strike rate for a level stakes profit of £49.29) and has a 1-4 strike rate in such this season. Top price: 6/1 Paddy Power
If you’re wondering where the Cheltenham tips are for Wednesday, you will find them here.
Good luck all!