Paint The Clouds looks a rock-solid favourite
St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase, 3m2f110y, New Course (due off 4.00pm)
Paint The Clouds has been well supported in the ante-post markets and it’s not just punters who have confidence in him, as connections have been particularly bullish about his chances. It’s easy to see why as he’s clearly on the up and comes alive at this time of year, winning seven of last eight races in March to May. The winner of the Champion Hunters’ Chase at Stratford last May, he returned at Doncaster last month and ran out a comfortable winner, which would have put him spot on for this. What’s more, he’s won twice from four starts at Cheltenham and you can put a line through his pulled-up effort in the Martin Pipe at the 2013 festival as he fractured his pelvis. The icing on the cake is the presence of Sam Waley-Cohen in the saddle. Top price: 9/2 bet365.
Who else is fancied?
As is always the case, the Irish are mob-handed and their team is headed by On The Fringe, who has been fourth and third on his last two previous attempts at Cheltenham, and dual winner Salsify (2012/13). The latter was a weary fourth last year and finished a well beaten fourth in his prep at Leopardstown. Muirhead may be past his prime at the age of 12.
Pointing yards have a great record in the race, unsurprisingly, and their best hope this time looks to be Rose Laxton’s Current Event, who is a winning machine and made it eight on the spin when landing a hunters’ chase at Musselburgh last month. This is a big step up, though.
Any decent outsiders?
Aerial was useful when trained by Paul Nicholls (won the 2012 Greatwood Gold Cup) and has won points at Larkhill either side of Christmas with stacks in hand. He could run well at double-figure odds, as could last year’s runner-up Carsonstown Boy, who is a consistent sort and is at his best this time of year.
Trainer quote: “Betting-wise he looks to be our best hope. He looks brilliant and will have a prep run next week [won at Doncaster] and will come on for the run. Sam Waley-Cohen will ride – he’s four from four on him. He’s lightly-raced and I look forward to running him.” – Warren Greatrex (trainer) on Paint The Clouds.
Best bookie offer
Back the winner of this race at 4/1 or bigger with bet365 and they will give you a free bet (up to £50) on the next live Channel 4 race (a race on Saturday). If that also wins at 4/1 or bigger, get another free bet and so on.
When you consider all the positives surrounding the favourite PAINT THE CLOUDS, he looks something to bet on at the current 9/2.
Selections – Paint The Clouds @ 9/2 bet365