|Botox Has||20/1||Ante Post
|Thomas Darby||25/1||Ante Post
Date of Tips: 10/03/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (11:16 10/03/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
When I summarised all the ante-post action for the Cheltenham Festival that we had put together over the last 12 months, it became clear that day two was a relatively quiet day. So, in attempt to rectify that, I have had a good delve into Wednesday’s races, and it quickly became clear to me why it was such a sparse day betting-wise.
However, there was one avenue open to me, and that was the Coral Cup, run at 2.30pm over 2m5f of the Old Course – the first of two handicaps on day two, alongside the Grand Annual, for which I suggested this 15/2 each-way bet a few days ago.
The top of the market for the Coral Cup is currently a duel between Grand Roi and Koshari. Of the two, I would much prefer the claims of Grand Roi, as he has good Cheltenham experience, and has looked to have taken his form to a new level since joining Gordon Elliott. But at a 7/1 best price, he isn’t much value anymore, in what is one of the hottest races each year.
While, Koshari undoubtedly has a fair level of ability, but is fragile and has a few jumping issues, which could be starkly highlighted in a race such as the Coral Cup.
I prefer two tough and classy individuals, who are available at huge prices. The first is Botox Has, who at 20/1 with Sky Bet, is a cracking each-way bet to prove the notion that this step up in trip is something he has been crying out for. Sky Bet are also 5 places for each-way bets, and also ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’, both of which are handy concessions.
Three runs at Cheltenham have resulted in two wins and a second to Allmankind over hurdles, and it was his most recent start at HQ that marked him down as a horse that would relish a step up in trip – he turned around form with Allmankind back in October, and fairly powered away from the last hurdle and up the hill that day.
A run in a competitive handicap at Ascot over just shy of 2m4f in January looked like a bit of a sighter, and having been held up on a track that suits prominent racers, a mid-race switch to the unfavoured inside also suggested that it very much wasn’t the day for Botox Has. A couple of pounds off his handicap mark, back to his favoured course, and available at 20/1 with Sky Bet, he looks to have been targeted at the Coral Cup from a long way off.
The other bet comes in the shape of the top-weight and very classy Thomas Darby, who at 25/1 with William Hill is definitely worth backing each-way now. William Hill are also offering 5 places, but aren’t NRNB, but news reports suggest Thomas Darby is going to run here. You should never be put off backing top weights in handicaps, and William Henry and Medinas have defied that burden in recent years in the Coral Cup.
Thomas Darby has been lightly raced but was second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2019, and has a win to his name at the track in a maiden hurdle the season before. But it his recent runs that have suggested he could be well suited to the rigours of a Coral Cup, having hit the front in the re-arranged Relkeel Hurdle a little too soon maybe, before running on again close home behind McFabulous.
Thomas Darby always goes well fresh, and on his last handicap start, he came a long way clear with Song For Someone at Ascot. Song For Someone has since won three Grade 2 events in succession before running below par behind Goshen at Wincanton.
At 25/1, Thomas Darby is a wild price about such a classy horse, and could potentially give Olly Murphy his long-awaited first Cheltenham Festival victory.