WhichBookie racing analyst Andrew Blair White provides a preview and betting tips for races at Roscommon on Monday 23rd May.
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Born Patriot||20/120/1||Ante Post
|Place BetPlace Bet|
Date of Tips: 10/03/2022
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (12:00 10/03/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
The old adage of time waits for no man can be quickly applied to the festival handicap markets as with not much time for water to go under the bridge, the markets are becoming more and more volatile on a daily basis. The confirmations for the day one races went through this afternoon which is another step closer to the event, and closer to the realization that the best week of the year for National Hunt fans is almost on our doorstep. Remember again when trawling through the entries this week that time waits for no man.
With all this taken into account, it is time for me to take a good look at the Pertemps final on the Thursday of the meeting, with this quirky 3m handicap hurdle often being a very tricky race to get to the bottom of. Reasons for this are open for debate, but the fact that the race itself rewards horses farming around in 4th and 5th place qualifiers is probably not the greatest solution to the integrity of the sport. However, from a ruthless punting perspective, it is those sort of horses that one must keep onside at all times, and I have highlighted two horses that should be up to running big races for their respective connections.
The first is Folcano, for the Gordon Elliot team and the Bective Stud ownership. He is in the same colours as Tullybeg, who certainly would not be without a chance in this race and is probably one to keep the right side of as well. I am not sure whether the plan is for the two of them to run in this race, but given the fact that Non-Runner-No-Bet concessions are available, I am more than willing to take the jump on Folcano – who has shown more than enough form to suggest that he could be a very well handicapped horse going into this festival.
Folcano has made one previous trip to Cheltenham in his career and it was safe to say that it ended in tears, with the horse being brought down at the first hurdle in the Martin Pipe last year. There had been whispers that he was well fancied that day and the fact we didn’t get to see him perform was disappointing. However, his efforts this year have been encouraging. He quite notably snuck into sixth in a Pertemps Qualifier around Punchestown before running a big race in fourth at Navan in a handicap in December. He has put away with the festival in mind and just seems to be a case of whether he will run in the Pertemps of the Martin Pipe.
I would personally back him in either, but I would be siding with this option and at a price of 12/1 with SkyBet – who are offering 5 places each way alongside NRNB, looks a worthy bet.
More interestingly though in this race is the overlooked Born Patriot, who also looks to have a fair fighting chance for the shrewd Peter Fahey yard and for the same connections as Belfast Banter, who won the County Hurdle last year. This horse has been well campaigned to sneak into this race off a lowly mark, and will be suited by the ground conditions and the likelihood of a good pace to aim at in this race.
An angle I am always interested in for these big festival handicaps is course experience, and the second place from Born Patriot in the October qualifier was a superb run, especially when a few things went against him on the day. He was held up off the pace despite it being a middling gallop and when asked to chase down the leader on the way to the last, he fluffed his lines and couldn’t pick up again. I would hope that experience could stand to him and the new course is more likely to suit this horse’s strengths than the old one would have.
He ran a shade below his form at Sandown the last day, but they maybe had this target in mind and given the fact he qualified for this race in the early part of the season, he has not been knocked about since and has been given the chance to come here fresh and well. He will be held up for a late run from off the pace and the likelihood of him getting that pace to aim at seems all but assured, and if his jumping can hold up – he should have a massive chance.
At a best price of 20/1 with William Hill, who are also offering 5 places each way NRNB, he should be backed.
|Cheltenham Tips by Day|
|Day 1 TipsTips for Tuesday 15th March||Day 2 TipsTips for Wednesday 16th March|
|Day 3 TipsTips for Thursday 17th March||Day 4 TipsTips for Friday 18th March|
Historically, this race has been the stuff of folklore, of sneaking into the bottom of the handicap, of qualifying for it without even having to run in a qualifier, of keeping a stone’s improvement up your sleeve, and of gambles – legendary gambles.
Run at 1.55pm on the Thursday on the New Course, the Pertemps Final has changed slightly in nature over the course of time however, and has become the domain of the classy staying hurdler, who is verging on graded class. Indeed, the winners of the last four renewals typify the shift in nature – Presenting Percy, Delta Work and Sire Du Berlais (twice), have all either gone on to contest and win graded races over fences, or in the case of Sire Du Berlais, have a live chance in the upcoming Stayers’ Hurdle.
So, glancing quickly at the market for this year’s renewal, the likes of Imperial Alcazar and The Bosses Oscar are worthy market principles. While of those lower down the handicap, it is clear for all to see that this has been a plan for Champagne Platinum, and he could well have a few pounds in hand. But is he inherently classy enough to cope with those at the top of the weights? I’d have my slight doubts.
There is one horse who has an outstanding profile for the race, and ticks almost every box you need for this race. That is the Henry Daly-trained Honest Vic, who is available to back each-way at 25/1 with Betfred, who are 5 places for each-way purposes, and also ‘non-runner, no bet (NRNB)’.
A somewhat late developer, his last two seasons have been defined by vast improvement, which is down to two things – the application of headgear (most notably a visor) and stepping up to staying trips. It is quite possible Daly has only scratched the surface of his ability over 3m, and a Stayers’ Hurdle entry would perhaps confirm that notion is in the trainer’s mind also. This is why the 25/1 is worth taking with Betfred, who are NRNB.
Honest Vic has had four runs at Cheltenham in his career, and has never run a bad race over the undulations of Prestbury Park. Beaten less than 2 lengths in a handicap hurdle over 2m 4½f in April 2018, he was coming there to potentially win the same race in 2019, when making a hash of the last and losing all chance. It was an uncharacteristic error, as his hurdling is usually fluent and his smaller, nimble nature is well suited to the rigours of Cheltenham.
Honest Vic’s next assignment at jump racing’s HQ was in last season’s Coral Cup, when just done for a bit of pace by Dame De Compagnie et al. over the last, before running on again at the line, and indeed would have been fourth in another couple of strides.
This prompted Daly to go over 3m for the first time on his debut this season in a qualifier for this race at Cheltenham, and he duly delivered a breath-taking performance visually, and on the clock. This demolition job increased confidence that we might see a bold showing in the Long Distance Hurdle against Paisley Park, Thyme Hill and McFabulous. But there was no pace on, and Richard Patrick (knowing he was on a strong stayer) elected to make the running. Not a bad move by any means, but it just made him a sitting duck to better horses.
Kept fresh for this race presumably, after a predictably outpaced showing in a Kempton jumpers’ bumper a month ago, he will love going back to Cheltenham, and has nothing to fear from any of his potential rivals if he’s in the same form as the Coral Cup run, or the course and distance win in October. Therefore, at 25/1 with Betfred, he is way too tempting an each-way proposition to not get involved NRNB.