Cheltenham Festival 2016 betting: Forget Victoria Pendleton, Paint The Clouds finally has ideal conditions to eclpise Victoria Pendleton in St James's Place Foxhunter Chase

Bill Esdaile
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Victoria Pendleton Press Conference
Former cyclist Pendleton makes her Cheltenham debut but the value may be elsewhere (Source: Getty)

All eyes will be on Victoria Pendleton when she completes the most extraordinary ‘Switching Saddles’ challenge and rides Pacha Du Polder in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase (Friday 4.10pm).

The former Olympic cyclist had barely even sat on a horse this time last year and it’s astonishing that she is now riding in the hustle and bustle of a Cheltenham Festival.

The horse itself has little chance of staying the marathon Gold Cup trip and I’m just hoping she returns safe and sound with a smile on her face.

With the weather set fair, trainer Warren Greatrex can land the prize with the 11-year-old PAINT THE CLOUDS who can be backed at 7/1 with Sky Bet, who are incidentally offering four places on each-way bets.

The key to my selection is good ground and the better the surface, the better his chances.

He only ran four times last season and it poured with rain the night before racing on three of those occasions.

Even so, he still ran with credit finishing third in this race 12 months ago and he then went on to finish fourth in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

He looked in really good form when making a winning reappearance at Doncaster last month and will take some beating this afternoon.

The biggest danger looks to be last year’s winner On The Fringe who never looked happy on heavy ground last month.

A return to a sounder surface is bound to help, but I just fancy Paint The Clouds to reverse last year’s form with conditions in his favour.


Paint The Clouds e/w 4.10pm Cheltenham

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