IF YOU haven’t backed a winner by the time the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (4.50pm) comes around, it may be time to draw stumps before this 20-runner two-mile cavalry charge.
Finding the most likely contenders is just one part of the job as you tend to need plenty ofl uck in-running to avoid trouble.
Watching a replay of last year’s race, everything went right for LE PREZIEN who bolted up by five lengths despite being hampered and nearly brought down.
Remarkably he lines up this afternoon off just a 1lb higher mark having failed to set the world alight in four starts since.
His run at Sandown last time was so abject it’s hard to be confident this afternoon, but I have a feeling the plan to return here was hatched some time ago.
Barry Geraghty rode two winners yesterday for his boss JP McManus and is back in the saddle to ride the eight-year-old again.
There is no getting away from the fact he will need to jump better, but at 10/1 with Paddy Power he is simply too big to ignore.
Trainer Paul Nicholls would appear to have one even better handicapped in the shape of French recruit Magic Saint.
He relished the drop back to this two-mile trip last time and his trainer has gone on record saying he could be a lot better than a handicapper in time.
That may well be the case, but this young five-year-old has never run at Cheltenham before or raced in a field of this size.
Gary Moore’s Not Another Muddle is a horse I have huge respect for and he still looks on a fair mark.
However, he is challenging for favouritism and wouldn’t want the ground to dry out any further.
Instead, I am going to have an each-way saver on sole Irish raider MIND’S EYE for trainer Henry De Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore who have already teamed up for success this week.
He caught the eye on his handicapping debut at Leopardstown last month and is worth chancing each-way at 12/1.
Le Prezien e/w 4.50pm Cheltenham
Mind’s Eye e/w 4.50pm Cheltenham
Cartwright e/w 5.30pm 16/1 Cheltenham