The fact almost every horse is unexposed and often coming here on the back of just a couple of runs, means form is almost impossible to evaluate and helps explain why the last four winners have gone off at 25/1, 16/1, 14/1 and 40/1.
The first port of call is always Willie Mullins. He’s won eight renewals, including the last two, but as those starting prices suggest, not even the Irish maestro can fathom with much confidence which of his multiple runners have the best chances.
Incredibly, he has the top three in the market with Black Hercules shading favouritism at 6/1 with Star Sports from Shaneshill. Both owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, they are unbeaten in two bumper starts each.
They could be anything, but I’d actually prefer the chances of the third Mullins’ runner Killutagh Vic, who has the best form in the book courtesy of his recent romp in a good time over last year’s Champion Bumper third Golantilla.
All of his starts have been on heavy ground, though, and I’d need some more juice in his price.
A decent showing from Red Sherlock in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle earlier today would strengthen the claims of OUR KAEMPFER, currently 33/1 with Star Sports.
The five-year-old was terribly green on his debut at Worcester but still put seven lengths between himself and the runner-up. The next two behind him haven’t run since but the last home has won a couple of weak races.
But Our Kaempfer’s subsequent close third to Red Sherlock in November is solid form, however you look at it. When you consider Charlie Longsdon’s inmate still wasn’t the finished article and missed out by a head on second place, that 33/1 looks big.
Longsdon rates him as an exciting prospect and his experience of Cheltenham will be invaluable. You can also look to buy him on the Sporting Index win index.
There are dangers in the shape of Dermot Weld’s Vigil and Robert Stephen’s Modus, who could be a force on the flat such is his pedigree, but at three times the price Our Kaempfer is the value to round off the day.
OUR KAEMPFER e/w 5.15pm Cheltenham
Buy Our Kaempfer on Sporting Index’s 50 Race Index