The Road to Cheltenham

Bill Esdaile
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The weights were announced for the Cheltenham handicaps this week, but the picture isn’t really any clearer with most runners having multiple entries. Keep an eye out for market moves over the next week.

A race we are yet to focus on is the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase and it has a nice look to it with the top two in the betting, Boston Bob and Harry Topper, both seemingly unlikely runners.

There has been plenty of money around for David Pipe’s Buddy Bolero after AP McCoy highlighted him as one of his main picks of the week in a big Cheltenham preview. However, he has been doing his winning on very soft ground and is yet to be tested on a quicker surface.

All ground comes alike to another leading contender, RIVAL D’ESTRUVAL, and I can see him going off favourite for this. He is currently available to back at 8/1 with Star Sports and he could easily be a 5/1 shot on the day.

Pauline Robson has deliberately kept this eight-year-old fresh following an impressive win at Kelso back in December and he will have the assistance of top Irish amateur jockey Derek O’Connor.

He is the best around and produced a masterful ride to win this race on Chicago Grey two years ago. Punters will certainly take notice when they see him on the racecard.