FINDING value in the ante-post markets for next week’s Cheltenham Festival at this late stage isn’t that easy, but there are a couple of horses in two of the less high-profile races that catch my eye.
The JLT Novices’ Chase kicks-off the third day of the meeting next Thursday with the betting currently headed by Lostintranslation and Defi Du Seuil.
Both have obvious chances on paper having fought out titanic finishes over course and distance in the Dipper Novices on New Year’s Day and again at Sandown in the Scilly Isles Chase.
There shouldn’t be too much between them again with marginal preference for Defi Du Seuil, but I’m not sure they have the stranglehold on the division that the market suggests.
Another reason for looking for a value alternative is that not only is the field likely to cut up, there is also a good chance that Defi Du Seuil could switch to Tuesday’s Racing Post Arkle Chase if the rain continues to fall.
Glen Forsa, Topofthegame, Kalashnikov and Delta Work all hold prominent positions in the market but have other primary targets, while Real Steel is short based on his connections rather than form.
Therefore, it may pay to snap up the 10/1 available about KILDISART, who won the novices’ handicap at the track last month.
A rating of just 147 leaves him a little to find in this company, but Ben Pauling’s seven-year-old appears to be progressing at a rate of knots and is worth a go in this company.
He appears to handle all kinds of grounds and is likely to start a lot shorter on the day in what could be a pretty small field.
A shuffling of the race order means that the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle is now the final race of the Festival in a week’s time and the race looks something of a minefield at this early stage.
The betting is headed by the Gordon Elliott-trained Dallas Des Pictons who has won his last two and looks a horse with a bright future.
Elliott won the race 12 months ago with Champagne Classic and has made no secret of the fact that this is one of the races he targets having learnt his trade under the watchful eye of Martin Pipe.
It would be no surprise to see Elliott win the race again, but I’m going to have a small wager on another less high-profile runner from the same stable.
CARTWRIGHT caught the eye when running on from the back over an inadequate two miles at Leopardstown last time and is another who looks to have been laid out for this.
He still looks to be lurking on a handy mark and makes for a decent each-way alternative to the favourite at around 16/1.
Kildisart e/w 10/1 JLT Novices’ Chase
Cartwright e/w 16/1 Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle