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Not long now until our own version of Christmas gets underway. Yes, the 2016 Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday, and I’ll be glued to my television screens from the The Morning Line until the end of the last race on Friday. I can’t wait, and I’m sure you can’t either. And what is the big news? Well, it’s definitely Annie Power finally being supplemented for the Champion Hurdle. After her hard-luck story in the Mares’ Hurdle last year, where she fell at the last, with a commanding lead, can she step up to take the biggest 2m hurdle prize in the sport? Well, I’ll let you know what I think during the week. And like I said last week, the even better news is that we’ve more or less made it to the Cheltenham Festival without any more major withdrawals from the top races. We can’t ask for better than that after a tumultuous start to 2016.
Last week wasn’t great, we hit the bar a few times, and we ended up with a loss of -8 units. So that takes the free horse racing tips to a loss os -0.89 units. So we’re basically back to where we started, which is frustrating, but we’re in this for the long-haul, aren’t we?
Tnow, the last live racing on Channel Four before the Cheltenham Festival, and we have a decent card from Sandown, and we head back to the all-weather with a meeting from Wolverhamtpon to get you in the mood for the flat racing before that kicks off again on the turf shortly. And before the free horse racing tips for the live races on Channel Four, I’ll just mention our favourite bookie in the Sports Betting Tips offices. Over at Bet365, they will give you the best price on every horse race shown live on Channel Four if you back it from 10am on the day of the race. That means you should wait until 10am Saturday and get the best price, as they will match their competitors. What could be better than best prices? Well, if you back a winner at 4/1 or more at Bet365 on any of the Channel Four races, you get a free bet that matches your stake on the winner for the next Channel Four race.
The first race of the day, it’s a Grade 3 hurdle race over 2 miles 3 furlongs, and it’s a tricky race to start the day on Channel Four Racing, as we have a field of 18 runners going to the post. With the ground at Sandown looking to be on the heavy side, this is going to be a real test of stamina for this classy field.
This looks a good opportunity for the classy Potters Legend here, but the big worry here is the top weight in this ground. He’ll love the trip, he won’t mind the ground, but I just think there could be a couple of unexposed sorts that are going to be better weighted than this classy sort.
Will O’ The West is another one with good form, and has beaten some of this field in previous outings, but the trip might just be a bit of a test, so we’ll give him a bit of a miss.
Instead, we’ll look a bit further down the handicap and take a shot with Robin of Locksley who will definitely relish this trip and ground combination, and will see it out. He’s well weighted and itlooks a good change to keep the good run going.
The first race from Wolverhampton on Channel Four is a 1 mile handicap, with a large field of 13 going to post for this. Being a class 2, we’ve got a decent field, with many of the runners having good chances in this race.
Solar Deity, the top weight, doesn’t look great at the weights, and looks like he’ll need to come down a bit further before having a chance in a field like this.
Si Senor looks to be in fine form, but is still creeping up the weights and this is a bit of a step in class, with him only getting his head in front once this year. While there are a few positives, the step up in class is just a bit of a concern.
For me, this looks to be between Intrude and Supersta. Intrude gets the nod purely based on his form at this track, which is always a big plus on the all-weather.
Next up over the jumps, we have a 3 mile handicap chase, and again, due to the ground, this will be a real test of stamina for the field of nine.
Benenden appreciated the step up in trip last time out, and won comfortably. However, he’s gone up 10lbs for that win, and it might just be enough to catch him out.
Dawson City is a bit of an enigma, and although should be fighting for place money, the inconsistency is just too much to back him with any real conviction.
Instead, we’ll go with the classy Seebright, who was going well enough when blundering a few times last time out. That was only his second run of the season, and he’s had success over this trip on testing ground in the past, so we know he’ll see the trip out, as long as his jumping stands the test.
We’ve got a Listed Stakes race over 7 furlongs next from Wolverhampton.
Kellini has been running in big races, and this is a step down in class for him, but it looks like this is a bit sharp a trip for him, perhaps needing just a bit of a longer trip. Last time he ran in Wolverhampton, he did win, but it was over 1 mile 4 furlongs.
Instead, Sovereign Debt is the preferred choice. A Group 3 winner, and the winner of this race last year, he’s in a strong position to go back-to-back. With course and distance form, and a strong end to the flat racing season, there’s little reason not to go for him.
Realize has good form on the all-weather, but this is a huge step up in class for him, and he’s coming up against the classier horses than he’s ever faced. While Mister Universe has one win from one race on the all-weather, albeit in Lingfield, but again it was in slightly poorer opposition than he’s facing now. So stick with the classy sort in the field, and hopefully reap the rewards.
15 runners going to post for the Imperial Cup Handicap over 2 miles, and the handicap is seriously skewed here, as the classy Ravyin Black is giving at least one stone to the rest of the field, and it’s actually a decent field, so giving that much weight away could be a slight problem for this classy sort.
Yes, Rayvin Black has been looking great in better races here, but a stone is just too much to give a way to a field full of good-looking sorts.
Something clicked during the summer break for Solstice Star, who now has five wins on the bounce, and will be looking to get another one under his belt, with Killian Moore taking 3lbs off his back. However, this is a big ask, and the run will end once the handicapper has caught up with him, and today could be that day.
We’re going to go right to the bottom of the handicap and take Clayton as our selection. He won on his handicap debut, he’s unexposed, and hasn’t gone up in the weights for his win last time out. Joshua Moore gets the job on-board, and he should be a fair enough price.
Last up, we got a Mares’ bumper, which are always tough races to work out.
The long and short of it is, Copper Kay is the solid pick here, after winning a Group 1 at Cheltenham. Yes, there’s a 4lb penalty on her back, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The Nipper might cause her some trouble, and if Tearsofclewbay can handle the step up in trip, Conor Smith’s allowance might get her to the front, but in races like this, we have to go for the classy horse in the race, which is Philip Hobbs’ number one charge, Copper Kay.