26th Jan 2012 | Horse Racing
2:35 Cheltenham Argento Chase Grade 2 3m1f110y
The defection of Grands Crus might take some gloss off the race but there are still plenty of horses with Gold Cup pretentions.
Captain Chris was the Gold Cup choice of some shrewd punters after his third place in the King George. There are question marks whether he can stay the distance, especially on a stiff track. He is 10/3 with Coral.
Diamond Harry perhaps found the going too quick in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. His style of racing meant he was doing too much too soon and he paid the penalty for trying to match Kauto Star. He emerged from the race with credit and given a good break to get over his exploits he is a definite contender at 4/1 with Paddy Power.
Time For Rupert was highlighted as a lively outsider for the Gold Cup by our racing expert and he needs to put in a good performance to boost his credentials. He has a terrific record at Cheltenham and the cut in the ground will help his chances. He can be backed at 4/1 (William Hill).
There is good strength in depth to the race, making it a strong renewal. Midnight Chase (6/1 with Betfred) ran a cracker to lump top weight in soft ground at Wetherby, he can be seen to better effect off level weights on a sounder surface.
2:50 Doncaster Sky Bet Chase (Handicap) Cl1 3m
Hold On Julio was a blot on the handicap when running out a comfortable nine length winner at Sandown but his defection opens up the contest.
Shakalakaboomboom arrives on the back of a good handicap victory, this time at Cheltenham. A modest 4lbs rise in the weights leaves him competitive at 8/1 (BetVictor) in the betting.
Aiteen Thirtythree is the best backed horse in the race, only 13/2 (Sportingbet), having been 8/1 earlier in the morning.
3:40 Cheltenham Cleeve Hurdle Grade 2 3m
Another chapter in the Big Buck’s legend looks set to be written as the bookmakers offer a meagre 2/7 (Betfred) on a 15th consecutive victory. Four of those vanquished in the Long Walk Hurdle return for more, with Five Dream 33/1 (BetVictor) to turn an 8 length defeat into a surprise victory.
According to the betting Mourad is the nearest challenger. Third in last year’s World Hurdle, he got close to Big Buck’s and is 15/2 (Stan James) to exact his revenge.
It is hard to oppose Big Buck’s but there is no value in his price. Restless Harry made the frame at Ascot and would have been even closer but for chasing the scorching pace set by Dynaste. Ridden with a little more restraint he could get close and land a minor placing at 40/1 with BetVictor.