A very wet day at Cheltenham yesterday saw Splash Of Ginge triumph in the BetVictor Gold Cup, after I pointed out in my article “If the rain comes he should go well at a huge price”. The rain certainly came for the horse and with the ground now Soft, Heavy in places it’s going to be very testing today. The feature is the Greatwood Hurdle 2017, run over an extended 2m. The market leader is the very well backed Jenkins. Jenkins didn’t live up to Nicky Henderson’s expectations last season and he said, “I hope we’ll see a diﬀerent Jenkins to the one we saw last seasons. Hopefully he can jump now. At Kempton his jumping was diabolical and even I could of won the race he won at Ffos Las. I don’t think he has run to 137 but, equally, he’s always has great potential. David Bass is also a great believer in Jenkins’ ability and has been working very hard to get his weight down to a very low 10st.” David Bass said, “I think the last time I did 10st was about six years ago. I’ve basically just been eating healthily with plenty of ﬁsh and protein, plus exercising. Paul (owner of Jenkins) sent me a box of SlimFast biscuits as well. They’re actually quite nice. I really wanted to ride him, based on what he’s shown us at home he has a great chance but he has to go and prove he can do it on the track.”
I believe Jenkins does have a good chance in this race but I am not a great believer in following hype. Based on what this horse has shown us over the course of last season he needs to improve a considerable amount and does not represent value at 5/1 for me today although if the hype is right he should be bang there at the ﬁnish as soft ground and the trip should suit him.
London Prize is turned out quickly after a demolition job over Lough Derg Spirit recently in the Elite Hurdle. You always have to be wary about horses who are returning so quickly but I’m sure he wouldn’t be running unless he was 100%. Soft ground obviously suits very well as shown last time and he must have a good chance but does need another step up to take this in my opinion.
Mohaayed hasn’t had many runs over hurdles but has quickly developed into a useful sort. Dan Skelton won this race last year with North Hill Harvey who runs in the Arkle Trial today, so he knows how to win this race. With a nice racing weight and still fairly unexposed he could easily have more to oﬀer although a mark of 137 could be tough.
Misterton needs to improve plenty up 7lb for a win in a class 2 at Chepstow, and I think he will struggle in this. Elgin who was 4th that day on his ﬁrst run of the season has gone on to win nicely at Ascot but again up 5lb he has to improve if he’s going to win this.
The Irish don’t have a very good record in this race with one win in the last 15 years and I can’t see Tigris River winning today.
Neitzsche could go well of a very low weight with the talented James Bowen up. Third in the Fred Winter last year he has had two runs on the ﬂat to put him right for this and I think he has a good chance today.
The New One is a gallant old boy who will try and try all the way to the line. If you’re backing him today you know you’re going to get a good run for your money but under top weight he may struggle to win this but could easily grab a place money today.
Old Guard the 2015 winner is a tasty e/w price here with the inform Bryony Frost aboard taking oﬀ 5lb he surely has a huge chance today and is a lover of soft ground.
William H Bonney likes soft ground but needs more improvement if he is to score today.
Chesterﬁeld won the Scottish Champion Hurdle very nicely beating Mohaayed who is just 6/1 today and Chesterﬁeld is 25/1, soft ground will pose no issues and if ﬁt enough is going to be right there in a wide open Greatwood.
It’s a wide open race, if the hype is right about Jenkins he should be involved in a pulsating ﬁnish but I am taking my chance with Chesterﬁeld and Old Guard, both are huge prices considering their achievements last season.
Cheltenham 3:00 – Old Guard 20/1 e/w
Cheltenham 3:00 – Chesterﬁeld 25/1 e/w
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