The Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival 2018
An ever intriguing renewal of the Pertemps and one in which my views have changed considerably as the likely field becomes more clear. Gordon Elliot’s Glenloe has clearly been laid out for this race and has a favourites chance for sure as some of his form has worked out extremely well. In particular his Naas run in November when sandwiched between Oscar Knight and Diamond Cauchois looks solid as they have been put up a combined 34lbs since. He hasn’t been lost in the market however as he is currently favourite for the race. A slight concern for me with him would be his strike rate. When all is said and done he has one win from 8 starts over hurdles and whilst he could be a few pounds well in, his only success over hurdles came in a maiden hurdle at Navan where he won by a neck. He travels very well through his races but doesn’t seem to find a great deal for pressure, albeit some of that in his most recent runs may have been as a result of his jockeys lack of desire to run to his very best form with this race in mind. His breeding is absolutely perfect for this race and you have to respect his form and his connections. He looks certain to run a solid race.
Preference however at the prices is for Denis Cullen’s A Great View. He ran a massive race at Leopardstown over Christmas when narrowly beaten by Mine Now. He came from the clouds to get involved and the manner of that performance suggested that a very strongly run race at Cheltenham will be right up his street. His pedigree is full of stamina and everything he has done on the racecourse supports the fact that he stays very well. He finished fifth last time out under Barry Geraghty when given too much to do and Barry was very easy on him during the final half mile, making very little attempt to close on the breakaway leaders. It looked a pretty cynical ride to me and having not had a hard race he has had the ideal preparation to leave everything behind at Prestbury Park. This race looks ideally suited to him and a sounder surface may also bring about further improvement. With a nice weight he looks a serious contender, particularly given he had Glenloe over 7 lengths behind him at Leopardstown (now 5lbs worse off with him) and he saw out that race far better. If he can stay in touch turning for home I can see him coming with a storming run up the Cheltenham hill.
2pts E/W – A GREAT VIEW @ 25/1 (Betfair)