Cheltenham Tip: Peregrine Run To Provide Victory For The Irish In Close Brothers Chase
Novices’ Handicap Chase Recommended Bet:
With a maximum field of 20 almost guaranteed the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, the last race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, is sure to prove a competitive affair. But with the weight range for the extended 2m 4f contest likely to be no more than 3lb or 4lb the term ‘ handicap ‘ has to be used very loosely with a horse’s rating unlikely to decide the outcome of the race for novices.
More important factors could be an inexperienced fencer’s ability to act and jump at the home of national hunt racing, whereas a dodgy round of jumping would probably decide a horse’s fate before the race begins in earnest. Movewiththetimes and Rather Be, two of the leading contenders, have the form to go close but neither have looked a natural over the bigger obstacles and may be caught out in a race that is sure to be run at a fierce pace.
Heading the market is the Gordon Elliott-trained De Plotting Shed who is rated 7lb higher over fences but the son of Beneficial has yet to win over fences in four attempts so at the 16-1 generally available it is another Irish runner who makes more appeal in the shape of the Peter Fahey inmate Peregrine Run. Winner of four of his twelve starts over hurdles, including a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham when beating Stayers’ Hurdle hope Wholestone, the eight-year-old promises to be even better at the chasing game having won three of his five outings to date.
With good to soft going quoted an odds on chance by bookmakers for the first day of the festival, conditions which should prove ideal for the King’s Theatre gelding, a big run looks guaranteed as the only time the horse has been beaten over fences is when soft ground has prevailed. Two easy wins at Wexford during the summer were followed by a below-par effort when third to Rathvinden in a Grade 3 contest at Galway in August on yielding ground.
Those two horses met again at Killarney later that month when the ground rode good and this time the mount of Roger Loughran gained his revenge, with Conrad Hastings splitting the pair. With five runs to his name as a chaser Peregrine Run will go into the race as one of the most experienced, has shown a decent aptitude for jumping and with course form to his name ticks a lot of boxes, making his current odds on the generous side.
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