Author: Will Smith
Cheltenham Festival 2016
Published: 12:04 15/03/2013
I’ve been pouring over the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase for hours this morning, and it seems that with some pouring of another kind – 4-5mms of rainfall is due to fall between midday and the off time of 5.15 – there are two bets I’d like to put up.
The first, predictably, is a Nicky Henderson trained animal, but according to the market is just fourth in that stable’s pecking order. At 18/1 with Skybet, Petit Robin has an outstanding chance. Returned to the track this year he has run some crackers in all the big handicap hurdles, and crucially with plenty of cut in the ground.
He seems in the same kind of form as when chasing the likes of Master Minded home in all the prestigious 2m chases a couple of years ago. That combination of class, handling cut in the ground, big field experience, and a liking for Cheltenham – when all merged together gives an appealing blend.
Nico De Boinville knows his 2m chasers, as he is regular work rider for Sprinter Sacre, and he has forged a great partnership with Petit Robin this year. He is full value for his 5lb claim.
The other that I can’t resist safe in the knowledge that there will be some cut in the ground, is Tom George’s Rody. A trainer of George’s calibre is long overdue a Cheltenham festival winner and he may just crack that in the final race of the week.
An altered training regime has resulted in Rody overcoming the ailments that were once prevalent, and he has blossomed this season on soft ground. All three runs in December and January have been littered with collateral form of exceptional quality. A mark of 140 could still be underplaying how much this chaser is currently flourishing. 10/1 is there if you search hard enough.
Petit Robin – 18/1 (Skybet)
Rody – 10/1 (BetVictor)