Coconut Splash backed to better Chantry House at Wetherby

There are plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues on offer this afternoon at Wetherby, and several with one-eye on the spring festivals having a final tune-up at the West Yorkshire track. Good Bob Bobby has been a weekly from Ed Quigley in Odds Watch’s ‘Antepost Armchair’ feature and has a spin over hurdles to hopefully set him up for a tilt at The Ultima Handicap Chase. The 8yo son of Flemensfirth should be at home in the conditions and has been backed into 11/4 from 5/1 for Daryl Jacob and Nigel Twiston-Davies.

All eyes will be on the following Novices’ Chase where the exciting Chantry House is odds-on to defy a penalty over two and a half miles. The expensive point-to-point recruit was third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last term and looked to have the world at his feet when making a winning chase debut at Ascot, however was soundly beaten when bidding to follow-up at Cheltenham in December. He may find it difficult to concede 6lb to Evans Williams’ Coconut Splash who has placed on both starts over the larger obstacles since sent over fences and is 6/5 from 7/4 to lower the colours’ of Nicky Henderson’s charge.

The best backed on the card is course specialist Commit Or Quit – how apt on this writer’s sixth anniversary – and now 3/1 from 8/1 for the 3m Handicap Chase. Charlie Mann’s 6yo is becoming something of a course and distance specialist, winning over C&D and an excellent runner-up here last time out in similar conditions. A 4lb rise should see him remain competitive in the handicap.

At Hereford, the ground is soft (heavy in places) and should prove hard work, particularly on the chase track. Those with proven form in the conditions have proven popular amongst punters, with Aimee de Sivola the best backed on the card and now 11/2 from 12/1 for the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle over an extended three miles. The 7yo gained some invaluable black-type in similar conditions last season at Doncaster and looks well-treated back in handicap company for Nick and Chester Williams.

Elsewhere, Saint Palais (1.55) has halved in price for the opening Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (12/1 from 25s) for rookie trainer Richard Bandey and there is interesting money around for Tim Vaughan’s Judex Lefou (4.35) who has trickled down the handicap and should go well on the back of a wind-op. The former Tom Mullins inmate is now 20/1 from 33s for the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles.

1.55 Saint Palais 14/1 from 25/1
4.05 Aimee de Sivola 11/2 from 12/1
4.35 Judex Lefou 20/1 from 33/1

1.05 Coconut Splash 6/5 from 7/4
2.40 Good Bob Bobby 11/4 from 5/1
3.12 Commit or Quit 3/1 from 8/1