Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:17 14/11/2014
Friday sees the opening day of Cheltenham's Open Meeting and the six-race card promises to be a cracker featuring the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, a high class entry for the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at 2.25 and three competitive handicaps.
Colour Squadron, Blaklion and Balthazar King should all take plenty of beating in the three non-handicaps but for a value bet it could be worth supporting last year's winner Anay Turge at the 12-1 available with Ladbrokes for the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at 1.50. The Nigel Hawke-trained nine-year-old will be racing off just a 2lb higher mark than when running out a comfortable two and three quarter length winner 12 months ago beating fellow rival Sew On Target who reopposes on 1lb worse terms.
After winning two hurdle races at Southwell earlier this year the grey son of Turgeon made little impact over the smaller obstacles in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before reverting back to fences when twelfth behind Parsnip Pete at Aintree's Grand National meeting. A never nearer seventh at Chepstow on his seasonal reappearance last month the mount of Jamie Moore looks to have been trained with a repeat bid in mind and off his lowest chase mark for a year should make a bold bid to record back-to-back victories.
With bookmakers going 8-1 the field there are many potential dangers headed by Barry Geraghty's mount Festive Affair ( 8-1 Ladbrokes ) who must have a big chance if fit enough on his first run of the season.