Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 07:04 27/01/2016
With the likes of Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Djakadam and World Hurdle market leader Thistlecrack set to put their festival credentials on the line at Prestbury Park this Saturday Trials Day at Cheltenham may be more about quality than quantity but in the freebets.com Trophy Chase the extended two mile four furlong handicap looks sure to provide the main betting feature on the seven-race card following Monday’s five-day declaration stage for which there was a healthy entry of a possible 23 runners.
Despite holding an alternative entry in Doncaster’s feature race on the same afternoon, the Sky Bet Chase, last year’s winner Annacotty looks likely to attempt back-to-back victories in the race, especially following the eight-year-olds win in the valuable Paddy Power Gold Cup on the course last November.
The Beneficial gelding is now in the hands of new handler Alan King after owner Mrs Peter Prowting decided a change of scenery from the stable of Martin Keighley could help the horse recapture something like his best form - a decision which, while disappointing for his previous trainer, proved to be spot on.
Along with Annacotty, Irish Cavalier and Buywise hold entries in both contests with the former also a possible contender against Djakadam in the BetBright Gold Cup Trial while the latter is more likely to head to Town Moor with trainer Evan Williams stating: “ It depends on the ground but Buywise will probably run at Doncaster.
I think he has no chance of staying but the owner disagrees, so that’s why he’s likely to be running there.He’s also got an entry at Cheltenham but the plan is Doncaster. He’s been a bit unlucky, but this could be a bit far for him.”
With some uncertainty regarding running plans the majority of bookmakers are unwilling to price the race up at this stage with only Bet365, Skybet, Paddy Power and Stan James offering odds. All four firms are in agreement however with regards to the market leader, with the Philip Hobbs inmate Champagne West priced at between 3-1 and 7-2, the latter price available with Bet365 the Stoke-based outfit.
Venetia Williams is responsible for current 7-1 second favourite Tenor Nivernais who has to find a length with Champagne West after the pair finished second and third respectively behind Village Vic over the course and distance last December with both horses set to meet on identical terms this time.
It is no surprise that bookmakers expect to see the form confirmed however as Aidan Coleman’s mount enjoyed a fitness advantage on that occasion and will need to produce a career-best if he is to come out on top this time.
Possible top weight Top Gamble from the in-form stable of Kerry Lee is a standout 10-1 with Bet365, the same price as Irish Cavalier and doubtful runner Buywise, while 12-1 chance Generous Ransom looks well treated on last years form although Nick Gifford’s eight-year-old has been out of sorts so far this season.
The same remark applies to course specialist Johns Spirit ( 14-1 generally ) who will be running off a 12lb lower mark than when finishing a respectable fifth in the Ryanair Chase at last year’s festival.