Author: Darren Moore
Published: 17:17 29/01/2016
The Freebets.Com Handicap Chase at 2.25pm on Saturday is a key Cheltenham trial for handicappers and horses with graded potential alike. The distance is an extended two miles four furlongs and it is the Philip Hobbs trained CHAMPAGNE WEST who currently heads the market at a top price of 10/3.
This talented eight-year-old is a bit of a course specialist having won here twice in the past and finished second on both of his other starts here. Last time out in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, Champagne West carried eleven stone and chased home a huge improver from the bottom of the weights in the shape of Village Vic. Arguably it was a career best run despite not getting the win and a repeat of it on Cheltenham Trials Day will see him play a big part in the finish to the Freebets.Com Handicap, which will be shown live on Channel 4 Racing.
Sixth in the Caspian Gold Cup but winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup ANNACOTTY also has good each-way claims for trainer Alan King. He will race here just 4lb higher than his winning mark at the Cheltenham Open Meeting and could bounce back to top form. The Venetia Williams trained TENOR NIVERNAIS hails from the same line of form as Champagne West and Annacotty and is another who is respected.
Rookie trainer Kerry Lee has been training big race winners left, right and centre since taking over the license from her father and her free-going chaser TOP GAMBLE is carrying top weight of 11st 12lb with Jamie Moore booked to ride. He was third behind Village Vic and Champagne West in the Caspian Gold Cup and is another could should run his race. It is always a tricky task to choose between these handicappers because more often than not they all have their day in the sun and finish in front or behind each other at any given time.
It will be interesting to see if Paul Henderson runs his ex-Willie Mullins trained UN BEAU ROMAN, who would be a real elephant in the room if allowed to take his chance. This eight-year-old completely lost his way in Ireland before joining Henderson, but the change of scenery done the horse good and he was an impressive, albeit surprise winner of a decent Kempton handicap earlier this month. Clearly on good terms with himself, he jumped and travelled powerfully that day and showed himself to be a well-handicapped horse. A 5lb rise for that effort gives him every chance of being involved next time out and he could prove to be a real dark horse in our very own Freebets.com Trophy Chase.
2.25pm Cheltenham - UN BEAU ROMAN, 1pt Each Way at 16/1 (17.00) Skybet
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