Ohio Gold Suited To Cheltenham Novice
35 minutes before the Channel 4 cameras showcase the Freebets.com Trophy live, there is something of a warm-up for the main event, as the novices’ handicap chase that precedes it is run over the same course and distance.
While it is always slightly galling that two horses you’ve earmarked for this race both appear in the declarations, when they flash up as 7/1 and 9/1 on the early show, then it is perfectly acceptable to back both, as it represents about 7/2 the pair. I do feel that somewhat downplays their respective chances and would price them up as nearer 5/1 joint favourites.
Both have standout course form, both strike me as being handicapped below their very best, and given there are weather warnings for heavy rain in the south-west tonight, both have soft/heavy ground course form.
Ohio Gold ran a cracker at Kempton on Boxing Day, just getting touched off as his tendency to jump slightly left ultimately cost him the race.
That won’t be an issue here and a reproduction of his third place run in last year’s novices’ handicap at the festival will see him go very well tomorrow. The handicapper only raised him 2lbs for Kempton, and trainer Colin Tizzard reckoned at the time that he was one of his better chances over the Christmas period. 7/1 looks on the big side to me.
Similarly, 9/1 looks too big about Renard D’Irlande (yes, him again), already advised twice by myself, once when winning at Uttoxeter and then when falling last time at Leicester.
Venetia Williams’ chaser was a gallant second to Vino Griego in this race last year, and is only 3lbs higher this time around. One of these days he will win in the manner of a very well handicapped horse under such conditions. He is well worth backing at 9/1 to make it two out of three for freebets.com readers.
It is a competitive race on paper but none appeal as much as Ohio Gold and Renard D’Irlande, and I would also recommend combining them in a reverse exacta with Totesport.
Ohio Gold – 7/1 (bet365)
Renard D’Irlande – 9/1 (Coral)
Reverse Exacta (Ohio Gold, Renard D’Irlande)