15:40 Cheltenham 19/03
Billaway is top of the market for this and has done little wrong, second in this last year to It came to pass, Billaway has been in excellent form again this year with two wins and a second in similar races in Ireland. It came to Pass has disappointed since with an unseat last time out and a remote fourth before that. That being said before winning this last year he was pulled up in a point to point. Between the two I would be more inclined to take the chance on It Came To Pass at 4 times the price.
Bob and Co is second favourite and for me will be my first selection in the race. He was a previous graded horse while running in France. On his first start for Paul Nicholls he was pulled up and the jockey reportedly was injured and couldn’t carry on. Next time out however he reverted to his previously good form winning by an impressive 99 lengths, followed by another victory in a similar contest. He then went out most recently winning by an impressive 17 lengths in a class 3 hunters chase. He arrives here in great form and at 5/1 I will take a win play as think he wins.
One at a bigger price who I’ll have a go on would be Salvatore for Melanie Rowley. An ultra consistent point to pointer who has won 11 of his 17 starts finishing second once and third 4 times. Since his debut he has not finished outside of the top three. On his recent hunter chase he beat Alcala by a couple of lengths, Alcala ran alright in this race last year and has decent form against Bob and Co where he was a length second to him. After that race Alcala has come out and won well in a similar event, franking the form. I managed to get 40/1 on him at the time of writing but it seems now 33/1 is generally best price. I am quite keen on this horse, where we have had a few big priced inners in recent years with 66/1, 25/1 and 16/1 in the last four years. The Rowleys are excellent PTP trainers and I think Salvatore is over priced so will play him each way at 33/1 best price now.
Salvatore 33/1 0.5pts each way
Bob and Co 5/1 1pt win