• Hands Heels

Kim Muir

For me this is always a difficult race to get a handle of, the first 24 (maximum number of runners for this race) in the betting are all rated between 139 and 145 (the maximum allowed rating). Just 6lbs separating top and bottom weight, this compressed handicap can make it really difficult finding those that are well handicapped or potentially ahead of their marks.

As a result I‘ve just got the one selection for this race, Janika at 25/1. I had actually backed him in a few Ante Post bets for both the Plate and the Ultima, but this is the only race he has an entry for. At the start of this season I would have given him 0 chance of being able to run in this race, having been rated nearly a stone higher than the maximum rating for this race. He has been dropped from a mark of 158 all the way down to just 143, when you consider that just over two years ago he was a 166 rated chaser that went off just 9/2 for a Tingle Creek, there's reason to believe he's becoming well handicapped. The handicapper has been more than fair as his penultimate run he actually ran a decent 7th of 16 in the New Years‘ Day chase, finishing ahead of course specialist, Coole Cody and Funambole Sivola. He wasn’t hard pressed that day and I’m convinced ridden with this in mind. The extra trip could suit him now as he‘s looked a little outpaced at times this year. He was a strong travelling 5th in last years Coral Cup, taking his Cheltenham record to 22457, previously running a good second in the Plate and the fourth coming in the grade two Relkeel Hurdle. I think there's a class angle to be had backing him and he is a huge chance here.

No Ante Post selections on the race for me, as there's always the danger of horse's being rated too highly to get into this race. In fact, one of the earlier horses on my shortlist for the race was Flouer, but he was put up to 146 and therefore doesn't get.


Janika - 25/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (NRNB)

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