• Hands Heels

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

13:55 Cheltenham 18/03

It would take all day to write up each horse here with such a large field. Picking the winners in races like this is often a struggle, due to being targeted by a lot of trainers. Particularly when they try to do the bare minimum to get qualified and don’t necessarily try to win the qualifiers. Therefore I will discuss mainly my three selections for this race. I’ll be waiting until the day as I’m sure most bookies will go six or seven places.

First up we have the lightly raced Southfield Harvest at 16/1. Touted recently by Paul Nicholls who described him as his best handicapped horse. He is lightly raced and has never finished outside of the first three in his career. He was rated 135 and recently Nicholls chose to run in a handicap coming third and going up another three pounds to be rated 138. That should be enough to get him in the race and a horse who Nicholls thinks will end up rated 150+ as a chaser, should have an excellent chance here.

Anything Will Do is generally 33/1 here and when you consider he finished ahead of Koshari who is one of the favourites for the Coral Cup. Admittedly Koshari was ridden very tenderly, and Anything Will Do weakening that day. The stamina seemed to fade that day so the Cheltenham Hill may cause an issue but I think Joseph will be happy enough with that form and off of 136 if getting in he will be one of the lighter weights. It’s interesting that in the last five years four of the winners have qualified through the race in which AWD qualified in.

Honest Vic will be my final choice at 25/1. Having won a qualifier first time out this season on the back of a decent fifth in the Coral Cup last year, only six lengths behind Mares Hurdle fancy Dame De Compagnie, ahead of Bachasson, Coko Beach and Protektorat to name a few. After winning that race he stepped up to grade two company finishing fifth in the Long Distance Hurdle, behind Thyme Hill and Paisley Park and in front of Lisnagar Oscar who won last year Stayers Hurdle. This is some decent form and since that they’ve been keeping him unraced to protect that handicap mark. He recently ran in an all weather bumper over 2 miles 2, here he raced wide and was ridden throughout, that run out should have him back to fitness and primed for this. I think connections have been keen to protect his mark and should be bang there back up to 3 miles.

Spirit of the games will be my replacement pick here, 2nd in the Paddy Power gold cup last November he has since. He was also sixth at this meeting last year in the Plate. Upped to three miles and back over hurdles last time he was given an easy time of it running into second so no concerns over him staying for me. He was only upped 2 pounds for that and think his hurdle mark leaves a bit of wiggle room. At 20/1 I’ll be backing him each way!


Spirit of the games 20/1 0.5pts each way

Anything Will Do 40/1 0.5pts each way

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