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Ultima (Grade Three Handicap Chase)

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

14:30 Cheltenham 16/03


Eight of the last 12 winners of this race have been near the head of the market with only three of the winners being over 11/1. Escaria Ten is very fancied but 6/1 is very short price for this and I Imagine the handicapper won’t go easy on her based on her Irish form. I’m uncertain on Lieutenant Rocco who before the step up to 3 miles hand underwhelmed and might find a few too good here. One of my early fancies for this, Coko Beach, has now won themselves out of this and will likely go elsewhere to one of the novice races, possibly the national hunt chase. Remastered is worth a mention due to his flying form winning the Reynoldstown Chase and off 146 has a great chance here and worth a bet in my eyes. However, there are two at bigger odds who I will be backing on the day when extra places offers are out. I expect being the first day of the festival, and the first huge handicap, there will be some excellent extra place offers out to entice punters.

The first I am looking at is Full Back, if you ignore his last run when not travelling and having lost a shoe, has some excellent form prior to that, going off the same price for that race as the fancied for this, Remastered. He has been prone to jumping slightly left which won’t be too much of an issue at Cheltenham, but the fact that he only had three runs over hurdles before switching to chasing early tells me that the trainer was keen to try him over the larger obstacles and I expect his jumping to improve. With the Moore’s finding some form in recent weeks and with the Champion Hurdle straight after this I’d expect they will be keen for a good run to build confidence before Goshen time. I will gladly take the 33/1 on offer and hope that he can sneak a place at a big price. Off a rating of 140 Full Back is bang there, having won two novice chases earlier this year I fancy this horse to outrun his odds as long as he can improve his jumping from last time out, but I am willing to forgive that considering he had lost a shoe.

Beware The Bear was fourth in this in 2018 and went on to win it in 2019, the next race he pulled up and came back with a fourth in the 2019 Ladbrokes Trophy finishing less than a length behind 2020 winner of the Ultima, The Conditional, despite carrying a lot more weight. Since then he has ran three times, once being below his usual best before almost a year off the track. He made his return at Newbury in November where he was held up and stayed on into 5th, next time before Christmas he was again raced in the rear with the jockey advising he was never travelling, this has seen his handicap rating drop from 160 after he won this race in 2019, to 153 which is just over the 151 he won it off of. If fit and firing a horse with a good record in this race of his lowest weight in two years, I think is great value at 33’s. Especially with the extra places the bookies are bound to give on the first day of the festival!


Full Back and Beware The Bear are now non runners and Remastered may end up going to the National Hunt Chase, I'll have a second look at this race that day of with final thoughts/selections.


With these two non runners, I will have another stab here and like the look of Vintage Clouds for Sue Smith a beautiful grey who jumps a fence so well, he was 8th in this race last year off of 151 and travelled well but couldn't pick up and catch the leaders. He won the grade two Peter Marsh last year and always runs his race. This year he had two disappointing runs before Christmas, but came back from Wind Surgery in February with a third up in Kelso. He gets in here off 143 and will rate an excellent chance if coming on from the run last time out 33/1 is an insult. Now looks to be our only shot here but with a poor turn out is now half the price at 16/1!


Selections-

Remastered 1pt each way 12/1 NON RUNNER

Full Back 0.5pts each way 33/1 (on the day with extra places) NON RUNNER

Beware The Bear 0.5pts each way 33/1 (on the day with extra places) NON RUNNER

Vintage Clouds 33/1 0.5pts each way



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