The Open Meeting at Cheltenham has arrived which can only mean one thing – the return of the Paddy Power Blog’s famous fool-proof accumulator-winning (hopefully) Venn diagrams. We’ve gone through the four C4 races on Friday and crunched the numbers for each horses current form, form on the ground, and whether the gee-gee is improving or not. Anything that lands plum in the middle of the bullseye we fancy could be worth considering, while anything dropping outside all three categories might deserve a swerve.
The opening race on terrestrial TV is a punting minefield, but we’ve narrowed down the 20-runner field to just four who hit our three key trends. De Faoithesdream, Ut Majeur Aulmes and Rio De Sivola all deserve consideration, however if we’re going out on a whim, our few quid is on Robin’s Command.
The Rose Dobbin-trained seven-year-old hasn’t been out of the top two in his last nine races, winning six of them. He has four wins over this distance and acts on good-to-soft ground, as well as improving up through the grades, winning a Class 4 in September and a Class 3 in October. This is another step up in quality but at a big price we think Robin’s Command can make the frame.
A red hot contest which is emphasised by five of the seven runners landing bang in the middle of our chart. Colour Squadron has finished second five times in eight attempts chasing without a victory and could be the bridesmaid again here. Champagne West and Dell’ Arca are exciting prospects on their chase debuts but it might be worth going with Splash of Ginge.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ mount has a win at the course which could give him the edge after convincingly beating Ainsi Fideles here last month. That win at the course was the same ground and distance he’ll face tomorrow, and although it’s a race packed full of quality, he’s got every chance of making the frame.
The Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle is another spicy affair, with three of the seven runners landing plum in the middle once again. Minella Present, Champagne Present and Blaklion are all worth consideration in what is another tricky contest for Cheltenham punters.
However we’re going for Neil Mulholland’s Minella Present to bring home the bacon. The five-year-old has two wins from two hurdle races and is getting 3lb from Blaklion who is unbeaten under rules. He’s an improving sort who has a win on good-to-soft ground, and he’ll be carrying our hopes, dreams and a few quid on Friday afternoon.
The final race on C4 is everybody’s favourite Cross Country race. Balthazar King won this race at the Cheltenham Festival in March, beating Any Currency by a short head. he hopped over to France in September to win the Crystal Cup so his form isn’t in doubt, and although a skinny price, he can win thie renewal after finishing second last year.
Most of these will unsurprisingly act on the good ground, but none of them can boast of consistent form, unlike Balthazar King who has won five of his last seven races. Here’s hoping he can justify favoritism and clinch our Lucky 15!
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