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2.25pm Cheltenham tips for Friday’s Class 2 race. Although only a field of four go to post, one of the stars of last season is on show and should be far more competitive than the market suggests. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: Finian’s Oscar was one of the stars of the last season and he gained a facile success on chasing debut at Chepstow despite jumping poorly in the opening stages. The fences at Cheltenham are far less forgiving though and he faces a much bigger test here against MOVEWITHTHETIMES, who posted a career best when second in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. He shaped with promise on chasing debut despite racing over an inadequate trip and now that he’s finally upped in distance, he can improve sufficiently to take this contest for Paul Nicholls.
1 FINIAN’S OSCAR – One of the stars of the Novice Hurdling division last season for Colin Tizzard, winning the Grade 1 Mersey Hurdle at Aintree in April. He returned over fences this season with an easy win at Chepstow, jumping poorly in the early stages before warming to the task. These fences won’t be as forgiving early on though and at the prices, he’s one to take on today.
2 COO STAR SIVOLA – Finished third in the 2016 Fred Winter for Nick Williams but he was readily outpaced at Chepstow on his chasing debut, now dropped back in trip. That should suit but he has plenty to find on the ratings and shouldn’t be good enough today.
3 MOVEWITHTHETIMES – Lightly raced six year old for Paul Nicholls who produced a career best to finish second in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. He shaped with promise on chasing debut over an inadequate trip, now finally being upped to the 2m 4f distance. That will spark sizeable improvement and see him very tough to beat here.
4 WILLIAM HENRY – Translated his good bumper into some useful performances over hurdles, including a course and distance second in a Grade 2 back in January. He then gained a course and distance victory when last seen but now faces a much tougher test on chasing debut. Likely to be useful in time as he has the scope to make a chaser, but others are preferred today.