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The Cheltenham Festival kicks off in just over twenty-four hours, where we will finally hear the Cheltenham Roar we’ve been craving for 365 days. Although many races do feature some short-priced favourites, the handicaps are where the shocks tend to appear. With so many top class horses being aimed at certain races, odds tend to go straight out of the window at this level. We’ve gone through the handicaps and selected five horses who we believe will completely out-run their price. Please note that these horses won’t necessarily be our selections, we just believe they’ve been neglected in the market and should run a big race. Cheltenham is just over twenty-four hours away and you can view all our antepost previews and tips on our Cheltenham Festival tips section now!
Trained by Neil Mulholland, this lightly raced eight year old has only run three times over fences and remains with significant potential. He’s a point winner who has shaped as though a marathon test would be straight up his alley, keeping on well over three miles but lacking that final gear change. He’s completely unexposed and looks an enormous price given that his better days are firmly in the future. Sam Waley-Cohen is a great jockey booking and his experience will be crucial in a race such as this, so there are endless positives to recommend this son of Busy Flight on.
Nick Williams won this race twelve months ago with Flying Tiger and has a great chance with another French recruit. A winner on his British debut, Mercenaire followed up with a great effort behind We Have A Dream in Grade 1 company at Chepstow and although he was a shade disappointing at Exeter last time, he bumped into a smart horse. He makes his handicap debut off a fair mark and Williams’ string arrive at the Festival in great form, so there is a very big chance he’ll out-run his large odds.
The Champion Bumper is always a puzzle to solve and there have been big winners aplenty down the years. The price for The Big Bite is a huge surprise given what he’s achieved so far, impressive on debut when winning an all weather bumper with a smart turn of foot. His latest effort at Huntingdon was leaps and bounds above that run, winning with plenty in hand despite showing signs of inexperience late on. He’s clearly progressive and the booking of Noel Fehily is a huge plus, not least due to the fact he knows the horse from his debut win. He should have plenty more to offer and will almost certainly out-run his odds.
Another on the list from the Nick Williams’ stable, Le Rocher has only been defeated once over fences in four attempts. He was seeking a four-timer at Exeter on his latest start but nearly came down from the lead at two out, which ended all chance for him. He now makes his handicap debut in this sphere off a potentially very lenient mark, as he’s still lightly raced and completely unexposed over fences. The booking of Tom Scudamore is an obvious plus as he does so well in the Festival Handicaps and he’s likely to run a big race.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ nine year old has been unlucky not to add to his account since a course and distance victory in December, looking for his third victory at this venue. A thorough stayer, he was second in the Classic Chase three starts back and his latest run is best ignored as 2m 4f was never going to suit him. He’s on a very attractive mark on his best form and he won’t mind the softer ground; if anything it’ll be of great benefit to him at this distance. They’re likely to go off at a blistering pace and he’ll be staying on best of all late in the piece.