2.25pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 30/01/2016

2.25pm Cheltenham Saturday 30th January

Free Tip: Champagne West at 9/4

Race Details

Race Time: 2.25pm Meeting: Cheltenham Day: Saturday 30th January 2016 Full Race Namefreebets.com Trophy Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) Class One

Betting Preview

Just the two winning favourites in the last ten years proves that this is not as easy to solve as some may think, but with no double figure prices either, the suggestion is that every winner has been on the fancied list at the very least. Trainer Philip Hobbs has taken this race twice in the last five years with Wishfull Thinking (twice), but it looks like he will be relying on Champagne West (9/4) in 2016 and we think he has an excellent chance. After a superb novice chase career that included two wins here over two miles five furlongs and a second to Ptit Zig he fell at Sandown when going as well as any but he wasn’t seen from January 2015 through to last December when he ran an absolute blinder on his long awaited comeback. Sent off an 8/1 shot in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, he had to give a stone to stable companion Village Vic and only went down by four and a half lengths at the line, and as he seems sure to strip fitter here he looks to have every chance of a success before he heads off to the Cheltenham Festival.

Alan King is a trainer who always seems to have a plan, and in Annacotty (8/1) he has a horse who clearly loves it round this track with a record of two wins and a second pace that include this race last year off of a rating seven pounds lower than he has to carry in 2016. He reappeared in the Paddy Power Gold Cup here where he beat Buywise half a length, and looked all set for a great season, yet ran a stinker to finish sixth to Village Vic when last seen, beaten twenty-three lengths at the line. Although we can’t explain that effort, we do believe that was not his true running (we all have off days), and given plenty of time to recover he could well be back to his best today, though whether he can win this from his higher rating is open to question.

As we all know the Venetia Williams horses invariably look a picture pre race and in Tenor Nivernais (6/1) they have a consistent gelding who could make it in to the places if the race pans out as they want. After winning a little too easily at Ascot in November the handicapper put him up a massive twelve pounds, after which he was third to Village Vic here and then second to the same beast on New Year’s Day but then again the winner is very highly regarded and that is still decent form. Winning here would be a career best by some margin, especially once the handicapper has punished him again for his places, but he is consistent and could well be an each way option (once we see the prices).

With the Rebecca Curtis yard back in some semblance of quality form, it might be unwise to write off Irish Cavalier (13/2) too easily and even a repeat of his fifth to Cue Card in the King George on Boxing Day would see him there or thereabouts this afternoon. He clearly found the three miles that day too far for his stamina and weakened from half a mile out, but dropped back in trip again today and off a mark two pounds lower he could have a squeak of a chance and may well find more behind him than in front of him as he goes over the line.

In some parts of the press they seem to be trying to write the epitaph to the training career of Paul Nicholls but we know better, and although he may not have his strongest hand this season, these things happen, and he will be back stronger than ever. He had two entered here but has decided that he will rely on Salubrious (9/1) which came as a bit of a surprise. After over a year off he returned in November with a win at Carlisle but had a tough race (he won by a neck) and may well have “bounced” next time out at Ascot when only sixth to Wakanda so he had excuses. Fourth at the same track net tie, it, he looked to be gong well enough but failed to find much when asked to close, but they fit blinkers for the first time today, which may well work and help him to concentrate when he needs it most.  Put down a couple of pounds for his last effort, he has own off of four pounds higher so cannot be simply written off, though we suspect Sam Twiston-Davies will earn every penny of his riding fee if he can get this one home in front this afternoon.

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