3.00pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 13/04/2016

IN SUMMARY: The case for Might Bite is obvious, given he’s unbeaten over hurdles and won a big-field Kempton handicap in good style last month. However, this might go to his stablemate, BEAR’S AFFAIR (33/1 Each Way), who hasn’t shown his best form since returning from a break in the autumn but was probably unsuited by soft ground here two starts ago and can hardly be blamed for his mishap over fences last month. He’s been dropped to an attractive mark in the meantime and will be tough to beat if back on song. Others to consider are Double W’s, who ran very well over 2m here in November and is open to progress over this sort of trip, and Drumlee Sunset, who makes his handicap debut after a comfortable win in novice company. Zarib has contested some hot races this season and could also have a say, but his stamina for today’s trip needs to be taken on trust.

1 Might Bite – Lightly raced 7yo who made jumping errors and was a bit disappointing on seasonal/chase debut here in November but was comfortable winner of big-field handicap hurdle when back in action at Kempton (2m5f, good) last month; 10lb higher here but is an obvious one for the shortlist.

2 Bear’s Affair – Back from break with two moderate hurdle runs in late 2015 and was brought down in a chase at the festival last here last month; needs to get back on track but is now 11lb lower than when a very respectable seventh in the 2015 Coral Cup here; worth a second look.

3 Laurium – Won twice in novice company last spring and bettered that form when runner-up here (2m5f, good) after break in October; has unseated rider in first two handicaps, the more recent at the festival here last month, but remains lightly raced.

4 Kayf Blanco – Failed to convince stamina-wise when upped to 2m4f at start of this season but has generally done well at around 2m since then and was making late headway when seventh in the County Hurdle at last month’s festival; still needs to prove he’s effective over this sort of trip, though.

5 Matorico – Form of fourth at Kempton (2m5f, good to soft) on Boxing Day looks solid and he may not have been suited by heavy ground when down the field in Betfair Hurdle at Newbury (2m; wore blinkers) in February; never dangerous in the Martin Pipe here (2m4f; wore cheekpieces) last month, though.

6 Zarib – Beaten under 7l when keeping-on sixth in The Ladbroke at Ascot (2m, good to soft) in December and conditions were probably too testing for him when well beaten in the Betfair Hurdle on latest outing; stamina not assured over today’s longer trip; wore cheekpieces last time but doesn’t today.

7 Drumlee Sunset – Didn’t need to improve to gain comfortable win in novice company at Warwick (2m, good) last month, his fifth start over hurdles; makes handicap debut in a competitive event but his impressive Irish point win in 2014 suggests he coud have more to offer now back up in trip.

8 Vivant Poeme – Absent since runner-up in two good-quality handicaps last summer, the more recent at Newton Abbot (2m5f, good to soft); only 1lb higher today but tends not to find much for pressure and the uphill finish here may not show him in his best light.

9 Theo’s Charm – Seventh in 2015 Champion Bumper here and created good impression when bagging pair of 2m Plumpton novice hurdles this winter; found things tougher when fifth on handicap debut at Ascot (2m3f, soft) in January, but that came in a warm race.

10 The Gipper – Has won three of his four starts in novice company and was in front at the final flight when falling on the other occasion; likely to find this contest much more demanding but pedigree suggests today’s trip will suit, and we don’t yet know the limit of his ability.

11 Kerisper – Made chance-ending blunder when beaten out of sight in a handicap two starts ago but quickly bounced back with front-running success in Ffos Las maiden (2m4f, good to soft) last month; probably needs something extra to follow-up here but won’t fail through a lack of stamina.

12 Hedley Lamarr – Rather workmanlike when winning 2m Warwick novice hurdle at short odds 13 months ago and hasn’t looked particularly well treated in his two handicaps this season; may not have been suited by heavy ground when third at Leicester in December, though, and is far from exposed.

13 Double W’s – Ran very well when placed in a 2m handicap here in November and opened account back in novice company at Haydock (2m, good) last month; unlucky not to win over 2m3f two starts ago and remains unexposed over this sort of trip; one to consider.

14 Masterplan – Just held on to make all the running at Ascot (2m5f, soft) in December but went up 8lb for that and has weakened out of contention on both subsequent outings; comes here with a lot more to prove than some of these.

15 Quinlandio – Displayed clear promise in novice company for Brendan Powell last season, including when winning 2m Towcester maiden, but makes stable/handicap debut after 426 days absence; could be considered for a race this competitive only if attracting some market support.

16 Muhtaris – Two wins this year, the first on Fibresand and the more recent when coming from behind under confident ride back over hurdles at Newbury (2m4f, soft) last month; 6lb higher in a stronger race here but evidently in good nick.

17 Millanisi Boy – Came good in novice company at Chepstow (2m3f, heavy) in January and probably found 3m on heavy ground too taxing on next outing, but was tailed off at Exeter yesterday and it will take a leap of faith to support him if he turns up here.

myracing Forecast Prices: 4/1 Might Bite, 7/1 Drumlee Sunset, 10/1 Zarib, Vivant Poeme, Double W’s, 12/1 Kayf Blanco, Theo’s Charm, The Gipper, 14/1 Laurium, Kerisper, Hedley Lamarr, 16/1 Bear’s Affair, 16/1 Matorico, 20/1 Muhtaris, 25/1 Quinlandio, Millanisi Boy, 33/1 Masterplan

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