3.45pm Cheltenham tips for Saturday’s Class 2 race. Qualifier for the staying handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, this is just as competitive as the rest of the series. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: TEMPESTATEFLORESCO bolted up from this mark in a handicap chase at Uttoxeter over the summer. He is yet to run at this trip over hurdles, looking open to improvement at this game from what he has already shown to be a winnable mark. Thomas Campbell should be better his season now that he has had another summer on his back to strengthen up, the step up in trip should suit. Stick To The Plan is the lightest raced of these, looking open to plenty of improvement, while Holly Bush Henry may not be done winning yet.
1 THE TOURARD MAN – Veteran had a renaissance last year, winning five times. He kicked off this season with a further success but that has taken him to a career high mark at the age of eleven so he needs another step forward.
2 WHATAKNIGHT – A little in and out over hurdles in the last year, he has twice placed from a pound higher in his four latest starts. That suggests that he has at least an each way chance if on a going day.
3 DELL’ ARCA – Won over about this trip last season at Ascot, though his best form has been at two and a half. He has a tongue strap back on now, having worn it just once in 2014, when last. Easy enough to oppose once his mark heads into the 140’s.
4 THOMAS CAMPBELL – Ran well in a number of big field handicaps in the spring, picking them off from the back over shorter, looking as if a step up to this trip this season would help. Ground suits, capable of better now racing over three miles.
5 TEMPESTATEFLORESCO – Sluiced up in a Listed chase from this mark in July. Winner of two of his three hurdle starts over shorter than ideal, this step up in trip is perfect for him as is good ground. Looks well treated and far too big a price, cracking each way play.
6 CONNETABLE – Showed little over hurdles last season, he was comfortably beaten on his seasonal return. Best form has all come with cut in the ground so easy to pass over on this surface over a trip he is yet to prove he stays.
7 ITS’AFREEBEE – Smart novice, he was third in the Neptune of 2016. Never given the impression that three miles is what he wants, so despite the ground to suit, he is best watched on his first try at this trip under rules.
8 HOLLY BUSH HENRY – Given a new lease of life since stepping up to three miles over hurdles. He won off this mark in the past at shorter, so despite the rise in the weights for his revival, he is still well treated on his very best form, each way player.
9 SOLTICE STAR – Bold front runner, all his wins have come on significantly softer ground than he is going to get here. Yet to win beyond two and a half, this trip not producing any improvement last season, so needs considerably more.
10 SOLATENTIF – Winless since June 2015, he has shown consistent form of late, without looking like a horse soon to be winning. Looks handicapped to the hilt, would be a surprise winner.
11 BUCKING THE TREND – Not seen since winning at Uttoxeter last October. Seven pounds higher now, he is going to have to be right at the top of his game to win such a competitive race, but he boasts an excellent record when fresh.
12 ROLLING MAUL – Enjoyed himself on the flat over the summer, scoring three times. He is still seven pounds higher than when last winning over hurdles in June 2016, the weight is likely to anchor him once more.
13 JOHANOS – Impressed with a pair of wins in March, both on heavy ground. Potentially a smart recruit for the Nigel Hawke team but would appeal more next time out with a little more cut in the ground.
14 ANTEROS – Tough to catch right, he won a similar contest here last November when fitted with first time cheekpieces. Most of his best form has come with more cut in the ground so easy enough to pass over.
15 QUARENTA – Eleven pounds higher than when picked up on the run-in over a shade shy of three miles at Worcester. Improved for the step down in trip last time, this is going to stretch his stamina to breaking point.
16 LUCCOMBE DOWN – Progressed well last summer, looking as if the handicapper has caught up with him since. A little under three lengths behind Holly Bush Henry last time suggests an each way squeak but likely to find a few too strong.
17 NACHI FALLS – Showed ability in novice chases already this season, looking to take advantage of a lower hurdling mark. Quick ground suits well but this is a considerably deeper level than he normally operates at.
18 MILROW – Wins have all come over two miles, the last of which came in a seller. Tough to think he has the ability to trouble the principals on this occasion.
19 STICK TO THE PLAN – Made a smart start to his handicapping career when beating a solid yardstick in Druid’s Folly. Would have won on his three mile debut last time but for a run-in mishap. Unexposed and looks capable of being better still, solid chance.