4.05pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 22/10/2016

Seven renewals of this race have seen just the one winning favourite so far and winners at odds up to 20/1 so punters beware! We have had a good long look and decided to start our race preview with the Philip Hobbs trained For Good Measure (8/1) who has more room to improve than most as a five-year-old, and with just the nine races over hurdles to his name. Last seen in May when a head second to Kelvingrove at Market Rasen when caught on the line he gets in here off just four pounds higher and with Richard Johnson in the saddle for his in-form stable he has a rock solid each-way chance at a decent price. Although he has won on and handles softer going he may well be even better on the surface he faces this afternoon, and off his current mark we just can’t resist and hope to end the day with yet another winner.

Popular hurdler Call The Cops (12/1) makes his return to action here and he is a class act at his best, but weighted accordingly. Nicky Henderson can tune them up first time when he wants to and the seven-year-old certainly has the form in the book to win this with a win in the Pertemps Final at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival his stand out effort, though last season was a write off with just the two runs when clearly something was amiss. Dropped two pounds for a poor seventeenth in the Coral Cup at the last Festival he is still high enough in the weights and has a bit to prove for the moment.

Staying near the top of the weights for now and Alan King’s The Tourard Man (16/1) who won four races in a row, the last three over fences before a thirty-four length fifth at Hereford after taking a bit of a bump from one of his rivals. Why they are considering a return to hurdles is beyond us as he is rated even higher this afternoon than he would be over fences, but jockey Kevin Dowling can take ten pounds off his back and that has to be a bonus, and at least we know he is fit and in excellent form for this afternoon’s assignment.

When Gordon Elliott sends one over from Ireland he always means business and Eshtiaal (8/1) has won his last two hurdle races at Cartmel. His flat exploits have been less inspiring but have kept him race fit which is his one advantage here. Anyone who suggests Cartmel form equates to Cheltenham needs to change hobby but his trainer thinks he is up to a shot at this and who are we to argue, though we can’t even start to claim that his price is any kind of value?

With Dickie on board our selection it appears that Golden Doyen (8/1) is the Philip Hobbs second string but he could still run well regardless and may even follow For Good Measure home. He won last time out at Newton Abbot (well, last time out over hurdles anyway) and is pretty decent though he does look as if he might fall a little short of the level required.

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