“He’s improved beyond all recognition” – 20-1 for the Grand Annual may disappear

Southwell Racecourse

The handicaps are the Cheltenham Festival are a notoriously difficult puzzle to solve. They’re fiercely competitive and feature an endless amount of horses with seemingly excellent claims. With that in mind, when a trainer finds the “perfect type of race” for their Cheltenham Festival handicap hopeful, it’s wise to take head.

For Dan Skelton, he believes he’s done just that. Now run on day two, the Grand Annual could be just the ticket for this well-handicapped improver. We’ll have horse racing tips for all four days of the Festival, including those aforementioned puzzles, but find out which horse Skelton has highlighted below.

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Golden Opportunity

The aforementioned horse is Amoola Gold, who has enjoyed a fantastic season. He opened up his campaign with a pair of wins at Wetherby and Ascot, before narrow defeats to a pair of smart horses in First Flow and Sky Pirate. There’s certainly no disgrace in those defeats, going down by a neck and two lengths respectively.

Speaking to At The Races about Amoola Gold, Skelton said: “Amoola Gold will certainly get in and he’s been very good this year and grown up and matured. We have been very happy with him and he’s improved beyond all recognition which is great

Starting the season rated 127, Amoola Gold will run off a mark of 146 at the Festival, such is the level of improvement he’s shown. What makes his chance so interesting, however, is how well suited he’ll be to how the Grand Annual will be run.

The Perfect Scenario

The Grand Annual is a two-mile handicap run at a frenetic gallop. As such, it pays to have a strong travelling horse who can capitalize on those wilting up the Cheltenham hill. Step forward Amoola Gold, who shows his best form when allowed to settle off the pace, before charging home in the dying strides to pick the leaders pockets.

He’s certainly on an exploitable mark too, last seen finishing second to a rejuvenated Sky Pirate at Warwick. He pulled miles clear with the winner in a race that on paper shouldn’t have suited, as it was a small field contest. He’ll be just three pounds higher at the Cheltenham Festival and the best may still be yet to come over the larger obstacles.

At a general 20/1, he looks a very solid each-way bet for a yard in superb form. The race will be run to suit and if they go too hard in the early stages, which is more than likely, he’s a horse who surely pick up the pieces on the run-in.

Check out the myracing experts’ Cheltenham Festival tips every day of the festival, and don’t forget to check out the latest Cheltenham free bets and offers to get a headstart on your festival punting. 

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