After passing inspection on Friday afternoon, conditions are likely to throw up some shocks results at Cheltenham this Saturday and Sunday, but that’s where our horse racing tips can come in.
Luke Parkinson has taken a look at some of those that could run better than their odds suggest and picked out three outsiders to keep an eye on this weekend.
JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
As is usually the case with these juvenile hurdles there is very little form to read into and a lot of the betting is often gauged on a price paid for a horse at the sales or whether they have a bit of hype associated with them.
That means there can often be some gems in the pack and Chocks Away, who’ll be ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson on Saturday, could be one of them.
He was sent to Compiegne for his first run by trainer Nick Williams and finished a distance seventh that day on conditions that were described as ‘very soft’. Of course, that wasn’t the best of results but connections must have thought he was worth a go on that kind of surface, otherwise, it would have been a strange decision to send him across to France from Devon.
He has been seen since then when second in a class four at Huntingdon, beaten by Neil King’s Nordano who was third in a Listed Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby last time. If Chocks Away can show a similar level of improvement, then he might be able to get in the mix on ground he has already experienced before.
BetVictor Gold Cup
Venetia Williams is well known for training winners at this time of year and when the going gets tough, her horses seem to really get going.
She’ll be hoping to prove that theory true in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday when she saddles up Belami Des Pictons in the big race.
He was pulled up on his last outing at Sandown in February and hasn’t been seen since, but was second to Waiting Patiently the time before that at Carlisle when rated 148. He’ll go off 146 this weekend.
However, he does have a decent record when fresh and more importantly is a lover of some real cut in the ground. He has five wins from eight races when the going has been soft, very soft or heavy.
The trip will be slightly on the short side of what he has been used to of late, but with the mud flying as they tackle that gruelling Cheltenham hill, he might well be going better than others.
Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle
One of Saturday’s main events on a day of Graded action is the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle over two miles and half-a-furlong.
With tough conditions, it’s likely to feel like more of a stamina test and that could work out nicely for Harambe who has form over further, including a win at Market Rasen over two miles and two and a half furlongs.
He was well behind Thyme Hill in the Persian War at Chepstow last time, but that could have been a pipe opener for better things here on his first-ever visit to Cheltenham.
Back in his bumper days, he was a winner at Ludlow on soft, second at Bangor on heavy and third on soft at Aintree. That would suggest that he can handle the ground on Sunday and give another good account of himself after winning twice over hurdles in the spring.