4 ‘Under The Radar’ Horses To Follow At Cheltenham
March 12, 2019
It’s all well and good getting stuck into the favourites when it comes to Cheltenham next week, but what about getting something with a bit more value.
Any part-time punter can work out that Altior should win the Champion Chase or Tiger Roll has a cracking chance in the Cross Country, that’s why they’re so short in the betting.
Cheltenham is about diving into the form book and trying to unearth that little gem who might just have a squeak if things go their way on the day.
Under the radar, you might say. Here are four horses to follow next week who might just fit that bill.
Posh Trish – Mares Novice Hurdle @ 7/1 with BoyleSports
These mares’ races are far from the most competitive affairs of the meeting. Just ask Willie Mullins, who has won the first three renewals of this with Limini, Let’s Dance and Laurina. If you have a bit of class in this division, it usually rises to the top.
This time around, Mullins’ best chance in this race looks to be way below his usual standard with Sancta Simona his best chance, according to the betting. She was some 10 lengths behind Aramon (goes in the Supreme) last time out at Leopardstown and that doesn’t exactly set the world alight.
One of more interest for me is the Paul Nicholls-trained Posh Trish. She is highly regarded by the team at Ditcheat and has done very little wrong this season with four wins from five outings. Owned by Highclere, they know a thing or two about winning big races and you can be sure that Posh Trish has been trained with exactly this target in mind.
From what we’ve seen from her so far, she loves a strong gallop and isn’t one to give in lightly. A recipe that could prove to be a successful one next week. Her form is good enough to win something like this as well and she looks a touch overpriced at the current odds.
City Island – Ballymore @ 10/1 with Ladbrokes
By the time you are reading this, City Island may no longer be under the radar, as he’s certainly had a few mentions on the Cheltenham preview circuits this week.
Owned by the people behind Ballymore, the sponsors, City Island has been trained just for this by Martin Brassil and his racecourse outings have gone completely to plan during that process. Victories have come over 2m at Leopardstown and 2m3f at Naas this season, winning by three lengths and seven lengths respectively.
Amateur jockey Jamie Codd mentioned the other day that he had been doing a bit of work with the trainer and that he will only run his horses if he has them in good shape. He seemed pretty sweet on his chances at the Final Furlong podcast preview night, and that makes him a good bet for me in a race that looks wide open.
Black Op – Stayers Hurdle @ 14/1 with Coral
Samcro was the buzz horse of last season and although things haven’t quite gone to plan with him this year, he’s still got plenty of quality.
Black Op was only a couple of lengths behind him in the Ballymore at Cheltenham last season and looked like one of the top prospects to go novice chasing this term. Like Samcro, that didn’t go to plan either and Black Op was last seen when finishing 3rd to Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle over 3 miles.
He travelled well for most of that race and looked to have just run out of steam up the hill. That doesn’t go with what he has shown in the past though, finishing runner-up to the likes of Santini, Samcro and Lostintranslation.
He clearly possessed plenty of class and I think he’s worth an each-way bet to pick up the pieces behind Paisley Park or Faugheen.
Pacha Du Polder – Foxhunters @ 20/1 with Unibet
It seems like an obvious choice to go with Pacha Du Polder for the Foxhunters, which is why I can’t quite understand why he’s such a big price.
He’s taken the last two renewals of this race and should arguably have had a hat-trick if it hadn’t had been for Olympian Victoria Pendleton being in the saddle. He’s come under the radar in each of those wins and it seems to be a similar case this time around.
Yes, he didn’t perform to his best at Haydock last time, but he put on a similar display in his last run before winning the Foxhunters last year. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
His trainer Paul Nicholls has made no secret of the fact that he will go for this again and with jockey Harriet Tucker now back in good health after an injury, you get the feeling they’ll be determined to make this a memorable third Foxhunters success.
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As a qualified sports journalist, Luke has worked with nationally-recognised outlets covering events from the World Cup to the Grand National. Luke is one of the few men who has to admit that their father was the better footballer, but at least he can take comfort from the fact he got to see his Dad score at Wembley. When Luke isn’t talking football, you’ll normally find him following his other passion, horse racing and has his own horses in training with Paul Nicholls and Mark Johnston.