1.50 Cheltenham: Handicap Chase (Grade 3), 3m 3F 71Y
Some interesting horses in this race but I feel it’s worth a punt to go with still unexposed Knockanrawley. A seven year old who has done pretty well as a fresh horse in the past, he could be on a lenient mark. He won off 6lb lower a big Handicap Chase at Newbury last December and he’s one who won’t have an issue staying the trip today, although 4m 1f seemed a bit too far after all on his final start last season, albeit he was far from disgraced in 4th in the Eider Handicap Chase.
This trip today looks ideal and the arriving rain shouldn’t be an inconvenience. In fact he is two from three in good to soft. It’ll be only his seventh start over fences and the testing Cheltenham course should work in his favour – for a red hot yard and jockey I feel he is a big price.
Knockanrawley @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5ps Win
2.25 Cheltenham: Paddy Power Gold Cup (Grade 3), 2m 4f
Is this the one for Art Mauresque to lose? I feel so. well, it depends on how much more rain we get, but if it stays as it is now, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for this rapidly improving Paul Nicholls inmate.
He was good on his debut run but improved big time here at Cheltenham last month when he landed a decent Novice Chase. Yes, Parlour Games was disappointing that day, but the runner-up has franked the form yesterday, to an extend at least. I was mightily impressed with Art Mauresque though, how easily he closed the gap to the leader and how he stormed up the hill.
Of a mark off 147 he is potentially well in here, given the five year old has had only six starts over fences yet, and took each test in his own stride. There is almost certainly more to come.
Says this is obviously an enormously competitive race and a bit of luck is sometimes required. Irish Cavalier, Buywise and Johns Spirit are others I fancy to do well here today, and you could name plenty more that have a fair shot to land the prize.
But at 14/1, despite the uneasy ground, I’m more than prepared to take a gamble on this exciting Art Mauresque, who in my book is overpriced.
Art Mauresque @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win