With the Festival picture as clear as it could be five weeks out, now feels like a nice time to keep up with tradition and venture a fun five horse Cheltenham Accumulator, which would certainly add spice and excitement to 2019 if we can get to Gold Cup day still in the game…
With Apple's Jade and Laurina seemingly heading for the Champion Hurdle, the door is open for Benie Des Dieux to follow up her 2018 success in the race this year. She is yet to be seen this term, which wouldn’t be a major worry for a Willie Mullins trained horse and provided she gets there is one piece, I think she is much the best mare left in the race. She beat Apples Jade twice last season, remains unbeaten in the UK and can maintain that record in March.
Nine-year-olds wouldn’t have the very best of records in novice chases at Spring Festivals but this fine looking gelding has all of the credentials to make a real splash in the staying division. Only beaten three lengths in the Albert Bartlett last year, he went off the boil a bit at Aintree, before being put away for the Summer. His opening chase efforts at Plumpton and Warwick were impressive and the booking of Derek O’Connor - who really gelled well with the horse - for his Listed win at the latter named venue, tell us what the intentions are for Cheltenham. This four mile contest would appear to be right up his street and O’Connor is arguably the best amateur rider around.
You have to have a Banker leg and this is it, Altior at short odds of 4/9.”Short” of course, has to be considered in context, as Altior is one of the greatest horses I and we have ever seen. He appears to be operating at the peak of his powers just now and it is impossible to see how anything bar hard luck would trouble his attempt to land a second Queen Mother Champion Chase. I cannot wait to see him perform in the flesh, having missed the past two Festivals. I won’t be missing this one.
In dotting up by 12 lengths in the Cleeve Hurdle, Paisley Park ran up to a performance which was 10lb superior to Penhill's victory in the Stayers Hurdle itself last year. It was not the type of win you see very often in the 3m hurdling division and Emma Lavelle’s inmate looks bombproof. If it rains, the rest might as well not bother turning up, he’ll just be too good for an ordinary looking field of horses who’ve either been around the block one too many times, or have been left in Paisley Park’s wake already.
The Gold Cup favourite is a short priced but worthy one. Plenty of people are knocking the fact the Gold Cup favourite hasn’t even run over fences this season, but Presenting Percy is clearly not your average Joe. Pat Kelly’s Cheltenham loving 8yo has looked a World beater at this track the past two seasons and the established and rising 3m+ chasers haven’t exactly been making imposing statements while he’s been chilling in the barn. Presenting Percy is quickly becoming a bit of a cult hero and he’ll raise the roof at Prestbury Park when he jumps the last five lengths clear.
Combined Odds of 170/1+ at BetVictor
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