Sam Turner has been poring over his Cheltenham speed figures and has pin-pointed five horses to note at the big meeting on Saturday.
Cepage/Not That Fuisse (Cheltenham, 1.55)
Many will feel CEPAGE faces a monumental task trying to concede weight to all of his Caspian Caviar Chase foes, but his performance in last year’s renewal suggests he could still be the answer today.
With Aintree conqueror Riders On The Storm ruled out by an 11th hour stable blunder, Cepage is the chief survivor of the Liverpool handicap in which the selection finished second, shaping well on his seasonal debut.
Although fragile and a difficult horse to train, Cepage is a high-class handicapper when in the mood as he proved 12 months ago when only Ryanair Chase hero Frodon proved too strong on the run to the line.
The Venetia Williams stable continues to churn out the winners and Cepage makes plenty of appeal with some firms offering five places.
With the prospect of five places to aim at, NOT THAT FUISSE also makes appeal given the way in which his connections love to plot a handicap winner. The Dan Skelton-trained novice has caught the eye with a couple of encouraging efforts over fences this term, not least when four lengths behind Al Dancer who is a live candidate for the Arkle in March.
Today’s step up in trip should be ideal for a horse who stayed well over hurdles and he looks a danger to all lurking at the foot of the handicap.
Champagne Well (Cheltenham, 2.30)
CHAMPAGNE WELL chased home one of the best staying novices seen this season in Thyne Hill at today’s venue last time and looked as though a step up to three miles should induce further progression.
The selection stuck to his task well that day, finding plenty after being outpaced, and is fancied to see off dangerous challenges for his in-form stable from Ascot scorers Valtor and Igor, who should ensure an honest gallop.
Lust For Glory/Mega Yeats (Cheltenham, 3.40)
Dame De Compagnie caught the eye on her comeback in the Greatwood Hurdle and represents a stable with a powerful record in this type of event.
She is respected along with stablemate LUST FOR GLORY who looked like she needed a step up in trip when staying on powerfully at Ascot (2m) on her comeback. She didn’t enjoy the run of the race that day as the winner was cleverly ridden from the front, yet the way in which she picked up from the home turn was encouraging and she should be on the scene with a step up in trip a positive mood.
MEGA YEATS is a contrasting case as she didn’t get home over three miles at Haydock on her seasonal bow and she should appreciate today’s drop in trip given the way in which she travelled before fading in the straight.
Her yard has been in much better form in the interim period since that comeback and any double-figure quotes about her chance could be rather generous.
SAM TURNER’S BEST BETS
Cepage 1pt ew (1.55 Cheltenham) 13/2 William Hill
Not That Fuisse 1/2 pt ew (1.55 Cheltenham) 8/1 Paddy Power
Champagne Well 2pt win (2.30 Cheltenham) 7/2 Coral
Lust For Glory 1pt ew (3.40 Cheltenham) 15/2 Betfred
Mega Yeats 1/2pt ew (3.40 Cheltenham) 11/1 bet365
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