With just under two months away until the showpiece event of National Hunt racing, CALUM LEITCH decides its now time to look at some antepost fancies and value prices ahead of the Cheltenham festival
This is a race I have a (surprisingly) good record in at the Festival! In my 10 years of following the festival, I have had 7 winners in this race. Baby Run was my first and Salsify and On The Fringe have both been back-to-back and rewarding winners for me in the past.
With that said, I have overlooked Pacha Du Polder the last twice and once again I am going to overlook as history suggests 3 in a row can’t be done.
Step forward Hazel Hill..
I had my eye on this horse for this race last year at 20/1 after watching it win a weak Hunters Chase. But he never ran at the festival but did run that week! Despite the form not looking massively strong, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the engine of the horse and how well he travelled, he won with a lot in hand and looked exactly the type to take well to Cheltenham and the demands of this particular race.
The horse just won a valuable Hunters Chase at Warwick beating the ante-post favourite Shantou Flyer (who may have needed the run and might have hated the ground) emphatically and he travelled very very strongly all race, and as he has been doing, and then seen the race out in very decisive fashion. That takes his record to 3/3 in Hunters Chases. He proved he can deal with the step up in class and won by 11lengths. Brandon Hill was back in 3rd and he was a runner-up in the Grand Sefton at Aintree in his previous start. My Cousin Pete who was 3rd in the Foxhunters last year, was back in 7th. So the form looks strong.
Hazel Hill has now won 3/3 over rules in Hunters Chases and has won 11 of his last 12 Point-to-Point starts. For my money, he should be antepost favourite for this. And I’ll happily take the 9/1 with the form in the book looking very solid.
Lets hope I can continue the winning trend in this race and get back to winning ways, and maybe any readers can benefit also!