No doubt about the star attraction at Cheltenham on Saturday, as SPRINTER SACRE bids to underline his status as the best in the business in the rescheduled Victor Chandler Chase. He will win, and win well, but it’s a race to simply watch and enjoy, as Nicky Henderson’s star chaser will probably go off at around the 1/6 mark.
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However, a number of contests on the eight-race card make plenty of appeal from a betting perspective, including the Argento Chase (2.25). The race has undeniably lost some of its lustre with Bobs Worth ruled out and Tidal Bay not certain to line-up but, with the likes of Grands Crus and Imperial Commander set to go post, it’s still shaping up to be a cracking event.
If Tidal Bay does take part he will be the one to beat following his victory in the Lexus Chase last month, but he’s far from bombproof, so I wouldn’t be rushing to backing him at a skinny price, while Grands Crus has a bit to prove and Imperial Commander has a lengthy absence to overcome. All things considered, I’m really sweet on the chances of HUNT BALL who was incredibly progressive last season.
The eight-year-old doesn’t hail from a fashionable yard, but boy did he fly the flag for trainer Kieran Burke and his colourful owner Anthony Knott last term. Remarkably, he kicked off his 2011/12 campaign off a BHA mark of 69, yet his official rating was 154 when finishing third at Aintree on his final start of that campaign.
Though Hunt Ball failed to fire when reappearing in the Paddy Power here in November, he has winning form at the track by virtue of his victory at the Festival here in March, and his latest effort in a Grade 2 at Kempton was very promising. I’m convinced that the step back up in trip on Saturday is a good move and, to my mind, he’s the best bet of the day.
The Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle (3.00) features some highly promising types, including The New One. He will take plenty of stopping, but I’m siding with CONEYGREE who is unbeaten in three starts over timber, with his last two victories gained at this track, while I believe REVE DE SIVOLA, so impressive in the Long Walk at Ascot, will have too many guns for Oscar Whisky in the Cleeve Hurdle (3.35).
With Doncaster abandoned, the Sccop6 will comprise of the 1.15, 2.25, 3.35 and 4.10 races from Cheltenham, and the 2.45 and 3.20 from Leopardstown. For those that are keen to partake, tips for the additional races in the Scoop6 are listed below.
1.15 Our Mick
1.50 Sprinter Sacre
2.25 Hunt Ball
3.35 Reve de Sivola
4.10 Mr Watson
3.20 Ted Veale