1.30 JLT Novices' Chase

I have been strong on Garde La Victoire for some time given his comfortable defeat of Bristol De Mai earlier in the season and his liking for a sound surface, but his price has collapsed over the last few days and I’m now inclined to supplement my existing bet on Garde La Victiore with an each-way play on L’Ami Serge. You have to forgive that lamentable run at Warwick last time but I’m convinced that the longer trip and better ground will help his cause. At the current prices I’m convinced he’s a play.
130 JLT Novices' Chase - 1pt @ 10/1

2.10 Pertemps Final

There a couple I like here and I’m going to back them both each-way. Taglietelle was the only horse to make up any ground from well in rear in last year’s Coral Cup and he ran a cracker behind Cup Final at Musselburgh in his prep for this. For all that he’s got a lot of weight, horses at the top end of the handicap have been greatly advantaged in recent years because of the new qualification rules which stipulate you have to be in the first six to get a run.
The other horse I quite like is Un Ace, trained by Kim Bailey who couldn’t have been more confident when I did a preview evening with him on Monday. He never to me looked like a horse who was comfortable over fences and he could be nicely treated back over hurdles and upped in trip on a sound surface.
Taglietelle - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1
Un Ace - 0.5pt e/w @ 28/1

2.50 Ryanair Chase

Clearly Vautour is home and hosed if he repeats his JLT form of last year but I’m not inclined to back a horse at odds on about whose work reports have been decidedly uninspiring, therefore I would have a go at Valseur Lido who looks an improved horse this season and about whom 12-1 looks a very decent price. I’ll also be having a small bet on Josses Hill, for all the reasons given in this column last week, although I have to admit the race looks a lot stronger than it did then.
Valseur Lido - 1pt @ 12/1
Josses Hill - 1pt @ 28/1

330 World Hurdle

I don’t have any great negatives about Thistlecrack but I do think he’s taking on his deepest field to date and there is value to be found against him on the drying ground. Cole Harden should go really well again, while I can see the case for Whisper if he returns to his Aintree form but the bet I’m to recommend is Aux Ptits Soins, each-way. Admittedly, Paul Nicholls is going to have to produce an extraordinary training performance to bring last year’s Coral Cup winner back after such a long absence, Reports of his work have been very positive and he just looks too big a price.
Aux Ptits Soins - 0.5pt e/w @ 20/1

410 Brown Advisory Handicap

The world and his wife seems to have worked out that Johns Spirit is looking alarmingly well handicapped on his best form, at a track he excels, but there is no juice left in his price and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this is the day Kings Palace is going to shine. More than once he’s come up short when asked to tackle a big field but he faces lesser opposition this time and he’s been kept nice and fresh, which is exactly what he wants. The fact that the Pipe’s struck with Un Temps Pour Tout on the opening day only serves to enhance confidence.
Kings Palace - 1pt @ 16/1

4.50 Mares Novices' Hurdle

Limini should win this and win this well, the Mullins team think she can win group races on the Flat and if that’s the case then the others may as well start now. However, I would hardly be winning any prizes for imagination by selecting her and instead I’ll suggest backing Bantam each-way. She is definitely a better filly on better ground and her second to Winter Escape at Doncaster showed at least that she’s a doughty battler and she could sneak into the frame at a big price.
Bantam - 0.5pt e/w @ 50/1

530 Kim Muir Chase

This race is all about dynasties. David Pipe has an obvious chance with Doctor Harper in a race that his father won with Omerta in 1991. The man on board Omerta that day was a little known jockey called Adrian Maguire and, in a neat twist, Adrian’s son Fin has a fine chance of winning this race on the three-time Gold Cup-placed The Giant Bolster. The handicapper has given him an unbelievable chance even on the form he was showing six months ago. At likely odds I’m prepared to believe yet another old stager can bring the house down at Cheltenham.
The Giant Bolster - 1pt @ 12/1