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Horse Racing Tips for Tuesday

Our man picks out the horses he thinks can run well at big prices in the handicaps on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.

  • The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK and Ireland.
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  • Following all Matt’s selections to recommended odds/stakes since taking over the column in June 2020 would have produced over 150pts in profit.

Value Bet Cheltenham tips: Tuesday, March 12

1pt win Victtorino in 2.50 Cheltenham at 20/1 (William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair)

1pt win Gevrey in 2.50 Cheltenham at 33/1 (bet365) – General 28/1

1pt e.w. Palamon in 4.50 Cheltenham at 20/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair, bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Go steady at start of punting marathon

There are nine highly-competitive handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival and, given the way the conditions races are shaping up this year, there’s no question – and probably no surprise – where most of the focus of this column will lie throughout the week.

That’s not to say it isn’t worth looking to seek out value in Grade 1 races where appropriate, but taking on the top end of the market in most of those is likely to prove an unforgiving task as genuine competition looks thin on the ground for the most part.

Tuesday’s card is the prime example, where I’ll let State Man and Lossiemouth go and do their thing without looking for anything too clever in behind. Having said that, if you’re into ‘betting without’, then Telmesomethinggirl looks one to consider closely in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle.

She’s not in Lossiemouth’s class, that much is clear, but did win the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle by over five lengths here three years ago and she was fancied – 4/1 and still going well – when brought down two from home in the 2022 Mares’ Hurdle.

Things went pear-shaped for Telmesomethinggirl from that point and chasing evidently wasn’t her bag, but there have been promising signs in her two runs back over hurdles around the turn of the year, including when bustling up Zarak The Brave in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.

Cheltenham week is all about staying as agile as possible when it comes to your bets and a positive effort from Zarak The Brave in the Unibet Champion Hurdle half an hour earlier would clearly heighten the Telmesomethinggirl appeal further, but at the time of writing I don’t feel compelled to make her a bet – with or without the favourite.

Gordon to get the best out of Gevrey

Earlier, I’ll have a dart at GEVREY, who could be able to buck the trend of British-based horses winning the past 17 editions of the Ultima Handicap Chase.

That’s quite a daunting stat but Irish runners won three of the four (regulation) handicap chases at the 2023 Festival and, largely down to Gavin Cromwell’s successful autumn/winter raids, they’ve been mopping up races of that nature over here during the current campaign too.

Gevrey, one of the least fancied of Gordon Elliott’s four in this, isn’t the easiest to predict but he’s developed into a strong stayer over the past couple of seasons, underlined by his fine effort when beaten just a length by subsequent Grade 1 winner I Am Maximus in the Irish Grand National last April. He was only denied a length there, and was running from 1lb out of the handicap which makes the performance all the more meritorious.

The Fairyhouse near-miss came on the back of an eye-catching, fast-finishing fourth behind Seddon in the Plate at Cheltenham 12 months ago and while his rather patchy profile has continued into this season, he did win the Munster National at Limerick in October, looking like he’d improved again which shouldn’t be a huge shock as he was only seven at the time (since turned eight).

Gevrey will need another career best to defy a BHA mark of 146 in Tuesday’s Ultima, and will be hoping to do so on the back of two non-completions on heavy going since the Limerick triumph, but he’s just the sort of horse who will pop up again for Elliott on slightly better ground before the season’s out and, fresh from a break, he looks over-priced in a wide-open contest if the conditions aren’t quite as bad as feared.

More to come from Williams’ French import

Kim Bailey’s pair Chianti Classico and Trelawne lead the Ultima charge for the home team, according to the market, but VICTTORINO looks far more interesting at the odds.

Another relative youngster, aged just six, Venetia Williams’ French recruit had some strong form across the Channel including a Grade 3 second to Diamond Carl, who went on to be placed at the highest level, and this horse has since made a smooth transition to his new yard.

He was admittedly a shade flattered to win by so far after some late drama at Ascot in early-November but proved that to be no flash in the pan when beating Yeah Man (one of the horses who came down at Ascot) and Flegmatik in the Howden Silver Cup at the same venue just before Christmas.

That latter piece of form worked out well, with the second winning Haydock’s Grand National Trial and the third going on to beat none other than Chianti Classico at Kempton.

I can excuse Victtorino’s last couple of outings. Firstly, he was inconvenienced by a drop in trip at Cheltenham on Trials Day, while the Williams yard still hadn’t hit top gear again when he let down favourite-backers with some sloppy early jumps back at Ascot last month.

The signs in that regard are much more positive in recent weeks (six winners for the stable in the past fortnight) and I’m convinced this horse has loads more to offer off a mark just 3lb higher than for the latest Ascot success.

Punters’ Pal in the Boodles

Hopefully Victtorino is peaking again for the big occasion, and that’s precisely what’s involved when it comes to the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle as we’re dealing with young horses of varying degrees of ability, the vast majority of which have never run in a handicap before.

In short, it’s a brute of a puzzle to try and crack, so I’ll have just the one small each-way bet.

The last half-dozen renewals of this have gone to Irish horses and Paul Nolan’s PALAMON obviously ticks that box, though he has plenty of Flat form to his name in Britain as he was trained by Richard Hannon and won a 10-furlong handicap at York on good to soft ground last September.

That striking win on the Knavesmire saw his Flat mark rise to 79 and, having changed hands for 85,000 guineas in the autumn, he’s had the minimum qualifying three runs over hurdles for Nolan, showing improvement on each visit to the track.

His sticky jumping from Leopardstown and Punchestown earlier in the year was consigned to the past when much slicker from one side to the other before staying on to finish third behind the reopposing Ndaawi at Naas at the end of January, and on that evidence he’s really getting the hang of it at a good time.

It looks significant he’s been put away since then and while a BHA mark of 121 is 5lb higher than his introductory figure back home in Ireland, he’s 13lb better off with Ndaawi on these terms and that one is relatively well fancied near the head of the betting.

There’s evidently scope for the selection to make a lot more improvement in this sphere and he merits each-way support at the odds.

Published at 1600 GMT on 11/03/24

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