28.11.23 Cheltenham 2.25 Good to Soft 3m 1f Old Course
Potentially some fine value at the fat end of the market, the best of it via Whacker Clan and Swapped.
Whacker Clan is De Bromhead’s second string here. Darragh O’Keefe rides. It’s interesting when a trainer has a fancied horse (Amirite) but runs another one too. Whacker Clan won gamely last time (Tramore, August, soft) He’s won on good ground though his ratings are 5 or 6lbs below that soft ground win. Still, he is young and unexposed and his trainer is in good form. My worry with him is getting caught up in a pace battle – this applies to a few here and there’ll be a busy battle for the lead. You’ll want a stayer, unless some jock takes a big gamble and switches off at the back in the hope they’re crawling up the hill.
I’ll back Whacker Clan EW with Bet365 at 14/1 to 6 places. He is 20/1 to 4 places, 18/1 to 5.
Swapped looks way too big at 33s to 4 places and is the best value in the race. 1112 his most recent form figures, two runs ago, his first run for the Pogsons, he won over 3m2f at Southwell by 31 lengths. He went up 11lbs and still ran a fine race to be second over a shorter trip (GS). His best ratings are on good.
Adam Pogson bought him from Nicky Henderson after watching the horse for a long time, believing he’d benefit from a step up in trip. Pogson was spot on and looks to have a bargain at £18,000.
Swapped is another who likes to be prominent. I hope his 3lb claimer Armson keeps his wits about him. I’ll back Swapped to 6 places with Bet365 at 21/1.
Hidden Heroics looks too big as well. He’s been supported from 25s to as low as 10s, though Bet365 have him at 16/1 to 4 places. All his best figures are on good (though he has run just twice on other – both GS). He runs well fresh and likes Cheltenham (best rating is here). My one doubt is whether he will last home. He too is usually prominent, but, as I know to my cost, Harry Skelton does not mind dawdling around at the back for most of a race. This time it might just pay off.
Hidden Heroics is 16/1, 14/1 12/1 respectively with Bet365 for 4, 5, and 6 places.
Mister Fogpatches ran in a Grade 2 last time (tailed off). He likes Cheltenham – 2nd best rating achieved here – and the ground is fine. He was 6th of 20 in the Kim Muir in March. He caught my eye here mainly because he is the sole runner at the two-day meeting for P Fahy (don’t mistake him for Fahey), and the sole ride for Danny Mullins. He’s hard to win with but could well give you a profit EW at 33/1 to 4 places, 29/1 for 5 or 21/1 for 6: all Bet365.
And finally here is a single-figure one for the faint hearted. Twig has been out of the first 2 just once in his last 15 races (4th). Best form on good (though he too has run on little else). He won last time out – Uttoxeter in July – hanging on despite suffering from heat stress (he was treated after the race). Trainer Pauling hit form today (Friday) at Cheltenham with a winner and a 3rd. Beau Morgan (claims 5) always rides this horse. Morgan’s strike rate over fences is 36%.
Twig looks two or three points too big at 15/2, again with Bet365 to 4 places.
Duly delivered first and second. Swapped never really got going and pulled up.