The biggest event of the racing calendar is now nearly upon us in the form of the Cheltenham Festival, and some of the big yards have been showing us that they have their strings in good order. The two biggest names Nicholls and Henderson have been banging in the winners and will be battling things out further in a little over two weeks time, and I for one cannot wait.
The start of March leading up to the festival is a tricky time for any punter, and it sometimes pays to look at the lesser known trainers during this period, as the big guns are generally focussing their efforts towards the big money at Prestbury Park.
The racing this week has been pretty good on the whole and although there have been many who warrant a mention, two horses really stood out to me and I think are worth following.
Private Equity – (Trainer Nicky Henderson)
This fella is a French recruit and hardly set the world alight when racing over there. A similar story was emerging on his first few starts in bumpers this term, but he seemed to respond well when introduced to chasing at Doncaster last Wednesday where he finished runner up to smart stable companion Otto The Great. He was not as fluent as his stable mate, but on the whole there were glimpses of a decent chaser in the making and he’ll surely come on leaps and bounds for that outing. He relished the step up in distance, is only a five year old and given his connections he could turn out to be a very smart performer of the future.
Duke Of Lucca – (Trainer Philip Hobbs)
Ran a credible third to the improving Opening Batsman in the Racing Post Chase yesterday and looked as if he was coming back to the boil. The better ground was almost certainly the aiding factor in that race, and we should really be watching out for this fella when the Spring weather sets in. A very decent hurdler in his day he has not really reached the same level over fences, but that being said a 3m trip on decent ground will see him to very good effect and surely there’s a half decent handicap prize with his name on it in the very near future.
So before I leave you for another week I have a selection for today who I reckon is definitely worth a punt.
The selection comes in the 15:05 at Naas. The horse under the spotlight is the potentially well handicapped Beneficial Reform. His LTO run against Tennis Cap is starting to look extremely good with the winner, the third and fourth all having won since.
He is just 3lbs higher than for that runner up position, and gets in here off a featherweight of just 9st 13lb in the saddle and his rider Andrew Ring lightens that burden by a further 7lbs with his claim. If still in the same mood here I reckon he will be hard to beat, and with Paddy Power offering us 9/4 as I write we should get stuck right in.
15:05 Naas – Beneficial Reform – WIN BET currently 9/4 with Paddy Power
Until next week,