Peter Teazle looks at the concluding races on the Cheltenham card on a very busy day for BetPreviews and he believes that West Country trainers Paul Nicholls and Colin Tizzard will be toasting their successes in the owners and trainers lounge later this evening.
Cheltenham 5:00 – Dark Lover
Balder Success jumped very well on his chasing debut at Chepstow last Saturday but he looks to have a big task on his plate today as he tries to give 8lb to the Paul Nicholls trained Dark Lover. Dark Lover has won 2 of his 4 races at Cheltenham and was also 2nd in two bumpers at the course. His only relatively poor display was in the Racing Post Hurdle at the November meeting last year when he finished 7th to Olofi. He finished last season with a rating of 148 over hurdles which was clearly merited as it was off this mark that he was 4th to My Tent or Yours in the Betfair Hurdle.
Dark Lover has loads of pace and looks a 2 mile specialist while Balder Success could ultimately prove that he needs at least 20 furlongs to be seen at his best over fences. A strong pace looks assured in this race with The Cockney Mackem likely to be prominent and Mr Watson could also try and force the pace if he is on a “going”day.
Daryl Jacob should be able to settle Dark Lover off the pace and produce him at the last fence to go and win his race. He is 2/1 with Ladbrokes and Stan James who are both best odds guaranteed and this price looks fine given that we believe he should be quite a strong favourite in this race.
Cheltenham 5:30 – Midnight Thunder
Midnight Thunder was an impressive winner of his point to point at the Horse and Jockey in March and was sold for £215,000 at Brightwells after that display. Andy Slattery seems to unearth one or two very useful pointers every year and racing in the Sharon Slattery colours that have been worn by Quel Esprit, Chablais and Faugheen in recent years, Midnight Thunder created a favourable impression when running out a 6 length winner from Champagne Splash in testing conditions that may not have been ideal.
Whether he is in the same class as the horses mentioned above is debatable but this bumper today may not be as good as it appears at first glance with some winners of poor bumpers at the head of the betting. Midnight Thunder should stay very well and he looks to have the gears necessary to win a race of this nature. Regal Diamond looks the horse to beat but he will need to be every bit as good as he trainer thinks he is if he is to defy a double penalty in this race.
The 13/2 on Midnight Thunder with BetVictor and Skybet looks worth an interest each way and it is with BetVictor that the bet should be placed. They are best odds guaranteed and there is a possibility that Midnight Thunder could drift with representatives from most of the big yards in this race.
2 pts win Dark Lover – Cheltenham 5:00 at 2/1 with Ladbrokes and Stan James
1 pt each way Midnight Thunder – Cheltenham 5:30 at 13/2 with BetVictor