Our Peter Teazle has selections from both UK national hunt meetings on Friday with Southfield Theatre expected to prove well handicapped for Paul Nicholls at Cheltenham and Desoto County picked to add to his Haydock win in the last at Bangor.
Cheltenham 3:15 – Southfield Theatre
This race features a number of horses that won handicap hurdles at the November meeting and are returning to try and repeat that success on Friday. Thomas Crapper has actually won at both Cheltenham meetings this season, winning off marks of 122 and 128 and he now tries to defy a rise to 134, stepping up to 3 miles for the first time. The way he runs suggests that he may well stay this extra trip and he will take plenty of beating. Return Spring won over 2 furlongs last time and only began to get on top in the last 50 yards of that contest. It was his first run of the season and he is entitled to improve on it, but off a 5lb higher mark he is opposed today as he really looks a strong stayer and might just leave himself with too much to do here.
Our selection is a horse that was behind Return Spring last time. Southfield Theatre was 3rd in that contest and has been raised 4lb, so there is little to choose between him and the winner. However he travelled very strongly through this race and was cantering as they turned to face the final hill. He ended up getting into a protracted battle with his stablemate Salubrious up the straight and this may well have softened them both up, leaving them vulnerable to the late Return Spring finish.
Southfield Theatre should be suited by the drop back down to 3 miles today as he has plenty of natural pace. Hopefully he can be towed into this race and be delivered after the last. If things go this way then he looks to still be well handicapped and appeals at 7/2 today.
Bangor 3:25 – Desoto County
This looks quite a decent bumper and a lot of attention will be focused on the expensive purchase Stellar Notion. He is a really imposing horse and stood head and shoulders above his rivals on his point debut at Bartlemy in May. He travelled kindly through that race and looked like he could win whenever Robbie McNamara asked him. However he found less than expected when Georgie Lad challenged him going to the last and was beaten easily enough in the end. McNamara was not hard on his mount and he looks to have a big future, but that race has not worked out well so far and he still has to prove that he has the ability to match his looks.
Desoto County on the other hand easily won his point at Monksgrange in March and he won what looked a strong bumper at Haydock 3 weeks ago, where he sat off the pace and quickened well inside the final furlong to beat Wuff by 1.25 lengths. There was plenty of depth to this race and time should show us that it contained plenty of winners. The manner in which Desoto County put the race to bed, suggested that he is an above average type and despite carrying a penalty today, he can add to his tally on a track that Donald McCain does very well at.
1 pt win Southfield Theatre – Cheltenham 3:15 at 7/2 with Bet365 & BetVictor
1 pt win Desoto County – Bangor 3:25 at 5/4 with Stan James and Betfred
Betting Record for 2013: 193 pts staked; 8 pt profit; ROI 4%