Steve Hughes has picks from two races on Cheltenham’s card.
There is a terrific card at Cheltenham today considering its proximity to all the end of season Festival meetings taking place this month. I have selections from two of the chases on the card.
Cheltenham 2.40: Kalondra & Jameson
Drying ground is a big factor to account for today given most of the horses have been slogging away on soft ground or worse over the past few months. Two horses likely to be favoured by good going are fancied.
Kalondra always did best over hurdles in big field handicaps where he could use a strong pace and maintain a good gallop to the finish. That was the case when winning decent handicaps at Ascot and Huntingdon last winter and he was not disgraced in the Coral Cup here. He looks at least as able over fences and boasts a course and distance win over subsequent Festival winner Coo Star Sivola (giving him 5lbs). He has had to run in small field novice contests until now, but this sort of contest might suit him more and 10-9 is a lovely racing weight.
Jameson has his quirks and can hang badly left under pressure. However he is a good horse and won a novice handicap at Sandown in the autumn before the ground turned too soft. He ran a fine race in the Close Brothers at the Festival to place sixth and was not too far behind Kalondra in that race here earlier this season. As a son of Midnight Legend he ought to enjoy good going more and is indeed 2-2 on the surface in his career.
Cheltenham 3.50: Tintern Theatre
Jumping has been the major issue for Tintern Theatre – two unseats and a fall in eight attempts over fences this season. However he has been set some tough tasks by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and might be better off giving weight in a lesser contest such as this.
He did get around both at the Cheltenham Festival and in the Betdaq Chase at Kempton – however the big, competitive fields put too much pressure on his jumping and he made too many errors to stay in contact with the leaders. Prior to that though he was running a cracker in the Peter Marsh at Haydock only to get tired in the heavy ground and lose his rider at the last.
This son of Kings Theatre should appreciate a return to a sounder surface and was a close fourth only beaten a length at the November meeting here when the ground was still decent enough. Only 3lbs higher today, despite winning a good race at Kempton in between, this smaller field against fellow novices should make it easier for him to jump cleanly.
1pt win – Kalondra – 2.40 Cheltenham – 6/1 William Hill, BetVictor
0.75pts each-way – Jameson – 2.40 Cheltenham – 12/1 general
1pt each-way – Tintern Theatre – 3.50 Cheltenham – 7/1 general