Nothing quite marks the change to jump racing than the October Cheltenham fixture. Racing resumed at the famed Cotswolds track yesterday, and today we focus on the opener, the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase (2.00) and BOB MAHLER.
Previous experience at this unique track is a major plus and the seven year old is well used to the undulations. This is a tricky enough contest to begin with - Relentless Dreamer was 16/1 when scoring last year - but as most of the runners would prefer better ground it gets even more open. Bob Mahler is a previous winner on this circuit, and while it was a limited novice handicap he won here last April, it proved that the course holds no fears for the Warren Greatrex's runner. He also jumped very well, always crucial at this venue, and certainly there won't be much room for error in this competitive handicap chase.
Bob Mahler likes to race up with the pace which should help him get into a nice jumping rhythm. We can ignore his tame effort at Uttoxeter as it came at the end of the season and he was obviously over the top a bit at that stage. But he's back refreshed now at a track he likes. Coping with soft ground will be crucial, and it rarely gets more testing than at Chepstow on Welsh Grand National Day. He was second to Yalitari that day over almost three miles staying on strongly.
As a seven year old having his eight chase start he can still keep progressing. There's a nice 37k winners cheque here and Bob Mahler can give Daryl Jacob a great spin, every chance they could pass the famous Cheltenham jamstick in front. Rocky's Treasure and The Young Master have strong claims while two Irish raiders Na Trachtali Abu and Mindsmadeup are interesting, particularly the latter for trainer in form Matt Smith. But Bob Mahler should reward each way support.
Cheltenham - 2:00
1/2 Point Each Way Bob Mahler (22/1 Paddy Power, Betvictor, William HIll & Betfair Sportsbook, all three paying each way 5 places)
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