There are two premier handicap chases on this afternoon. Both are competitive races with preference for the 16 runner handicap at Cheltenham rather than the Skybet Chase at Doncaster.
Fugitif is an up-and-coming chaser who blew apart a good field to win a valuable handicap at Chepstow on Welsh National day. He’s a big strong horse now who is well capable of carrying weight and jumps for fun. The handicapper hit him hard with a 10lb hike for winning at Chepstow but he remains well handicapped on a mark of 143.
The good thing is we know he handles Cheltenham as he finished second to Amarillo Sky at the November meeting. That run was over 2m1f and we know he needs further with today’s trip of 2m4.5f on the new course ideal. Amarillo Sky went on to win well at Newbury following the November meeting franking the form. Fugitif is the horse to beat and at 4’s is a great each way bet.
Coole Cody is a remarkable horse and remains dangerous here even at 12 years old. Only last March did we watch him win the Byrne plate handicap at the Cheltenham festival by 6.5l from Imperial Alcazar when rated 145. He ran poorly here at the November meeting when jumping poorly which is not like this horse.
A win at Ascot in a two horse race was a nice confidence booster and we forgive his Kempton run which is not his course. Coole Cody loves Cheltenham and hopefully he can get out quick and into a nice jumping rhythm on the front end. Adam Wedge knows the horse so well now and maybe there is one more big win in this star performer around Cheltenham.
0.5 point each way Fugitif 4/1 Skybet 6 places else 4/1 generally, 5 places.
0.5 point each way Coole Cody 12/1 William Hill & Skybet, both 6 places.
Best of Luck, Nicky