4.15 Grand Annual Handicap Chase
Wednesday 16 March | Age: 5yo+ | Prize: £110,000
The Grand Annual Chase is a Grade 3 race that traditionally took place on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival bu has now been moved to the Wednesday.
I enjoy the Grand Annual which is usually a speedy race over two miles and it will be interesting to see how things change this year with it being switched course from the new course to the old course.
There are plenty that make my shortlist not least my old pal Sky Pirate who has won twice for me this season but I think those two wins have given him a very difficult handicap mark to justify against some other horses who could be very well handicapped.
Embittered and Zanza are two of those who look well handicapped but are now quite short prices.
On the Gambla Racing Podcast Cheltenham Preview I made a strong case for ON THE SLOPES and I haven't changed my opinion on that.
I reckon he has a huge chance based on his form from last season behind Simply The Betts and Sky Pirate in particular and the fact that he has now had a wind op.
I think he could be very well handicapped and is a big price for this at 20-1. He is my best value bet of the week.
Voice of Value's Grand Annual Tips
- On The Slopes 2pt ew at 20/1 ew with Ladbrokes (5 places and BOG)
Splitting the atom seems easier than finding the winner of this two-mile helter-skelter of a race.
Joseph O’Brien fields a strong three-pronged attack, with EMBITTERED possibly the pick of his trio. Embittered ran a cracker in last year’s County Hurdle, finding only Saint Roi and Aramon too strong, and has jumped well in Graded company over fences this season.
Jessica Harrington’s Sizing Pottsie had six lengths in hand of Entoucas when scoring at Fairyhouse in December and his chance is obvious meeting that rival on only 2lb worse terms. Entoucas may have improved in the interim and the experience gained in a 20-runner handicap chase (fourth) at Leopardstown last month will stand him in good stead on his first visiut to Cheltenham.
Last year’s winner Chosen Mate races off a 9lb higher mark for Denise Foster and will do well to confirm places with third home Us And Them, the other O’Brien runner.
Sky Pirate was a course and distance winner for local trainer Jonjo O’Neill in December (re-opposing Zanda fell three out when holding every chance) and then hunted up Allmankind at Warwick. He may prove best of Team UK, with Ibleo also worthy of serious consideration for in-form Venetia Williams.
Moonlighter is a second-season chaser in with a shout and his front-running style could have a few of these in trouble running down the hill.
Paul Nicholls has mopped up this race four times and is represented by classy top weight Duc Des Genievres, fifth to Min in last year’s Ryanair Chase, and lesser light Ashutor.
Thommo's Grand Annual Tip
- Embittered 11/2 (Casumo)
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