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For horses who aren't quite capable of mixing it at the top level over the minimum trip, they come to Cheltenham for the Grand Annual Challenge Cup.

This is yet another rock-solid handicap to dissect and similar to the other handicaps of today and yesterday, finding the winner will be extremely difficult.

Cheltenham 4:50 – Libberty Hunter 9/2 (1pt) & Unexpected Party 16/1 (0.5pt EW, Bet365)

You could easily walk away from this race and want to back four or five horses, but it wouldn't be wise, nor profitable to do that, but I've managed to whittle it down to just two.

Libberty Hunter is the first selection for the Grand Annual and is the only runner of the week for Evan Williams. Harry Cobden has done the bulk of the riding for Evan since Adam Wedge has been out injured and he is on board this lightly raced novice chaser today. The rain that has soaked into the Cheltenham ground will not be a problem for this horse, he has won on soft and won on heavy ground last time out in a decent Class 3 handicap at Cheltenham, but on the new track. I tipped against him that day, but was very wary about him as he looked like a very well-handicapped horse, but I was worried about his jumping but he proved me wrong as he jumped very well that day and won better than the winning margins would probably suggest. Matata was back in second that day and that horse ran well to finish fourth in the Arkle on Day 1, so the form looks strong. I still believe that this horse is on a good mark and given the way he stayed up the hill, he should be finishing off very strongly as long as he gets a clear round of jumping under his belt.

Unexpected Party is my second play in the race and I think this race has been the plan for a very long time. This horse has always shown ability, even as a hurdler, but his form this year has been on a downward spiral. However, Dan Skelton seems to be very good at getting his horses back to winning marks, as he has done with Langer Dan and I think that is what he has managed to achieve with Unexpected Party. This horse was intended to run in this race 12 months ago but didn't manage to get in the race, so instead they chucked him in the Turners, which saw him massively outrun his odds. As a result of that, his handicap mark went up, he then finished 3rd in a Grade 2 at Ayr, then beat Knappers Hill on seasonal reappearance, which jolted his mark up to 146. He has since not run a solid race, often not put into his races, and his mark has tumbled to a mark of 138, which was the same mark they tried to get him in this race last year. He doesn't stay 2m 4f on stiff tracks, so the drop to 2m should be perfect for him, as should a sound gallop. I think he'll be ridden ice cold by Harry Skelton and produced late on.

Another horse which was close on my list was Harper's Brook. If you're backing the Ben Pauling-trained runner, good luck, as this horse is one quirky customer. There is no doubting his ability, and if he was to win this I wouldn't be surprised, as he jumps and travels extremely well into his races, but as we've seen on multiple occasions, when he hits the front he tends to idle and throw away his races. Last time out on the drop back to 2m he didn't do that, but the race did fall apart and was full of fallers and interruptions. The way that Ben has his horses running at the minute, he could run a belter.

Madara deserves a mention for the way that Sophie Leech has campaigned this 5yo. He has been running consistent races at Cheltenham and bagged himself a win at this track before jetting off to Leopardstown to bag a valuable prize. Due to him being a 5yo, there could be plenty more to come, but off his new mark, this is going to be much tougher.

Willie Mullins saddles the top weight, Saint Roi who is obviously the class angle in the race, hence why he is at the top of the weights. He has been campaigned as if this race has been the plan, and is it a coincidence that Willie has said that he is ‘coming to himself this week'. He has Graded form and was 3rd in the Champion Chase last year. Let's be honest, none of us would be confused if he were to hack up off this mark of 152.

If Maskada wins this race I'll be sick. She chucked egg on my face last time out when receiving a shed load of weight from her rivals in a decent Listed Mares' race, but put in a stinking performance. Her jumping was awful when pressured for the lead and as the RPR of 134 would suggest, if she wants to retain her crown in this race off a 8lbs higher mark, she will have to seriously return to form.

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