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Another race that the British trainers/horses have done well in over the last few years (well better than most of the other races at the Festival) is the Magners Plate Handicap Chase, which is run over 2m 4f.

This handicap is a 21-runner contest, filled with horses you would have seen run in some tough handicaps all season long. Some horses will have some Graded form lines next to their name, which is never a bad thing.

Cheltenham 4:10 – Crebilly 9/2 (1pt, WilliamHill) & Ciel De Neige 66/1 (0.5pt EW, SkyBet 6pl)

Crebilly has been one of the most well-backed horses of the week and even antepost in the handicaps for the Cheltenham Festival and though he is touching the short side, I think he just wins, if escaping any blunders or inconveniences. We talk about finding well-handicapped horses in handicaps like this, well this lad is the perfect description of that. He is rated 140, but should be rated higher than that and could've been if he didn't fall two from home on his chase debut back in November over today's C&D. Whether he would've beat Ginny's Destiny that day, nobody knows, but he was going into that fence like the main man. He then finished behind the Nicholls horse last time out, but by that point, I think Jonjo Jr had eyed him up for a handicap pot later in the season, which is today. He went through that race like a very good horse, and the form has been boosted by the winner and by the second, Grey Dawning. Last time out this horse put it all together at Exeter in a three-runner race and beat a good couple of horses in the shape of Tahmuras and Trelawne. That performance recorded an RPR of 150, but the handicapper only put him up by 1lb for it, which seems ridiculously small. If he jumps well, he should take all the beating.

If truth be told, I don't think this race is as competitive as it has been in recent years and I can't really make a case for too many. It's interesting that Saint Felicien is well-found in the market for Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott. He has won once over fences, the form doesn't look out of this world, but this horse was strongly fancied for the Coral Cup in 2022 when he went off as 9/2F. He was PU in that race and wasn't seen for 600+ days, but he has come back in good health and retains his ability, he could be well-handicapped, but the English handicapper isn't taking any chances and he is making his handicap chase debut off a mark of 146.

Shakem Up'Arry was third in this race last year, and he comes to the Festival on the back of a good win at this track 73 days ago. He is 4lb higher than when running in this race, so that makes life tougher, but in a race which I deem to not be as competitive as it usually is, he has EW claims.

John McConnell won this race last year with 20/1 Seddon, so his sole runner in Hereditary Rule has to be respected despite this horse being down the field in this race 12 months ago. He landed a good handicap at Punchestown the time after Cheltenham, and the trainer gave credit to the better ground that day, so the soft ground this week looks to have gone against him, but you can never rule out a McConnell runner, who has a good record at this track.

If you fancy Crebilly for this race, you've got to be way of Theatre Man as they do share similar form. This horse was second to Ginny's Destiny last time out and put in an eye-catching run. He might not have the speed for this trip, but he has the engine to be fighting away at the end of this race, and if he is behind your horse with one to jump you will be soiling your undies as he will be staying on all the time. Harry Cobden is on board, taking over from Harry Bannister, and you've got to say he is one of the horses who could seriously win this.

I do love an outsider at the Festival and I'm going to be giving a chance to Ciel De Neige. Ben Haslam has acquired this horse from Willie Mullins, but is still owned by JP McManus, and over the years the Haslam stable has been the retirement home for JP's horses, with them landing the occasional gamble with horses falling right down the handicap. This horse seems a bit different and it's interesting that they are coming to the Cheltenham Festival. He has only had two runs for Ben, where he wasn't put into the race at any stage, but I refuse to believe his talent is fully gone. He was 6th at the Galway Festival last summer and was running a big race in April at Aintree in the Topham until unseating. His handicap mark has dropped 146 since his last run for Mullins to now 135. This horse has been running over 3m, which has never been his trip, and now back over 2m 4f and the headgear which has been pivotal to this horse returns for the first time since moving to Ben. I've seen worse 80/1 EW shots in my time and with Haslam normally very careful of sending his horses to Cheltenham (just 7 in his career), this could sneak a place.

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