Meetings: ,

TODAY'S racing, together with next weekend at the Dublin Racing Festival, should give us some massive hints for the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The racing today at Cheltenham and Doncaster is definitely something to get excited about and I have 5 selections that look worth a bet.

1.50 Cheltenham

ACTIVIAL is top weight in this handicap but there's a good reason for that having won very nicely at Haydock and then gone close to the impressive Kildisart last time out at Ascot.

He was a very close third in the Coral Cup over hurdles two years ago at the festival and is undoubtedly a classy horse. He can improve again on only his third start over fences and I'm surprised to see such a big price available.

2.40 Doncaster

In this race I think I have my best value bet of the day. CHICA BUENA has looked really good this season and has competed really well against older horses despite still being a juvenile.

She can improve again and is already getting tons of weight against her rivals here because of her age. Brian Hughes rides Doncaster well and I think she can spring something of a surprise against Lady Buttons who is a good horse but possibly better over fences and has to give weight to Chica Buena.

3.00 Cheltenham

The recent course and distance win from JARVEYS PLATE cannot be ignored here and he should be clear favourite in my book.

We have the added bonus that RaceBets are offering money back as a free bet (up to £10) if Birchdale wins so that is some comfort if the unexposed McManus-owned runner improves to win.

3.15 Doncaster

There is no doubt that WILLIE BOY is unexposed (if you'll pardon the pun) and I think this step up in distance could bring about further improvement. He won a 3m point-to-point race at the start of his career so it shouldn't be a disaster and he looks a really nice bet to me at 9-1.

Dingo Dollar is an obvious danger but I wouldn't advice a bet at the current short prices.

3.35 Cheltenham

Last bet of the day for me comes in the big race of the day at Cheltenham. The Cleeve Hurdle is always a big indicator for the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival and this year looks the case more than ever with all of the top British contenders on show.

I had my eye on Aux Ptits Sion earlier in the week but his price has really shortened now. I think he still has all of his class and will go very close so I wouldn't put any off backing him but the value bet for me in the race is WHOLESTONE.

He ran well in last year's Stayers Hurdle finishing third and if he is at that level today then 9-1 will look a silly price particularly with RaceBets offering 4 places each way.

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Cheltenham
13:50
Actival (2pt e/w)
9-1
Bet
Doncaster
14:40
Chica Buena (3pt win)
5-1
Bet
Cheltenham
15:00
Jarveys Plate (4pt win)
9-4
Bet
Doncaster
15:15
Willie Boy (2pt e/w)
9-1
Bet
Cheltenham
15:35
Wholestone
9-1 (2pt e/w)
Bet

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