I ONLY have two selections today as we move closer to the Cheltenham Festival and there are a lot of races that look too much of a puzzle to me or have favourites at unattractive prices.

My two selections however need no introduction as horses that have obliged in the past and are both double figure prices in wide open races.

Newcastle 2.40

The Eider Chase at Newcastle is always a great spectacle and it is usually run on heavy ground making the 4 mile test an absolute slog. It looks like we will have good ground today though and the favourite Vicente has been well supported as a result.

As winner of two Scottish Nationals his claims are obvious but in a big field the current 4-1 is a bit short for my liking. Right at the other end of the market is another old friend in the shape of RAZ DE MAREE.

He is a fabulous old plodder who just loves a test of stamina and you know that if he is in the mood he will be bowling along at the end whilst plenty of others have chucked it.

There seems to be a perception that he wants heavy ground and whilst he has had some great performances on heavy he has also won and been placed on good ground.

He was also 8th in Pineau De Re’s Grand National on fairly decent spring ground. He is a class act in this field and at the current odds I can’t let him go unbacked.

Kempton 3.35

This looks a good race with ten runners where it is tricky to rule anyone out. The two at the top of the market are a bit skinny for me – Talkischeap and Glen Rocco – and I think Adrien Du Pont has an obvious chance as well as Didero Vallis, Romain De Senam at a big price and Walt.

My selection however is an old favourite who is remarkably running for the first time at 3 miles. MODUS has been an inconsistent sort but on his day he is an absolute class act. This step up to 3 miles with Barry Geraghty on board and trainer Paul Nicholls in sparkling form could be a masterstroke if he settles well.

2.40pm Newcastle – RAZ DE MAREE – 1pt each way (28-1, RaceBets – paying 5 places)
3.35pm Kempton – MODUS – 2pts each way (12-1, RaceBets)

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