I CAN almost taste Cheltenham now and I can't wait for the first race on Tuesday but before then we have a good selection of Saturday racing across the UK and Ireland.
I have three selections that have caught the eye and look like good opportunities to boost our Cheltenham betting bank.
This is a nice little competitive novices handicap with plenty of improving types in the field. Melrose Boy and Turtle Wars are both appealing to some extent but QUICK PICK at bigger odds is very interesting. Jennie Candlish has had 3 winners from just 5 runners in March so far which suggests that her stable are in cracking form. Quick Pick is one that went into my notebook in October when he was 2nd to Better Getalong at Ayr. Since then he has won twice and was also third to Vinndication who is a rapid improver. I think Quick Pick could still have a good bit more to offer at this higher level.
We have a great race in store here to get us in the mood for the festival and there are a few with chances including Whatswrongwithyou and Le Patriote who both have obvious appeal. The market reflects their chances though and the one that is a slightly better price with a very good chance is MASTER OF IRONY ridden by the champ Richard Johnson. He was a close up 4th to High Bridge last time out in December and I rate that horse quite highly along with the other runners in that race. Master of Irony finished very strongly and I think if he can be ridden more prominently in this race he will be bang there at the finish and could go very close.
3.40 Gowran Park
It's not often I venture across the Irish Sea looking for a bet on a Saturday but COEUR JOYEUX is a horse I have had my eye on since he won really nicely in November at Punchestown. He has since been dropped back in trip slightly and I think what he really wants is the strong 3 miles he'll get in this race. I fancy him to run a really big race and can't let him go unsupported at odds of 16/1.
Good luck to everyone today and stay tuned for my daily Cheltenham guides. I'll have one for each day of the festival where I will preview every race and save you a lot of the legwork. Day One should be up on the site on Sunday evening or Monday morning.