Ante-post horse racing betting tips for the JLT Novices’ Chase on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival
The JLT is a relatively new addition to the Festival but fills the need for a two and a half mile novice chase with future Ryanair hopefuls on show. This year's renewal looks filled with quality and racing fans should be in for a treat. Here is our ante-post betting preview of the race.
Cheltenham Festival JLT Novices’ Chase Betting Tips
Last season's Supreme Hurdle winner, VAUTOUR (3/1 Coral), heads the betting here after an easy win in a small field contest last time. He was beaten over Christmas when unable to recover from a mistake at a crucial time, something he can't afford over these fences. He went well on better ground in the Spring which should help him with this the furthest he has tackled so far but they are minor negatives considering his overall level of form and he deserves to be the race favourite.
Ptit Zig heads the challenge for the British in the face of a very strong raiding party. He is unbeaten in four chase starts looking solid but arguably he would prefer soft ground to be seen at his absolute best. He has won on good ground at Sandown but that wasn't the strongest race and he was running off a handicap mark of just 134 at the time.
Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido have met twice this season with the score one apiece between them. Only half a length separated them off levels at Leopardstown last time so there is likely to be little between them again. The latter is possibly the more talented of the two and shades the vote between the pair.
Gilgamboa looks likely to choose this route from his Festival entries having been unable to cope with Un De Sceaux last time. He is among the most lightly raced of the field and looked smart in his first two wins over the bigger obstacles. This demands more but there are plenty who felt he was a live Arkle candidate before his latest run so he must be given due respect.
Of the others, a bit of a forgotten outsider would appear to be CLOSE TOUCH (E/W) (25/1 Betfred) for Nicky Henderson. He skated up on his return from a long absence at Wincanton before the dreaded 'bounce factor' may have been his undoing just three weeks later. He wasn't unduly knocked about having been badly hampered on that occasion with Cogry boosting the form at Warwick next time out. Given plenty of time to get over those exertions in barely raceable conditions, he can certainly outrun his price.
This year’s renewal of the JLT looks to be dominated by Irish challengers spearheaded by VAUTOUR who would be closer to evens if not for the blip over Christmas. This is likely to be his target providing nothing untoward happens with Un De Sceaux and he is still a backable price given his level of form. For those interested in bigger priced e/w options, CLOSE TOUCH is worthy of consideration. His run at Haydock is easy to forgive coming too close on the heels of his return. He made a huge impression winning the EBF final at Sandown in 2013, thrashing the 165 rated Many Clouds and the 164 rated Whisper 12 and 13 lengths respectively. If able to produce anything close to that here, he should run a solid race.
Ante-Post JLT Novices’ Chase Cheltenham Festival Tips –
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