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17:15 Cheltenham – Idarah to sweep to victory off light weight

| 15.03.2012

The Grand Annual is the final race of the Cheltenham Festival and some punters will certainly be celebrating if Idarah can triumph at 16/1

With horses generally losing their pace as they age, the Grand Annual is hard to call because many of the runners do not have the required speed over 2m.

This could suit the younger challengers and as the sole five-year-old in the race, Kumbeshwar may hold an advantage in the speed department.

He also has Cheltenham Festival form after finishing second in the Fred Winter last year and so 14/1 looks reasonable each-way value that he can go close again.

Weight is the other obvious factor that can slow horses down and it is arguably no surprise that the most recent winners have come from the foot of the handicap.

Nine of the 11 last winners have been officially rated by the handicap at no more than 134 and only two runners this year fit in with this trend.

Of the duo, Idarah looks the more likely victor, especially after winning off a big weight in Ireland on his latest start.

Now he is receiving weight from all round and also has in his favour that this victory was last month and 19 of the last 20 Grand Annual winners had enjoyed their last run in either February or March prior to Cheltenham.

The other that adheres to the rating trend is Norther Bay and he is not without a chance at 40/1 if reproducing some of his chase form from Ireland in the summer months.

Meanwhile, with Ireland responsible for four of the last 12 Grand Annual runners from largely a minimal number of runners, this must be a further boost to the chances of both Idarah and Norther Bay.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.