16:00 Cheltenham: Might be worth giving Tartak one more chance
Tartak has been a consistent source of frustration for punters and not finished in the first three in any race since January 2011, but he has snuck into the Byrne Group Plate and could spring a major surprise at 20/1.
The top two in the betting will steal the majority of the limelight, with Ballynagour winning on his British debut at a canter and Hunt Ball out to prove that a return to handicap company was the right decision.
Ballynagour is the heavy 4/1 favourite and trainer David Pipe has won the Byrne Group Plate in two of the last three years with Great Endeavour and Salut Flo.
He has been raised 20lb for the most facile of successes on his British debut, but that may not be enough to stop him landing a double.
After all, Golden Chieftain was some 24 lengths behind him at Warwick and has franked the form by winning the JLT Speciality Handicap earlier in the week.
Ballynagour’s jumping was slightly erratic at times last time though and so some punters may find preference with the top weight Hunt Ball.
Trainer Kieran Burke has been bullish over his chances for a while and insists that he is more confident than before Cheltenham last year, when a successful favourite of the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Chase.
Hunt Ball is 8/1 to win the Byrne Group Plate, but he is running off 157 and this has certainly been a race dominated by those at the foot of the handicap in recent years.
Only two of the last 25 winners had competed off a mark greater than 141, while the first three home in each of the last four seasons have carried no more than 11st.
Tartak is right at the bottom of the weights this time and is exceedingly well handicapped on his best form, notably when fourth in a Grade One when 22lb higher than his current mark.
He has been fourth in three of his last four starts and a repeat here would see him in the each-way money at his hefty price.
Divers is another that is potentially well treated at the lower end of the weights and is another worthy of each-way consideration at 16/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.