17:15 Cheltenham: Carlito Brigante a clear pick at the weights
On paper, the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase may look like a bit of a minefield, but those towards the head of the market tend to do well and Carlito Brigante can become the second winning favourite in succession.
Hunt Ball did the honours for favourite backers 12 months ago at 13/2 and Carlito Brigante is currently a similar price at 7/1.
He looks absolutely thrown in based on a performance behind Dynaste at Cheltenham in November and he is potentially running off a 15lb lower mark than what he could be.
The one weakness appears to be the ground, with Carlito Brigante arguably preferring a quicker surface, but given his position at the weights, he is a worthy favourite and trainer Gordon Elliott has not run him over fences since, possibly to protect his mark.
Another factor in his favour is that seven-year-olds have a positive strike rate and have been responsible for six of the last eight winners.
One horse that should like the ground more than most is Colour Squadron at 6/1, but his jumping has been largely iffy and he is hard to trust as a result.
The Druids Nephew is one of the more interesting entrants at 6/1 and is another who may have slipped in off a lower mark than he should have, while he fits the bill of seven of the last eight winners who headed into this contest having lost on their first two chase starts.
Furthermore, Tom Scudamore’s mount is 2-2 over the 2m4f trip and is deserving of each-way attention.
Of those at bigger prices, this is by far the biggest assignment for Arthur’s Pass, but he has continued to beat what has been put in front of him and at 14/1 he could run into a place.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.