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Cheltenham: Watch out for Williams’ trio but Tatenan can win

| 13.03.2014

The Byrne Group Plate is traditionally one of the hardest races to predict during Festival week with only two favourites winning since 1985.

Last year Carrick Boy (16/1) produced one of the shocks of the week when leading the field home at 50/1 and he takes his place in a 24-horse line-up.

The Venetia Williams-trained nag showed signs of recapturing his old form when third to stablemate Bennys Mist (20/1)  last time out at Wincanton.

The Aramstone based trainer has an excellent record in this contest with three winners but she has also prepared five other placed horses from just 13 runners.

She also saddles Shangani (14/1) as she bids to win this contest for a fourth time.

Other trainers to respect in this race are David Pipe and Nicky Henderson, who alongside Williams, have won seven of the last nine renewals.

Pipe’s challenge is led by Ballynagour, who was pulled up in the Gold Cup chase here last November, and Wetak, while Henderson sends out Nadiya De La Vega and Giorgio Quercus.

Both those horses are supported by the fact French bred horses have won 50% of runnings since 1999 and have finished second on five other occasions.

Horses rated higher than 141 in the official rankings have only one twice in the last 26 of these races and that would rule out top weight Champion Court and Jonjo O’Neill’s charge Johns Spirit.

Colour Squadron, Tap Night and Third Intention would also have to buck that trend as they are also ranked higher than that mark.

With 12 of the last 13 winners of this race all starting at double-figure odds it is well worth looking for some value and Tatenen, in the colours of the Stewart family, ticks plenty of boxes.

The French horse is 25/1 with Ladbrokes and he has run well at the Festival in the past. In his last outing, Richard Rowe’s charge close at Sandown off his current mark and we are backing Andy Thornton to lead him home at Prestbury Park.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew