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Renard ripe to win Cheltenham’s long-shot friendly handicap

| 05.03.2014

When searching for that bolt-out-of-the-blue outsider to back at Cheltenham, which can turn your festival betting experience into one to tell the grandkids about, look no further than Thursday’s Byrne Group Plate.

This handicap chase contested over 2m5f has proved to be the nemesis of the favourite and firm friend of the bookmakers in recent times, with nine of the last ten winners sent off at 12/1 or bigger.

Only 2012 favourite, Salut Flo, broke the sequence of long-odds winners in this race in the last six years, with five of the past six winners going off at 66/1, 33/1, 18/1, 25/1 and 50/1.

Among the well-fancied in the ante-post market for this year’s edition are J.P McManus’ Colour Squadron, heading the betting alongside Tap Night at 10/1, while Attaglance – a festival winner from last year over hurdles at just shy of this trip – seems a better option at 16/1.

But given the recent rich trend for this race to throw-in an absolute howitzer-of-a-price winner, there are plenty of other horses to consider further down the extensive preliminary list of entries.

One trainer with a particular affinity for the fifth race of the third day of Cheltenham is Venetia Williams, who not only readied last year’s 50/1 winner Carrickboy, but has trained three of the last seven victors.

Carrickboy is 20/1 for the back-to-back victory here, though other Williams interests in the Plate, Aachen and Gardefort, at 33s may appeal more.

However, we’d plump for 33/1-shot Renard out of the Williams yard, as the 9-yr-old has won twice over fences already this season on good-to-soft, which is likely to be the prevalent conditions at this year’s festival.

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

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.