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Cheltenham Festival handicappers to follow: Killala Quay

| 26.02.2015

The Cheltenham ante-post betting markets have entered a fascinating period, with the announcement of the handicap weights influential in deciding many runners’ festival targets.

Among the entries for the 11 such contests played out across the four days of the greatest show on turf will be countless horses with plenty of improvement up their sleeves.

Charlie Longsdon’s Killala Quay is one such contender, with festival form, a fair handicap mark and the potential to improve given good ground to recommend him to punters.

His handler has a rotten record at Cheltenham, but if that’s ever going to change then this son of Karinga could be the gelding for the job.

The eight-year-old is entered in both the Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe Conditionals Hurdle over timber and he can be backed at 40/1 in both races.

He would undoubtedly be one to bear in mind in either contest, but it is over the larger obstacles that he looks particularly unexposed.

Longsdon’s handicapper also holds entries for both the CHAPS Restaurant Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase on the Tuesday and the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate.

Both are contested over a 2m4f trip at which Killala Quay has never been beaten in three runs.

In his first season over fences he is naturally shorter for the former at 20/1 than the latter, for which he is a 25/1 shot.

A 6l-fourth to Faugheen (now rated 168) in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s festival, he had accounted for Beat That over timber at Sandown earlier in the same campaign.

That one went on to win Grade 1 Novice events over 3m at Aintree and Punchestown, downing subsequent graded winners Cole Harden and Don Poli in the process.

Having switched to fences this term he is still a maiden after three runs, but each was on going described as soft.

Killala Quay has won four of his seven races on good-to-soft or better, but never struck in soft or heavy conditions, suggesting a fair deal of improvement could be found for good ground at the festival off his current mark of 140.

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

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Thomas Reynolds