Been in fine form in points
Likely strong pace to suit
Brain Power is overpriced in the Hunters' Chase
Running well in points this season
Cheltenham 16:10: Brain Power 1pt e/w 80/1
The obvious candidates head the market for the race formerly known as the Foxhunter but their chances haven't been underestimated whereas I think there are a couple at bigger prices that could run better than the market suggests.
The first of those is Brain Power who is an unfathomably big price considering his exploits in the Irish pointing field this season. While the Irish PTP ratings aren't an absolute guide to achievements, Brain Power has achieved the third highest rating this season behind Samcro and Ferns Lock. That came when he bolted up at Tattersalls in October, pulling his way into the lead approaching 3 out and easing clear in the home straight to win by a wide margin.
His defeat prior to that at Umma House can easily be forgiven as Brooksway Fair was simply given far too much rope in front and Brain Power would have won at Turtulla but for coming down at 2 out.
He bounced back from that with a very easy success at Borris House when cruising to the front on the long run to 2 out and drawing away late on while not being asked.
Brain Power did have to work harder for victory last time when beating Samurai Cracker but I'm not sure the track or circumstances of that race played to his strong travelling strengths.
This race is likely to be run at a strong pace and that could set the race up nicely for Brain Power if they go back to dropping him out with a view to closing late.
Ground conditions are no issue to him but there is a concern over his jumping as it has let him down in points at various times and even in victory he's made some bad mistakes.
However, even allowing for that concern, I think he's a crazy price given the talent he's still been showing and any 40/1 or bigger appeals.
Addition of cheekpieces to help
Cheltenham 16:10: Secret Investor 0.5pt e/w 18/1
The other horse of some interest at the prices is Secret Investor who wears cheekpieces for the first time.
He ran in a handicap at Chepstow in December off 158 before being switched to hunter chasing and he's registered two comfortable successes in this sphere. He wasn't doing a tap in front at Bangor when beating Dieu Vivant and the only concern at Kelso came when he lunged at 3 out before going away for a wide-margin success.
I'm hoping the application of cheekpieces will sharpen up his mind and not only lead to more focus in the closing stages but also with his jumping and that can improve as a result.
I think he's more tactically versatile than it may appear as he ran well when sitting a few lengths off Native River in the 2020 Denman Chase so he doesn't need to make the running and there could be plenty of competition for the lead so tracking may be a better option today.
He could ideally do with quicker ground and he can edge to the right at fences but his class could see him have no issue tracking a strong pace while others falter and any 14/1 or bigger appeals.