Tony Calvin has gone through the Cheltenham card in search of big value bets and alighted on two punts for your consideration on day one of the International Meeting
"The handicapper may simply has his measure now, though - he is still 10lb higher than for his Kempton win back in February, after all - but the first-time blinkers that he wears here could sharpen up his jumping. Tizzard is a respectable 5-36 in the last five years when using blinkers for the initial time on his horses."
It's a tricky day's punting, but having nailed my punting colours firmly to the mast of Colin Tizzard's trainer title challenge then I am hoping that he will be walking away from the 13:30 with a winner's cheque for £25,627.50 burning a hole in his pocket.
I am not ruling out that it could come courtesy of his Bally Longford stepping up massively in trip after his third over 2m here last time and in a first-time tongue-tie - the extreme trip-switch worked for his Viconte Du Noyer here last month - but I have to give Theatre Guide another chance.
Blinkers can take Tizzard's horse to a nice win
Connections were expecting a far bigger run from him than his 17-length eighth in the Hennessy last time - especially so after a summer wind op saw him finish a good second over an extended, though inadequate, 2m3f at Wetherby on his reappearance - but it was his customary lack of fluency at his fences that cost him dear in the hugely-competitive handicap.
The handicapper may simply has his measure now, though - he is still 10lb higher than for his Kempton win back in February, after all - but the first-time blinkers that he wears here could sharpen up his jumping. Tizzard is a respectable 5-36 in the last five years when using blinkers for the initial time on his horses.
Tizzard left the usual cheek pieces off the horse at Newbury - just as he did when he was second in the race the year before - and he has presumably seen what he has liked when he has worked him in blinkers at home since Newbury.
Theatre Guide can also boast a second to Monbeg Dude in this race in 2013, and, all in all, he looks a fair price at 9.08/1.
Un Ace definitely has a handicap in him off 140 but by the time I think he will be given his optimum conditions - 2m6f or less, on decent ground - he could even be a shade lower. He is one to watch out for, but perhaps not over 3m2f with a 7lb claimer up today.
My verdict on the rest of the card...
I'll take the rest of the card in chronological order, and that brings in a cracking six-runner novices chase at 12:20.
However, trying to narrow it down to five from six is hard enough - Arpege D'Alene would be my token choice - so I can't get too excited by it from a betting point of view.
The same is pretty much true of the mares handicap chase at 12:55 but I thought Treaty Girl ran better than the bare form would suggest on her fencing debut at Huntingdon last month - though she is a point-to-point winner - and I thought a mark of 125 was fair enough for her.
Regular readers will know that I don't touch Cross Country races with a bargepole, but there is certainly no shortage of international flavour in the 14:05.
We don't have a Josies Order or a Balthazar King this year, but Gallo's Star has been doing the equine version of Inter-Railing - one for the 40-somethings there who miss-spent their sixth form summer holidays wreaking havoc on the trains in Europe - while Ireland is well represented as ever, and the Czechs have sent over Delight My Fire.
Third Intention was fourth over these fences at the Festival and he could prove good enough here if returning to the form of his Old Roan win but who knows? I don't.
I am sorry about this but nothing is floating my boat - or bargepole - either in the 14:40.
I thought For Good Measure was a touch disappointing over 2m5f here last time but I expect better from him over this longer trip, and if Anteros is in the same form as he was when winning here on the bridle in first-time cheekpieces last month then he is the one they all have to beat off just a 7lb higher mark.
Dresden can overcome long lay-off in the 15:15
We do have another bet, though. Dresden has been given a big chance by the handicapper in the 15:15 and I have to back him at odds of 14.013/1 or bigger.
Yes, he meets a whole host of younger, less exposed horses in here - and he hasn't raced over hurdles for 14 months, and could be tapped for toe - but at least he does so on a very attractive mark.
He is 14lb lower over hurdles than fences and he comes here on the back of an excellent fourth to Sire De Grugy in what I think is a pretty hot handicap chase at Ascot, and one run in a good time, too. Rated 141 over fences - he was raised to 149 after winning that very race last year - but now only 127 over hurdles, he has to be worth chancing.
That Ascot run was his best effort for a while - though he was a bit hesitant at two or three of his fences - and if he can translate that effort to the smaller obstacles then he can put these in their place.
The novices' hurdle at 15:45 is choc-full of unexposed and exciting youngsters, some of whom are making their hurdling debuts after showing tremendous promise in winning their bumpers.
I found it impossible to have a betting opinion on the race - though I wouldn't have been the only one to see the promise of Pingshou's Newbury fourth - so this is yet another race that I will leave alone.
Back Theatre Guide at 9.08/1 in the 13:30 at Cheltenham
Back Dresden @ 14.013/1 or bigger in the 15:15 at Cheltenham