Cheltenham Placepot: Saturday January 24

Henderson's Peace And Co is Triumph Hurdle favourite
Henderson's Peace And Co is Triumph Hurdle favourite

There's a fantastic card at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, and that is where we head for Saturday's attempt at the Placepot...

Peace And Co is likely to be a short price in the opening contest at Cheltenham, though it's well deserved based on the performance he produced on his British debut at Doncaster where he bolted up in a fast time...

12:40 - Peace And Co is likely to be a short price in the opening contest at Cheltenham, though it's well deserved based on the performance he produced on his British debut at Doncaster where he bolted up in a fast time. That represents the best form we've seen from a juvenile hurdler this season - and by some margin - and he ought to bolster his already-impressive Triumph Hurdle claims. He's sure to take up a huge chunk of the market, and does face potentially stamina-sapping conditions, so it's worth including stable companion Bivouac for a bit of insurance as he did well to get up last time having given the leader plenty of rope, and could yet do better.

13:15 - This is a highly-competitive renewal of the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase, and we'll have to go in mob-handed if we're to progress. The first horse to turn to is Tom George's unbeaten chaser Stellar Notion as he won with more in hand than the bare margin would imply at Kempton, idling in front but picking up strongly once challenged to win in ready fashion. He still has more to offer as a chaser, while his superb jumping will stand him in good stead around this course. We will also add Generous Ransom, the horse who finished third to Stellar Notion at Kempton. Generous Ransom did well to get involved at Kempton having made some costly errors, and this stiffer test ought to suit. Carole's Destrier doesn't come here on the back of such a meritorious effort, having been pulled-up at Chepstow last time, but he had previously shown himself to be an exciting chaser and is well worth forgiving, a return to positive tactics likely to pay dividends. 

13:50 - Dynaste is likely to take up a fair chunk of the market, and he clearly holds strong claims based on his excellent staying-on second in the King George. He sets a clear standard on form and is the most likely winner, but if this turns into a real slog he may not be best equipped to cope, and he could be worth taking on for Placepot purposes. Many Clouds absolutely relished the emphasis on stamina when grinding his way to a win in the prestigious Hennessy, and he is well worth a try at this sort of level. As a bold-jumping, strong-staying improver, Many Clouds is the ideal type for a Placepot. He is joined in the permutation by Smad Place. Smad Place was well beaten in the Hennessy, but it's possible he needed the race more than was anticipated, and he is favoured by these weights, so could well bounce back.

14:25 - Sew On Target looked better than ever when winning over an extended two miles here last time, and the step back up in trip shouldn't pose a problem as he's already proven effective at this distance. He's more likely than most to give his running and has to rank high on the shortlist. We will also include Dare Me as he bounced back to form when finishing third on his final start last season, and he has a good record fresh, so has to be respected on his return to action.  

15:00 - There are some progressive types in here but Value At Risk really did look an exciting prospect when destroying his rivals on his hurdling debut and he will take plenty of beating. Value At Risk was making his first start for Dan Skelton when registering that wide-margin Newbury success, and he remains open to improvement having shown a good deal of ability in bumpers for his previous handler. He ought to go extremely close and we will bank on the promising novice. 

15:35 - Saphir du Rheu's beating of Whisper at Ffos Las last season represents the best form on offer, though he does have a question to answer, coming here on the back of a fall over fences at Kempton, and he is worth opposing with Un Temps Pour Tout and Cole Harden. We've yet to see Un Temps Pour Tout this term, but he is a fascinating contender and open to plenty of improvement on just his fourth start for the David Pipe yard. The expensively-purchased Un Temps Pour Tout has yet to tackle three miles, but he shapes as if he'll relish it, and he looks a leading player. Cole Harden was nowhere near his best when getting thumped by Un Temps Pour Tout at Ascot last season, but he's subsequently shown his true worth, impressing with his attitude and stamina. He fared as well as could have been expected over an inadequate trip last time, and should relish the return to three miles.

Recommendations:
12:40- 1,3
13:15- 1, 2, 3
13:50- 3, 6
14:25- 2, 7
15:00- 7
15:35- 1, 4
= 48 lines

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