A distinct pre-Cheltenham mood sits over the day's National Hunt cards, though there still looks a fair chance of landing the Placepot at Taunton.
"Once these Venetia Williams-trained handicappers get on a roll they usually keep going for a while, so her Jupiter Rex looks a good opportunity to throw in a banker on leg four."
14:10 - This is an above-average seller, with several boasting a fair level of recent hurdles form. Get It On hasn't been at his very best of late, though he's shaped better than the result on unsuitably heavy ground the last twice and is under more suitable conditions this time. He's not quite banker material in this company, though, so we're going to strengthen our hand in this leg with No To Trident, who hasn't had much racing and should have been put right by a respectable run on his return from almost two years off last time.
14:40 - In most circumstances, we'd be reluctant to bank on Fox Run given a couple of disappointing runs since his impressive hurdling debut. However, considering his only two serious rivals have each only one bumper run to their name we find ourselves in the position where a banker on Fox Run is the least speculative approach.
15:10 - There's no room for speculation in leg three. We have just four runners, with none that can be dismissed, so the only realistic option open to us is to take them all.
15:40 - Once these Venetia Williams-trained handicappers get on a roll they usually keep going for a while, so her Jupiter Rex looks a good opportunity to throw in a banker on leg four. He's on the same mark as when dotting up over fences at Plumpton on Monday, not appearing to endure an especially difficult race so fatigue shouldn't be an issue, either.
16:10 - Banking on another odds-on favourite might well appear unimaginative on the face of it, but Thunderstorm looked to have so much in hand when winning at Market Rasen last time that a 7 lb penalty shouldn't be anything near enough to stop him going in again. What's more, if he's to have any chance of getting into the Martin Pipe, his sole Cheltenham entry, then he'll have to win handsomely.
16:40 - This hunter can be quickly whittled down to just two. Cave Hill and Swansbrook are the only contenders with enough in the way of recent form to make them viable Placepot candidates. Swansbrook has a point win to his name from earlier this month, but he has long-standing jumping concerns and Taunton is no place to bring such baggage. Cave Hill has usually looked more assured in his jumping, while there was enough promise in his return from a lay-off at Ffos Las (in a much stronger race than this) to think he'll be back on song now. All that considered, we're recommending a banker on Cave Hill, but feel free to take Swansbrook too if you're so inclined.
14:10 - 5, 8
14:40 - 1
15:10 - 1, 2, 3, 4
15:40 - 5
16:10 - 4
16:40 - 2
= 8 lines
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