Off to Cheltenham today for the three day Paddy Power meeting so having analysed the Cheltenham and Newcastle cards in some detail I have come up with no less than four selections.
P&L at advised prices since 24/8 +18.97
Newcastle 12.30 Zaru 1/2PT E/W@6/1 B365 5th(9/1)
Overall Zaru has a disappointing profile having failed to win a race so far, but I am the price I am prepared to give him one last chance. A hard puller that has been difficult to settle in previous races he showed similar traits at Kelso first time out this season, but was still in with a chance at the 2nd last when he fell. The winner of that race Simply Ned defied a penalty in very easy fashion at Kelso earlier this week. This is no better than the race at Kelso so assuming Brian Hughes can get him to settle then there is a good chance he will be able to fulfil the promise he showed in bumpers last season.
Cheltenham 1.10 Time For Spring 1/2PT E/W@6/1 Various 5th(10/3F)
A winner of his only novice chase Time For Spring looks well handicapped off a mark of 125 and the jockey booking of Sam Waley-Cohen looks significant. Although I initially was not overly impressed with his win at Carlisle the form of the races has worked out well with the 2nd and 3rd winning next time out and his trainer commented after the race that he will improve again when he steps up to 3 miles which he does for the first time tomorrow.
Cheltenham 2.55 Prospect Wells 1PT WIN@7/2 Boylesports 2nd (9/2)
I was very impressed with the debut of Prospect Wells at Chepstow just over two weeks ago in particular the ease with which he scythed through the field from the 3rd last. He was a decent stayer on the flat and the extra test of Cheltenham will play to his strengths together with the weight he receives from the favourite Steps To Freedom.
Cheltenham 4.05 Cue Card 1PT WIN @13/8 William Hill UR (7/4)
This race is worth the admission fee alone as Cue Card takes on Grand Crus in best novice chase of the season so far. Cue Card really impressed me at this meeting last season and was very impressed with his seasonal debut at Chepstow with the second and third winning since. I expect Grand Crus to develop into one of the top staying novices this season, but over this trip, with a fitness advantage and his stable bang in form it has to be Cue Card for me.