Cheltenham Countdown: The Bankers

Banker each way: Colour Squadron. Followers of my Cheltenham Countdown would know I am a big fan of this horse. Having seen him bolt up in a Chepstow bumper, he has run some solid races over timber. 2nd at Newbury earlier in the season, he won on his next start ahead of Montbazon, a well regarded Alan King Horse…

Last time out, how shall we put this, he showed greenness to lose the Tolworth at Sandown. My thoughts on the race was that he made the running as nothing else wanted to lead and idled on the run in. Personally, I think he will settle in behind the leaders where a decent gallop is the norm in the Supreme. Generally 16/1. (Note: could run Sat 11th Feb if Newbury is on)

Banker: Sizing Europe. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Becoming to be one of the most reliable in the jumps game. Arkle winner 2010, Champion Chaser 2011, his pedigree is second to none going into this year’s race. At the age of 10 you may say he is regressing but his form this year has been as good as ever. Easily landing the Tingle Creek, he dismissed Big Zeb in the Tied Cottage at Punchestown. Henry De Bromhead is becoming a big race trainer and his marquee horse is currently best priced 5/4. Get on!

Each Way Gem: Merdermit is 12/1 for the Ryanair. I believe that is an outstanding each way bet. Loves Cheltenham, second in the supreme three years ago, his chase career hasn’t hit heights expected. 4th in last year’s Arkle, he showed a return to form LTO at Cheltenham in the December handicap chase (one of the most competitive this year). As you can see, he likes Cheltenham. Horses that act round Prestbury are key at the Festival. Year in, year out, horses with course form do well. Buena Vista, Binocular, Sizing Europe, Poquelin, I could be here a while. Just back him each way!

Nicholls sneaky one Rocky Creek has done nothing wrong this year, 2nd in a hurdle at Exeter, he cruised to win a grade 2 over 3miles at Doncaster last time. A chaser in the making, he has stamina in abundance and reminds me of Pride of Dulcote (2nd in this race a few years back). 14/1 best price!

Well as you can see, I’ve gone for the shorties…Seriously, I think Big Bucks will win as much as everyone, but I’d loathe to put up a 1/2 shot. Also Thinking Hurricane Fly might be worth a lay, he is not as sound as other horses and I just have an inkling Oscar Well will run him a lot closer on better ground at the festival. Well, I hope you have enjoyed my Cheltenham Countdown and wish you the best of British come mid march, 4 weeks to go!

Article submitted by Rob Holmes.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of