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2016 Cheltenham Festival ante post plays: Some Plan the County Hurdle punt

David Metcalf | March 4, 2016

Some Plan can come together in County Handicap Hurdle

Trainer Paul Nicholls has a good record in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and his Some Plan looks decent each-way value at 20/1 with Coral in the ante post betting for this year’s running of the 2m contest on Friday, March 18th.

The Ditcheat handler has won the race four times, courtesy of Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Lac Fontana (2014).

In Some Plan he has a lightly-raced and unexposed gelding who has caught the eye in two runs this season since coming into his care.

Plenty of promise in competitive contests

Paul Nicholls

The eight-year-old, who was previously with Tom George, travelled strongly on debut for Nicholls when fifth of 10 to Lil Rockerfeller at Sandown before weakening late on as lack of race fitness took its toll.

Lil Rockferfeller is a real tough and consistent sort who has since gone on to land a Grade 2 contest at Fontwell and is now rated 154 so, in the circumstances, it was a fine effort by Some Plan on his first start since finishing 10th behind Douvan in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.

Some Plan has since gone on to finish a fine fourth of 21 to Jolly’s Cracked It in a valuable and ultra-competitive handicap at Ascot.

After being held-up in midfield, the eight-year-old made stealthy headway on the inside three from home and loomed up looking the likely winner at the second last.

However, Some Plan lost all momentum when making a costly blunder and it was to his credit that he stuck to the task well to be beaten just 2 3/4 lengths.

Revised mark looks exploitable

It was an effort which suggested the son of Winged love had a big handicap in him and, although now 5lb higher in the weights, the form of the race reads well and Some Plan’s revised mark of 145 should not be beyond him.

It’s also interesting that Nicholls has resisted the temptation to run Some Plan since – presumably to ensure his mark doesn’t go up again.

Ascot

He clearly believes he has a potentially well-treated horse on his hands, and the County is the sole entry that Some Plan has at this year’s four-day spectacular.

Laid out and guaranteed to get a run

It suggests that the race has been the ultimate aim for Some Plan for some time, and another plus is that he sits 24th in the list of 96 remaining entries for the race on 10st 11lb.

The maximum field for the County is 26, so Some Plan is not reliant on others coming out of the race to get in and guaranteed to get a run.

Related

Cheltenham will soon be upon us, so check out our dedicated Festival page.

Coral’s ante post play: Some Plan each-way at 20/1 in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle.

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