Cheltenham Preview: Keltus weighted to go well
Cheltenham stage a cracking seven-race card today, and Keltus looks weighted to take the beating in the the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (15:15).
The gelding started his career in France before joining Paul Nicholls, and made a winning debut for the Ditcheat-based handler in a juvenile hurdle at Chepstow in October 2013.
Keltus went on to finish a cracking fourth of 24 to Hawk High in the 2m 1f Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, staying on strongly to be beaten just three lengths in the ultra-competitive 24-runner class 1 contest off a mark of 128.
The five-year-old backed that up with a solid fourth of 13 to Dispour at Sandown off 131, and now switches back to hurdles off a rating of 135 following four runs over fences this season.
That makes Keltus look nicely treated on the pick of his form, especially with the highly talented Sean Bowen in the saddle whose claim takes another 3lb of his back.
Whats Happening has slipped markedly in the weights and can take advantage to score an overdue success in the extended 3m 4f handicap chase (14:40)
This gelding was a dual chase winner in Ireland and ran really well on his debut for trainer Tom George when a six length runner-up to Easter Day at Newbury back in November 2013 off a mark of 137.
The eight-year-old also posted a solid effort three starts back when third to Tale Of Milan in the class 2 London National over 3m 6f at Sandown off 131, and is now able to race in this lower grade class 3 affair off 4lb lower (127).
That gives Whats Happening every chance from a handicapping perspective, and the son of Lahib looks sure to appreciate the step back up in trip after rallying to finish third to Global Power over 3m at Ludlow last time out.
In the 2m 5f handicap chase (15:50), Fox Appeal can makes his class tell to defy top weight and land the spoils.
This Emma Lavelle trained gelding was a smart hurdler who has won two times over fences, with the last of those successes coming in a 2m 4f graduation chase back in November where he ran on strongly after the last to dead-heat with Theatre Guide at Kempton.
Eight-year-old Fox Appeal has since posted two solid efforts to finish runner-up, and ran a blinder off his current rating of 152 at Kempton 15 months ago when a 1 3/4 length third to Balder Succes in the Pendil Novices’ Chase.
The winner was rated 163 before sadly losing his life after a fall at Aintree, and Fox Appeal finished just a short-head behind subsequent Arkle runner-up God’s Own who is now rated 160.
That form reads very well in the context of this contest and suggests Fox Appeal is the one to beat.
14:05 Might Bite
14:40 Whats Happening (NB)
15:15 Keltus (NAP)
15:50 Fox Appeal
16:25 Optimistic Bias
17:00 Un Ace
17:30 San Benedeto