Cheltenham: McLernon and Holywell can reap rewards again

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 The last 14 winners of the Baylis &Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase have been officially rated 143 or less and if that trend continues the previous two winners of this race Alfie Sherrin and Golden Chieftain look to have a lot to do if they are to repeat their 2012 and 2013 victories.

Following that trend there has not been a winner rated 150 or higher since 1983 which could make life extremely difficult for the likes of Nicky Henderson’s charge Hadrian’s Approach and Irish raider Cantlow.

But on a more positive note for that pair, nine of the past 13 winners of this contest have started in the first four in the betting.

Cantlow and Hadrian’s Approach currently occupy the top two spots at the head of the market and our joined by Holywell and Green Flag.

Cheltenham form also looks to be a big pointer with seven of the last 16 winners of this race placing at the Festival previously.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Holywell is a previous Cheltenham winner having won the Pertemps Final at last year’s Festival with Richie McLernon onboard.

The Irishman, who has spent much of his career in the shadow of champion jockey AP McCoy, rides the seven-year-old again and looks to have an excellent chance of a second Festival winner at Prestbury Park.

Another tick in the box for the Gay Smith-owned horse is the trainer’s record in this race. O’Neill has trained the winner twice in the last 11 years and also gone close on two other occasions so entries from the Jackdaws Castle stable should be respected.

On the other hand, this has not been a great race for Paul Nicholls in the past having saddled 16 runners without success so far and that run looks set to continue with Pacha Du Polder not fancied to make an impact out at 33/1.

Other contenders to consider are David Pipe’s duo of the Package and Standing Ovation, while Time For Rupert and recent winners Restless Harry and Wrong Turn look to have decent chances.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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