13:30 Cheltenham: Back In Focus the clear one to beat over 4m

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The National Hunt Chase has become a favourites race in recent years and Back In Focus can follow in the footsteps of Chicago Grey and Teaforthree by landing the honours this time.

Back In Focus is the 3/1 favourite and not only have the last two winners been the market leader, but also the highest rated in the field.

This makes sense that the best horse wins, given that the penalty system that previously handicapped Grade One winners was dispensed with in 2010.

Another factor that boosts the chances of Back In Focus is that all of the last 10 winners arrived at Cheltenham off the back of four runs in the same season.

Back In Focus has won all three of these over the larger obstacles and the courage he displayed in rallying to win over 3m last time suggests he has the qualities to grind this out, even if his breeding does leave some doubts over whether he is certain to stay.

Meanwhile, this race has not typically been very lucky for Mullins as he still seeks a first winner as a trainer, despite sending some strong contenders over from Ireland in the past.

Jockey bookings are also of bigger importance here than in many everyday races and Nico de Boinville is one of the best amateurs in the game at present.

He has won on two of his last three mounts and is set to be on board Godsmejudge in the National Hunt Chase.

Stamina is clearly his forte and the fact he has come second already this season over 3m5f shows promise to his chances at 7/1.

Mr Derek O’Connor is another jockey worth keeping on side and the fact that he has already ridden two Cheltenham winners in the past shows that he knows what to expect from the course.

He will be on board Rival D’Estruval this time, who is among the market leaders at 4/1 and could not have won any more comprehensively on his latest start at Kelso, although this was back in December.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.