5.15 Cheltenham – Hobbs’ Rougham ready plan to succeed

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There are plenty of trends to follow in thie Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase which many will have known as the Jewson, but the problem is a lot of these handicappers fill plenty of the criteria.

For instance, the last five winners of this race were officially rated between 133 and 139.

Taking that into account, the only horses in the 20-runner field we can rule out are Songe (33/1) and Drivers (8/1 co-favourite).

That leaves us with 18 and in the seven-year history of this race, every winner finished first or second last time out, every winner has won only once over fences and every winner had been beaten on their first two starts over fences.

With four 8/1 co-favourites in this betting market – Definity, Divers, Quantitativeeasing and Tullamore Dew – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that there aren’t many fancied horses in this race.

However there are only eight horses who finished first or second last time out, and with Divers being one of them, punters can whittle the field down to seven runners.

Only one horse fills all of the above criteria and that is the Philip Hobbs-trained Rougham who is available at 20/1.

Hobbs won this race last year with Copper Bleu and in Lacdoudal, he trained a horse who finished second in this race in 2002 despite giving 20lbs to the winner Fondmort.

At 11st 7lb, Rougham is handily weighted and as only one of two five-year-olds in the race, is relatively unexposed and will relish the left-handed track of Cheltenham as he has a tendency to jump left.

Of the others, Osric (20/1) finished 1/2 length behind Rougham at Ascot giving 3lbs to the winner.

At the bottom of the weights and receiving 2lbs from Rougham, Osric can also run a big race despite falling under top weight last time out.

A £20 stake on Rougham winning the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase would return £420. New customers can sign up here for a free Cheltenham bet worth up to £60.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.