Cheltenham: Clondaw to be Russell’s Knight in shining armour

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Lucinda Russell knows what it feels like to train a Cheltenham Festival winner, having landed the 2012 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle with the late Brindisi Breeze and she may well enter the winners’ enclosure again with Clondaw Knight in the Kim Muir.

Punters will do well to have seen an easier winner in 2015 than Clondaw Knight, who landed the spoils by 14 lengths at Wetherby in January with jockey Peter Buchanan repeatedly looking through his legs and over his shoulder between the final three fences.

That was a debut over a trip of at least 3m and he was hiked 13lb for his last start at Ascot over a similar trip, when a good second to the progressive Carole’s Destrier.

Clondaw Knight did look to be travelling the best three out that day and had the excuse of losing a shoe. The fact that he retains the same mark of 140 for the Kim Muir does seem slightly lenient, with the winner going up 10lb for his success.

He fits key three trends of the Kim Muir too, with the last six winners carrying at least 11st 6lb to victory, each of the last 14 competing over a minimal distance of 3m last time and the top two in both of the last two renewals were seven years old.

Clondaw Knight is seven, has been running over the required trip and is due to carry 11st 7lb around Cheltenham’s New Course here.

Taking all of this into account, 16/1 looks a big price on Clondaw Knight winning the Kim Muir.

As an alternative, Ericht is a horse that has been seen to have plenty of ability in the past, but has failed to fulfil expectation.

He was sent off at 8/1 for a Grade 3 hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and was travelling as well as anything entering the home straight, before weakening into eighth late on.

Taking into account the claim of his jockey here, Ericht gets in off an 8lb lower mark and although his stamina has to be taken on trust, 33/1 is a profitable each-way price, with the first four home earning money for punters.

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.