Now we know the jumps are back, with National Hunt racing’s campaign ‘curtain raiser’ the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase coming up at Wetherby, with plenty of quality backup on Channel 4.
To mark the occasion, we’ve plucked out three value bets:
The last two winners of the Charlie Hall Chase – Cue Card and Menorah – are back and priced up at 4/6 favourite and 10/1, but both are at least a decade old.
Each of the past 11 winners were nine or under, so go right down the middle and plump for Nigel-Twiston Davies’ Cheltenham Festival RSA Chase winner.
Blaklion looks around the right age at seven-years-old, carries 5lbs less than Colin Tizzard’s favourite and has Wetherby form in the bank from Grade 2 Chase success last February.
Remarkably, bottom weights won this in both 2012 and 2014, so looking down the card could pay dividends.
Dan Skelton’s 11/4 favourite Yorkist doesn’t carry too much at 10-12, but he’d be the best-backed winner in a decade at those odds, with no horse returned shorter than 9/2 since 2006.
Right at the foot of the weights, carrying 3lbs fewer than any other horse in the race, Jonjo O’Neill’s contender – who hasn’t finished outside the first three in his past four starts – looks ominous.
Kim Bailey’s runner endured a wretched 2015/16 campaign, the highlight being an eighth-place in the Pertemps Hurdle at Cheltenham, but Un Ace’s last win came on this track 19 months ago, and he hasn’t been back since.
They’re sticking with the eight-year-old over fences despite his fall last time out at Uttoxeter in April, after losing faith at certain points last season a reverting to the smaller obstacles.
Bailey must see a chaser in Un Ace yet. He could be interesting over this 2m7f trip.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.