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Bob’s your uncle as Willie Mullins’ charge leads our Saturday picks

| 31.10.2014

The jumps are here. With three of the first four home in the last Cheltenham Gold Cup in action this weekend, the big boys are finally beginning to reappear.

Silviniaco Conti bids to get his season off to a good start in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, but at a relatively short price he is not for Ladbrokes News’ Ben Stones.

Instead, we bring you our three best bets over the obstacles on Saturday.

Keltus – Ascot 13:45 – 3/1

Paul Nicholls’ grey was second behind Court Minstrel on chase debut last month, and that looks stronger than the bare result.

His victor that day went on to run out a nice winner of a very good novices’ chase at Cheltenham, and with many of the Ditcheat handlers’ horses coming on from their first run, there could be improvement to come.

He tended to jump out to his right at Newton Abbot, so a switch to a right-handed track shouldn’t solve that, or at least make it less of a worry.

His third place in the Fred Winter in March was boosted again when the winner struck again last month, and this likeable sort could make a very good novice chaser.

Boston Bob – Down Royal 14:30 – 7/2

The fact that Ruby Walsh has picked this horse over Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up On His Own says an awful lot.

His mount did finish last season in style, picking up the Melling Chase at Aintree before landing the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.

He is three from four first time out, so will be primed to strike on his seasonal debut, and could catch some of these cold.

His win at Punchestown put him more than three lengths ahead of Mouse Morris’ First Lieutenant, so with them not far apart in the betting, there is only one way to go here.

Gevrey Chambertin – Ascot 15:35 – 9/1

David Pipe’s charge ran a funny sort of race first time out this season, looking beat, before flying home over 2m4f at Bangor, so with that in mind, a step back up in trip should suit.

He has been allotted what could be very lenient handicap mark of 139 for his debut in the sphere. Over hurdles he was rated 10lbs better than top weight here Le Bec, but meets him off a 10lb lower mark over the bigger obstacles. It would be surprising if there was a 20lbs swing for the change of jumps.

The brother to the formerly classy Grands Crus won a Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle off a mark of 143, and being just six years old could have more improvement to come against a field that features plenty that are yet to prove they can do well off high marks.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing



Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.