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Horse Racing Tips for Friday



It’s been a profitable week for our flagship tipping column and Matt Brocklebank bids to sign off the Cheltenham Festival in style with three Friday fancies.

  • The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK and Ireland.
  • Value Bet tips are now available to qualified, logged-in readers through Sporting Life Plus, before the full column appears on the main Sporting Life website and App one hour later.
  • Following all Matt’s selections to recommended odds/stakes since taking over the column in June 2020 would have produced over 170pts in profit.

Value Bet Cheltenham tips: Friday, March 15

1pt win So Scottish in 2.10 Cheltenham at 12/1 (General)

1pt win Hansard in 2.10 Cheltenham at 25/1 – NON RUNNER

1pt win Captain Teague in 2.50 Cheltenham at 9/1 (888Sport) – 8/1 General

1pt e.w. Thanksforthehelp in 5.30 Cheltenham at 20/1 – NON RUNNER

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Happy to marvel in Galopin glory

The ground remains on the soft side for Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup day at Cheltenham and that is clearly going to play to the strengths of the big race’s short-priced favourite Galopin Des Champs.

Just about all of Willie Mullins’ horses cope brilliantly with ease underfoot and this superb chaser is no exception but, regardless of conditions, we’re dealing with a fairly blatant ‘best horse in race’ scenario and anyone willing to take him on is doing so in the hope that the market leader is unable to repeat anything close to the form he’s shown on his last two starts in winning the Savills Chase over Christmas and the Irish Gold Cup early last month.

They both came around Leopardstown, of course, which is a far cry from the undulations of the New Course at Prestbury Park, but as we all saw when beating Bravemansgame by seven lengths last year, this famous track holds no fears for him.

There are vaguely appealing each-way angles into it as ever, including Corach Rambler to follow up his two Ultima triumphs with a huge run on the biggest of stages for Lucinda Russell, plus Gerri Colombe possibly bridging the gap on the ready Savills winner now granted more of a test of stamina.

I even considered a small interest on the lightly-raced 10-year-old Jungle Boogie for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore, who have enjoyed such a fantastic week again this year, but I can’t see myself pulling the trigger and striking a bet so certainly won’t be recommending others do so for the sake of it being the Gold Cup.

Earlier on, the Triumph Hurdle seems likely to be bossed by Willie Mullins again following the disappointing defection of Sir Gino, although soft ground specialist Salver is no forlorn hope for Gary Moore around 9/1.

It’s still a slightly scrambled market at the time of writing and instead I’ll hone in on the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle where Paul Nicholls’ CAPTAIN TEAGUE should be nearer the head of the betting.

The Irish horses dominate here too and you can certainly see why based purely on the Sky Bet Supreme and the Gallagher’s earlier in the week but there is substance to this horse’s form, including when running a mighty race in third in last year’s Champion Bumper.

That effort worked out very well, winner A Dream To Share going on to following up in the big one at Punchestown and runner-up Fact To File showcasing his immense talent once more here in Wednesday’s Brown Advisory. Lecky Watson was three lengths behind Captain Teague in fourth, while the fifth, It’s For Me, came out in November and beat top prospect Caldwell Potter in a Punchestown maiden before being sidelined through injury.

It’s not been perfect this time around for Captain Teague, but he clearly needs wet weather to be seen to best effect and righted the wrongs of his November Meeting reverse in a steadily-run race when knuckling down to win the Challow at Newbury in December.

He showed loads of class in difficult conditions that day and ultimately hit the front a bit too soon (he’s a half-brother to the mercurial Sky Pirate who needed to be delivered very late) so I reckon the bare form can be marked up. It looked a hard race in the end but Nicholls has deliberately kept him fresh since and now steps the son of Doyen up in distance on ground he’s going to love.

There could obviously be a Mullins superstar lurking and Readin Tommy Wrong is the obvious one to put his hand up, but Captain Teague will at least hold his own if running up to form and I don’t think his price is a fair reflection of his chance. And all that usually means it’s time to bet.

Take two in classy County Hurdle

No shot for me in the Hunters’ Chase or the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase so onto the day-four handicaps which are devilishly difficult to crack, especially when the markets gets so impacted by rain as half the field are effectively considered no-hopers – rightly or wrongly.

Dan and Harry Skelton have had an unreal time of things and the white-hot trainer bids for a fifth career win in the BetMGM County Handicap Hurdle, with last year’s winner Faivoir and the six-year-old project L’Eau Du Sud, who filled the runner-up spot in the Imperial Cup and the Betfair Hurdle respectively on their most recent starts.

Of the pair, and at the prices, I’d prefer Faivoir who has been here and got the T-shirt – much like stablemate Langer Dan in the Coral Cup on Wednesday you just about know what you’ll get from him in this race – but I do fear for the Skelton pair trying to give a couple of pounds to Emmet Mullins’ SO SCOTTISH.

This is a very well handicapped horse in his own right, having been a creditable seventh in last year’s Plate off a mark of 143 and now able to return for the County from 10lb lower over timber.

He’s never run in a handicap hurdle in Britain which is probably why he’s able to get in off such a lowly mark and he does so on the back of an encouraging effort when fourth in the big Listed handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival (replay below).

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Punted into 5/1 from double that at the start of the day, So Scottish made his move smoothly on the wide outside of the field and looked booked for victory for a moment, only to run out of puff coming the last. It looked a run that might have been needed to tee him up following a 50-day break since his fall over fences in the December Gold Cup at this venue.

His best effort over fences came on good ground but he handles anything and I hope he’s been trained to the minute for this which is the impression I was left with coming away from Leopardstown. Mullins has been on the mark for JP McManus already this week and I’d back this seven-year-old at anything north of 8/1.

The other one that looks over-priced in the County is HANSARD at 20s-plus.

He ended his novice campaign by finishing fourth to Inthepocket in Aintree’s Grade 1 at the Grand National meeting, a deep race that also featured the likes of Strong Leader, Luccia, Pembroke, Matata, Tahmuras and Found A Fifty, who are all rated 140 or above.

Hansard looks to have progressed again this term and, after a good second to Rubaud first time back in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, he won the ‘Gerry Feilden’ at Newbury from Bad and Brentford Hope.

The last run confirmed he remains in good form and it wants marking up if anything as he wasn’t suited to the slow tempo and unseasonably dry ground as Luccia – third in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday – dominated from the front.

Betfair Hurdle winner Iberico Lord was behind the selection that day, along with the aforementioned Faivoir, and I reckon the Moore horse is well worth another chance off his revised rating of 142. In fact, the trainer is on record stating Hansard has genuine Graded-race potential and – let’s be frank – he knows one when he sees one.

Thanksforthehelp was declared a non-runner on Friday morning

Thanks and goodnight

McManus has four in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – providing they all stand their ground including the Henderson eye-catcher from Kempton, No Ordinary Joe – but I’m drawn to the David Pipe-trained THANKSFORTHEHELP in the red cap down near the foot of the weights.

He bolted up by over six lengths in a Pertemps qualifier at Chepstow last February before going off 100/30 favourite for the Final here last year and the grey looked a massive player turning for home only to not fully see it out after the last hurdle.

He was beaten eight lengths at the line and got back to winning ways in a small novice event at Southwell before being pulled-up at Haydock in May.

Off for 287 days, Thanksforthehelp finished a tired horse on his return back at Chepstow last month but it would come as no surprise to see him reverse the events of last year and step forward massively for the prep run this time around.

He can run off a 3lb lower mark than the Pertemps 12 months ago and his trainer – who is desperately still seeking a first victory in the race named after his father – has had five winners in the past few weeks which bodes well. As for the jockey, Mark McDonagh, his only previous Cheltenham ride resulted in a win on Banbridge in this race two years ago.

Published at 1600 GMT on 14/03/24

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