Nick Luck’s William Hill Blog: Iberico might be Lord of the dance at Cheltenham

Nick Luck’s William Hill Blog: Iberico might be Lord of the dance at Cheltenham

SLADE STEEL looks the right advice at the time of writing in the Supreme (1.30pm). Although I still believe that long time fancy Jeriko du Reponet is a horse I’d be with rather than against, the on-the-day pick has gate-crashed this party late and – with the weekend rain and more drizzle forecast – looks primed to run a massive race. To my eye, he doesn’t lack pace (his figures stack up well), but you know he’ll finish off well and his hurdling looks more assured than either of the Mullins pair at the head of the market. Runners from this stable often uplift a fair bit at the Festival, and I like that he has a year’s maturity over most of these. A big player at 5/1.

GAELIC WARRIOR has split opinion sharply, but I think he’ll make all and win the Arkle (2.10pm). Much has been made of his flop that day, and indeed of his two defeats at Cheltenham…. but I would conjecture that both those efforts were far from indicative of an inability to cope with the track, and I’m happy to put last time down to a blip – he never looked happy from the minute he entered the paddock. The hood could easily help him quite a bit, and I’m happy to back the best horse in the race at current odds of 5/2.

TRELAWNE must run a good race in the Ultima at 15/2 (2.50pm). Again, his quirks have had plenty of play, but his form reads well and consistently so. Even more compelling is that he looks to be crying out for a proper test at a trip, but has earned his mark doing his thing over shorter. I love an improving novice in this race, and the booking of Harry Cobden looks a real plus.

IBERICO LORD might be the most inspired supplementary entry of all time (3.30pm) in the Champion Hurdle. Granted, State Man is a wonderful horse, with very few chinks in the armour, but there is still something in the selection’s price, as I just can’t keep him out of the three on ground he should love and at a track where – in truth – he made mincemeat of the Greatwood Hurdle field. Of course he needs a massive step forward, but his handicapping form this season keeps cascading winners at a decent level, and he’s not done improving. 9/1.

LOSSIEMOUTH looks really hard to take on in the mares’ race at 8/13, step up in distance notwithstanding (4.10pm). She posted one of the most complete performances of the season on trials day, and that should be enough here. If you don’t fancy launching in at odds-on, then MARIE’S ROCK might be best of the rest at 12/1.

ROARING LEGEND has long been the fancy for the Boodles (4.50pm) at 25/1, and – although I’d have liked rather better ground – I’m sure he has many of the right attributes for this: he’s tough, jumps well, stays, and has lovely form credentials on his first two starts. Last time was less good, but connections had to rush him there for qualifying, and I’d be hopeful of a bold show. I might need a couple of stabs at this, so I’ll happily save on MILAN TINO, who the handicapper has generously dropped ten pounds for running behind the season’s two best juveniles when ridden as a sitting duck. He should easily be classy enough to get a piece of the action. 13/2.

KILBEG KING is a sporting alternative to the front of the market at 9/1 in the National Hunt Chase (5.30pm). The top three all look a little shaky to my eye: Corbetts Cross isn’t nailed on to stay, Embassy Gardens came up short at last year’s Festivals, while top-rated Salvador Ziggy bled when last seen in the autumn. As such, I’d happily chance the Honeyball runner, who looked a real trier and a real stayer when an excellent third to Il Est Francais at Kempton. His very good trainer has had a super season, and can put the icing on the cake here with a good amateur to assist.

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11 Mar 2024



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