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Balls.ie's Cheltenham Tipster: Outstanding Value In Santini And Deal D’estruval

Balls.ie's Cheltenham Tipster:  Outstanding Value In Santini And Deal D’estruval
By Ian O'Rourke
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What a day it was for the Irish raiding party. On Thursday morning Paddy Power offered 150/1 for an Irish clean sweep of the days’ card, these massive odds were only denied by a ½ length defeat of Mall Dini. Davy Russell displayed landed an amazing treble that showcased his ability to deliver a horse with exquisite timing. The training performance of the day belonged to the mighty Willie Mullins. Somehow, he managed to ready Penhill for the performance of his life, and all of this was achieved without a racecourse appearance this season. His Mares’ Novices’ hurdle win catapulted him to the top of the all-time Cheltenham trained winners list with a valuable 61 victories. This however may be equaled and even surpassed today by Nicky Henderson who appears to have strong chances across the entire card.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50pm)

Santini 4/1

Last year’s winner Penhill was mightily impressive in the Stayers hurdle yesterday and the question is will there be a novice in this field that can go onto replicate Penhills’ back to back festival victories. Henderson has entered 3 lively contenders and looks like he will win this race for the second time since 2010. Chef Des Obeaux devoured a Grade 2 field on his previous start and will relish the heavy ground. The form of this race is working out quite well as the runner up has since won a Novices’ hurdle by 18 lengths. Noel Fehily will try to make this a gruelling test from the front and he will be hard to pass. The main Irish contender is Chris’s Dream, he was only left in the race in case the ground deteriorated and that has most certainly paid off. He is another horse who will stay well and handle the ground. That said, it looks like it is best to side with Santini. The Milan gelding would prefer better ground by pedigree but he handled heavy going convincingly when beating Black Op by ½ a length at Cheltenham in January. He looked like he wanted further that day and he will appreciate this step up in trip. The fact that Black Op ran so admirably in defeat to the imperious Samcro only reinforces the form and Santini looks like a great bet at an extremely attractive price.


Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (4.5opm)

Deal D’estruval (15/2)

A traditionally trappy affair, the Martin Pipe has been won by a number of Grade 1 winners, such as Killultagh Vic, Don Poli and the famous Sir Des Champs. There are many horses with clear-cut chances in a field that is dominated by Irish plunderers. Gordon Elliot’s Flawless Escape looks set to head the market and his second to the well handicapped Total Recall really stands out. Elliot is looking for consecutive successes in this event and he is represented by 3 of the top 6 in the betting. The Mullins VS Elliot battle looks sure to go down to the wire and both trainers have really targeted this race as it may just help one of them capture the Cheltenham trainers title. The most unexposed horse in the field is most certainly Deal D’estruval. The Ricci owned 5-year-old finished powerfully behind Off You Go at Leopardstown and will have the capable Liam Gilligan on board claiming 5 pounds. This race looks to have been laid out for the French import and the feeling is that he will stay on when others are faltering. For those nutters out there that want to try win big get on a small Reverse Forecast with Deal D’estruval and Flawless Escape.


My other selections for the day are:

1.30 Stormy Ireland 6/1 EW
2.10 Ben Dundee 11/1 EW
2.50 Santini 4/1 Win
3.30 Our Duke 4/1 Win
4.10 Wonderful Charm 5/1 Win
4.50 Deal D’estruval 7/1 Win
5.30 Top Gamble 12/1 EW


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