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William Hill Trophy Tips

A maximum field of 24 runners go to post for the top handicap chase of the whole meeting, the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase over 3m1/2f (2.40).

The Favourite
Alan King, successful with the novice Fork Lightning in 2004, is aiming to strike with another first-season chaser in Bensalem. The lightly-raced seven-year-old runs here off a mark of 143 and King has made no secret of the fact he thinks his horse is well-handicapped, prompting bookmakers to slash him into favouritism - he's now settled around the 5/1 mark (11/2 Paddy Power). A game winner from a useful type at Plumpton in November, he has performed with credit in defeat on all his subsequent runs and a two length defeat by the top novice Diamond Harry (gave 3lb) last time out represents top notch form. His backers will have to take a relaxed view about his jumping, though, as he was made plenty of mistakes last time and fell the time before that (close up second at the time). He goes on a wide range of going.

The Dangers
The Package
(6/1 Sportingbet), trained by David Pipe who won the 2008 renewal with An Accordion, is an obvious danger and, given his connections, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him backed into favouritism. While still a novice, he has had plenty of chasing experience, including in good handicaps, the latest of which he won in good style here in December. He's unraced since but that has probably been the plan all along to preserve a handicap mark which remains lenient, despite a 9lb rise (carries 10st 7lb here). He's undoubtedly quirky (hangs both ways under pressure) but is highly talented at the same time.

Ogee (11/1 Paddy Power) is another who looks well-treated on 10st 5lb, although Cheltenham might not be his ideal track. Theatrical Moment (12/1 Coral) represents last year's Jonjo O'Neil, who sent out Wichita Lineman to win last year, and arrives here in top form having won his last two starts. He too is under the 11st threshold on 10st 12lb - none of the last 10 winners have carried more than that weight.

Last year's Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir winner Character Building (12/1 Betfred) is respected but looks to have his fair share of weight, as does Game Spirit Chase runner-up Niche Market (16/1 general).

Longshot
Paul Nicholls has yet to win this event, with many of his runners handicapped up to the hilt by the time they get to this meeting. However, his Kicks For Free (25/1 Stan James) has been dropped a few pounds by the handicapper since the start of the season and he is proven on the track having been touched off in the Coral Cup two years ago.
 
Key Stat
Apart from 2007 winner Joes Edge (50/1), the other eight winners in the last nine runnings went off at no bigger than 8/1.

Verdict
It all revolves around favourite Bensalem. If he puts in a clear round, he must go close and reports that a sheepskin noseband has improved his jumping at home will encourage backers. However, at the odds, I just prefer THE PACKAGE, who can be his own worse enemy at times but impressed when winning a decent handicap at the track last time. Timmy Murphy will have to produce him late and cajole him with kid gloves but I can still see him swinging on the bridle coming at the last, when we can always hit the lay button to cover our stakes. His stable is on fire and David Pipe makes him his nap of the meeting which will do for me. Snap up Sportingbet's 6/1 as I can the front two in the market exchanging places.


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William Hill Trophy Tips

A maximum field of 24 runners go to post for the top handicap chase of the whole meeting, the William Hill Trophy over 3m1/2f (2.40).

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