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Cheltenham 2010 tips 16:00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

Ladbrokes' Cheltenham 2010 tips  16:00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

If Song of Songs stays this far he's surely got to go close off a mark of 138 so we'll take a chance on his stamina and select him to beat I'm So Lucky, Chapoturgeon and Aigle D'Or.

Once again Tony McCoy had a few to choose from and it's easy to see why he's gone with James Fanshawe's gelding. It's true the horse hasn't quite been at his best this season, but you get the feeling connections have been slowly working towards this target and perhaps now aged eight he needs a greater test of stamina than that he's faced. If you go back to this time last year he gave Deep Purple a beating and that horse isn't far off top class, further strengthening the belief that this horse is well handicapped and, if further convincing was needed, he does seem to come into his own when spring is in the air. Of course, this is another competitive race and simply being well treated doesn't give any horse a divine right to win, there are a few horses who could also be nicely in at the weights.

One such contender is Aigle D'Or, whose hurdles form would make this mark of 130 look ridiculous as he was rated in the high 140's over hurdles. That reflects the fact he's not as good over the bigger obstacles but it'd be no great surprise were Nicky Henderson to have him ready to put in a much improved round of jumping at a rewarding price. Perhaps though it'll pay to stick to those who have won races over fences, with Chapoturgeon and I'm So Lucky being two strong examples. The former won the Jewson on this day last year and hasn't done badly since, despite the fact he's yet to enter the winners' enclosure again. Our feeling is he might well have won the Boylesports Handicap here in December had he not made a very bad mistake and on that form he has claims now dropped a pound further in the ratings. I'm So Lucky has attracted support for this contest and must also enter calculations. David Pipe's runner was travelling sweetly when brought down here on New Years' Day in a race that's worked out, so racing off the same mark and with good ground to suit a big run is likely.

On a line through Poquelin, Watch My Back has real claims of beating Chapoturgeon so must be respected but the 10lb penalty he's incurred for winning last time may prove too heavy an anchor, so of more interest is Tarotino for Alan King. This horse needs a sound surface and gets it here, whilst he also surely needs this sort of trip so a moderate eighth last time isn't as bad as it may appear. My Petra is still nicely treated on her best efforts but it's hard to fathom why she's struggled over fences of late. She ran nicely over hurdles last time and that may have boosted her confidence but a watching brief is advised, as it is with Sunnyhillboy who is interesting on hurdles form but hasn't yet convinced over fences and is up 7lb for a scrappy win last time. The Sawyer likes it here and has improved all season but his handicap mark has shot through the roof accordingly and he's had a long year, so of more interest is the less exposed Great Endeavour who was always likely to improve for fences and has done so.

He's still a novice so this is a big ask, but the horse has form at Cheltenham and could surprise a few. Gwanako has plenty of weight for a small horse whilst the admirable Our Vic may have to give best to some of the younger brigade, as might Mister McGoldrick despite plenty of strong winning form here. Jayo has the ability if putting it all together but hasn't yet impressed over fences whilst Atouchbetweenacara has had a disappointing year. Song Of Songs looks very well handicapped and can give the champion another winner.

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Cheltenham 2010 tips 16:00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

Ladbrokes' Cheltenham 2010 tips  16:00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase

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