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Kim Muir Handicap Chase tips - Cheltenham Festival previews

Ross takes a look at the Kim Muir. (credit:Sleepless in Somerset)

The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (4.40) over 3m11/2f for amateur riders has proved elusive to the Irish, and you have to go back 28 years to find their last winner, Greasepaint.

2010 Result: BallaBriggs, trained by Donald McCain Jnr and ridden by Mr R O Harding, 9/1 SP.

Key Trends:
The Irish are carrying all before them at this year's meeting but this is one race they've struggled to win, which suggests their two representatives Saddlers Storm and Pomme Tiepy are up against it.

The seven to nine age range is the best place to look, with all of the past 10 winners falling into that bracket - of these, six were nine-year-olds. Weight is no bar to success in this race with the last two renewals going to top weights - Can't Buy Time (11st 12lb) is bidding to make that a hat-trick.

Claiming amateur riders used to do well but experience has come to the fore in recent years with five of the past six winners being ridden by non-claiming amateurs. Equine experience over the course seemingly counts for plenty too as four of the last 10 winners had run at a previous Festival, while three had recorded a top-three finish at Cheltenham earlier in the season.

The trainers to note with runners this year are Donald McCain and Ferdy Murphy (two wins apiece), while David Pipe is bidding to win a race his father won twice, both times with unconsidered outsiders. Somewhat surprisingly, Jonjo O'Neill (who runs Can't Buy Time, Galaxy Rock) is still looking for his first winner.

Major Players:
Junior
is bidding for a Royal Ascot-Cheltenham Festival double, having landed the Ascot Stakes last summer. He's already proved his versatility in his two runs this season: third to Gold Cup fancy Midnight Chase on his return to action over fences here in November, before switching to hurdles and chasing home stablemate Ashkazar in a good handicap, again at this course, on New Year's Day. He's clearly been saved for this race and with crack amateur Jamie Codd booked to ride, everything is in place for a big run.

The Ferdy Murphy-trained Galant Nuit  is bidding to go two better than last year and, despite a less than ideal preparation (pulled up here in December and missed the Welsh National due to a bruised heel), he should go well again. Saddlers Storm looks best of the two Irish-trained runners, having started favourite for last season's Irish National (he unseated six out).

Lively Outsiders:
Mostly Bob
was a leading fancy for the Racing Post Chase (fell at the third) and won't be far away granted a clear round. The two novices Alderley Rover and Galaxy Rock come into this in good form, although the latter carries a 5lb penalty for winning a four-runner affair at Leicester earlier this month.

The Donald McCain-trained Khachaturian has always threatened to win a decent race but his jumping is a concern. David Pipe is also responsible for last year's close runner-up Faasel. He showed nothing on his reappearance here in December, but that was the case 12 months ago and he is best fresh.

Betting Advice:
Just four market leaders have scored since 1973 but the fact JUNIOR has so much going for him makes him to hard to resist at 13/2 with Boylesports, who are Best Odds Guaranteed. On what looks like a difficult day's racing punting-wise, make him your 'banker' bet. His stablemate Faasel is a real monkey and has two ways of running but it wouldn't be a massive surprise to see him finish second again and make it a 1-2 for the stable.


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Kim Muir Handicap Chase tips - Cheltenham Festival previews

The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (4.40) over 3m11/2f for amateur riders has proved elusive to the Irish, and you have to go back 28 years to find their last winner, Greasepaint.

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