ITV7 Tips: Alaphillippe to pedal away from rivals

Cheltenham once again heavily features in the ITV7 this Thursday
Cheltenham once again heavily features in the ITV7 this Thursday

Wednesday was not all sweetness and light for Neil Monnery as our US Horse Racing editor keeps having a punt at the ITV7. Still, onwards and upwards as they say and he has put together his thoughts for Thursday below...

We kick off Thursday’s action at Cheltenham (and indeed the first race in the ITV7) with one of the clashes of the meeting. Two superstars on a collision course with two superstar trainers rooting for their horse to come good. The Turner Novices’ only has four runners but anything but a 1-2 for Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champs in some order would be a genuine shock. Both tasted victory at the Festival a year ago so course form isn’t a tie-breaker. You have to plump for one and I’m going with Willie Mullins’ and Galopin Des Champs.

In the Pertemps, I’m instantly drawn to the Fergal O’Brien trained Alaphillippe - and not just because he shares a name with one of the most exciting cyclists currently riding in the peloton. Won five of six before the Pertemps qualifying races where he finished fifth and therefore got allocated a smaller weight for this one. This is very much in contrast to what his top choice did a year ago winning his qualifier at Warwick and getting a top weight but only finishing 16th at Cheltenham. Good shot this.

In the Ryanair I’m not going crazy and the defending champ Allaho is my play. Not a big shock but you can’t take on too many short prices.

Next up we have the Stayers’ which has a relatively small field of ten but it is highly competitive. Nicky Henderson is sending out Champ who is a Festival champion having won the RSA back in 2020. Pulled up in the Gold Cup a year ago, this ten-year-old is back for a different race and despite being surprisingly beaten last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle, he has every chance of returning to the Winner’s Circle.

The Plate Handicap sees me go with a horse already mentioned - Imperial Alcazar. Won impressively in the Novices' Handicap Chase in January by ten lengths. Struggled in the Pertemps with top weight a year ago but is primed to bounced back and have a much better Festival experience second time round.

Like every other day this week, the ITV7 doesn’t just cover races at the Festival. The first two at Down Royal will be Races 2 and 4 in the tipping competition. I’m going with Arlo in the 13:55 and Mrs Watson in the 14:35

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Cheltenham Tips
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