Longshot Ted: Elixir could prove to be a Nutz price

Elixir De Nutz Winning The Tolworth At Sandown

As the countdown to Cheltenham continues, Ed Quigley picks out two more ante-post bets for the Festival, this time turning his attentions to two big-priced outsiders in the handicap races...

The Cheltenham Festival Handicaps can be hard enough on the day, let alone 7 weeks in advance, but as always, I think there are occasional snippets of value to be had from an ante-post perspective. Finding the right race the horse is being targeted at is often more than half the battle. In the case of the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase, one horse leaps of the page at me and that is the Alan King trained DEYRANN DE CARJAC, who at 33/1 looks massively over-priced. Connections' comments indicate that this will be the race, and as a novice who wants two and a half miles, running off 145 at the Festival, it makes little sense to look elsewhere other than this assignment. A winner of two of his four starts over fences, the defeat of subsequent dual chase winner Pym reads well, and finishing third on his last two starts in Grade 2 company behind the likes of Champ and Midnight Shadow perfectly entitle him to be having a say here. Despite shouldering top weight, dropping into handicap company will make this a more presentable opportunity. Generally a solid jumper and a strong traveller, he ticks a lot of the right boxes for the contest. On the assumption he goes straight to the Festival, I wouldn't be shocked if he went off a third of the price he is now.

As far as the County Hurdle the goes, ELIXIR DE NUTZ is worth chancing at 33/1. The six-year-old looked to have the world at his feet after winning the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle last year, before an injury setback on the eve of last year's Cheltenham Festival ruled him off the track until the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. He looked to be carrying plenty of condition but shaped way for a long way before tiring in the closing stages that day. A quick follow up in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton was disappointing, but the race would have come too soon. The positive is that his official rating has tumbled from 153 down to 146, and for a Grade 1 winner, he is starting to look attractively treated. With two wins at Prestbury Park on his C.V, and a versatility in regards to underfoot conditions, he is too dangerously well-handicapped to ignore. He holds a Betfair Hurdle entry, but recent comments from Colin Tizzard gave the strong impression that Eldorado Allen will run and Elixir De Nutz would be unlikely to line up. Heading straight to the County will insure his mark can't be blown. Given that he is often a free going sort, there is little need to tackle a longer trip and he can benefit from a drop into handicap company. The County looks tailor made for him and I expect his price to be significantly shorter on the day.

Advice:

Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase, Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday 10th March 2020 - Deyrann De Carjac 1 pt win at 33/1 (generally)

County Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival, Friday 13th March 2020 - Elixir De Nutz 1 pt win at 33/1 (generally)

Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase
Deyrann De Carjac silk

Deyrann De Carjac

Has shown plenty in his four starts over fences so far, winning twice and taking the notable scalp of Pym at Huntingdon in November. He's since held his own on two separate occasions in Grade 2 company, and although he'd have to shoulder top weight here, this looks the logical port of call. Connections have hinted that this is the plan, and he could well be a much shorter price on the day if taking his chance.

County Hurdle
Elixir De Nutz silk

Elixir De Nutz

Classy operator, who was good enough to win the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown as a novice last term. He missed last year's Festival through injury, and although his two runs this season haven't necessarily gone to plan, he's beginning to slip down the weights and now looks attractively handicapped. He looks tailor made for this race, and his price could prove to be significantly shorter on the day.

Cheltenham Festival Tips
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