Paddy Power Plate Tips: Raffles just the ticket for Festival success

Fusil Raffles

The Cheltenham Festival is stacked full of competitive handicaps and the Plate Handicap Chase is certainly no exception. Billy Grimshaw is our man tasked with finding the winner for the 2m 4f 127y contest...

This race looks set to be an absolute pace burn up, with a host of horses who like to get on with their task entered. Cheltenham is a course that favours a front runner especially recently in handicap chases, but with so many potential pace setters it may pay to back one ridden more patiently in this race. A runner with an outstanding Cheltenham record who looks to be on a workable mark for this contest and represents the in form Seven Barrows stable is FUSIL RAFFLES. His last appearance at the track was in the Racing Post Gold Cup, when he jumped scratchily and finished in fourth behind the front running winner Coole Cody, who is also entered in this contest but will be far worse at the weights with Henderson's inmate.

Imperial Alcazar was the favourite for last season's Pertemps Handicap Hurdle but finished a disappointing sixteenth. He has looked rejuvenated this season over fences and is a rival to the selection worthy of respect in this market. The Glancing Queen has been a talking horse on the preview circuits and has predictably seen her price tighten. Her claims are also strong and she represents Arkle winning connections Tom Cannon and Alan King, who will be looking for another Festival victory. 

Cheltenham Best Offers

Simply The Betts won impressively at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival for former trainer Harry Whittington but since then has not really kicked on and despite a trainer switch to Paul Nicholls he has not shown his best form for some time. Festival form is all important in this week however and he cannot be discounted should a return to a Festival handicap chase reignite his old ability. A model of consistency whether over hurdles or fences, Spiritofthegames is set to take his chance here for the Skelton team and he cannot be discounted for a place, especially with bookmakers paying extra places.

Gordon Elliott is mob-handed in this race and his best chance according to the market is Grand Paradise, ahead of Fancy Foundations for Davy Russell and Hardline for Rob James. Despite being the biggest price of the trio it is Hardline who makes most appeal after an encouraging back to form performance last time out at Gowran Park behind the high class Melon.

Pistol Whipped represents the in-form combination of Henderson and De Boinville with the owner's retained jockey Daryl Jacob set to take the ride on Fusil Raffles. The duo will be hoping for more success and this runner looks slightly overpriced.

The favourite for this race at the time of writing (in a market which has been very volatile) is Celebre D'allen for Philip Hobbs. He will be seeking a four timer in this race and has progressed with each of his wins since success at Haydock. He looks weighted to go close in this one but at odds of 6/1 and below he is best left now.

Slate House was one thought of as a novice destined for great things but he has been seriously underwhelming for the Tizzard team. It is more in hope than expectation that he is thrown in here you feel but there is always a chance the Festival sparks him back into life. The market seems to have a fair handle on this race but the rock solid each way option for me is Fusil Raffles and at double figure odds he is a confident each way pick.

2022 Cheltenham Plate
Fusil Raffles silk

Fusil Raffles (EW)

Non-Runner
Cheltenham Festival 2022
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