Pertemps Final Tips: Back Spiritofthegames bag elusive Cheltenham win

Pertemps Final Tips: Spiritofthegames is a leading contender for Dan Skelton.
Pertemps Final Tips: Spiritofthegames is a leading contender for Dan Skelton.

Alex Stearn picks out his Pertemps Final tip for a race that will see a bumper field go to post on day three of the Cheltenham Festival...

Alex Stearn's Pertemps Final Tip

Spiritofthegames at 20/1 with bet365

The Pertemps Final is a unique race in the festival programme book given horses have to finish in the first six of a series qualifier in the current season to be eligible to run. That brings a tricky dilemma for trainers, as winning a qualifier can often ruin your chance in the final as the rating the horse runs off will increase.

Fergal O’Brien’s Imperial Alcazar could be one of those to suffer that punishment. He was impressive at Warwick in January, but as a result, his handicap mark has been raised 8lb to 147. That was a clear career best after five previous efforts over hurdles and seemed to relish heavy ground that day so the excess weight and different ground could ruin his chance. 

He had Come On Teddy five lengths behind him on that occasion where he seemed to be bogged down on the heavy ground that day. He was ultra-impressive over C&D in December when skipping clear of useful hurdler On The Blind Side. Now returning to a happy hunting ground on a quicker surface and armed with an 8lb pull from Warwick, Tom George’s charge isn’t without a chance.

Brinkley is another who recorded an authoritative win at Exeter in qualifying for this contest and his rating has again been raised again, making life trickier. He is much more lightly raced over this trip and could have plenty more to offer, so that isn’t such a worry. But what is a worry, is the lack of form off a soft to heavy surface, so might lack speed when the race develops.

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Champagne Platinum is one that qualifies in the best way for this, with his mark only being nudged up 1lb for hat-trick seeking owner J.P. McManus. He’s only been seen twice this year, finishing third over now what appears to be an insufficient two-and-a-half miles, and then reappearing after a little break to finish second at Haydock on soft ground. He shaped as if that was a bit of a prep with this in mind and the strong pace assured here will help bring his stamina into play, making him a live player. 

Similar circumstances can be applied to Spiritofthegames, whose form over the larger obstacles was tailing off and connections decided to switch him to hurdles to exploit the lower rating and freshen him up. He was only beaten a length at Chepstow and given he is often one that likes to be smuggled into races from the back of a big field, this contest will suit him plenty and he looks sure to play a part at a good price.

Bushypark has been somewhat of a revelation for Phil Kirby and his team, winning five out of five hurdle races since November. His form at three miles has been the best of those victories and was impressive last time. However, his mark is now in the 130s and if he is still better treated than some of the others lining up, it would be a bit of a surprise.

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The Irish have won the last five renewals and their best chances of making it six looks to lie with The Bosses Oscar and Mrs Milner. The former has posted three career bests in his three starts this year, latterly when finishing second on his most recent start. He’s only six and has the clear potential for more to come at this trip, despite another handicap increase. 

Mrs Milner was further behind The Bosses Oscar on that occasion but still ran well enough to qualify off the same mark. She has a useful piece of C&D form to her name, notably when second to On The Blind Side in a Listed handicap and her campaign looked to have since been built around returning here and 14/1 is a tempting price.

As much as ‘1’s are often appealing to many when looking at form, this contest often pays to look away from those to find the horse with most room to manoeuvre off their current mark. Mrs Milner returning to Cheltenham is a tempting angle but Spiritofthegames appeals most. He has room to improve further over hurdles and this contest will be right up his street and 16/1 looks an outstanding price.

Thu 13:55 - Pertemps Final
Spiritofthegames silk


Cheltenham Gold Cup
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