Informative Cheltenham Open Meeting offers more than just Festival clues

The penultimate race of The Open meeting at the weekend was the 2m 5f Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and it was also a Challenger Series Stayers Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.

Last year the race was won by subsequent Albert Bartlett Grade One winner Unowhatimeanharry and Harry Fry once again trained the winner this time around with Behind Time in the colours of JP McManus and Kieron Edgar on board.

Whether Behind Time goes on to be as good as Unowhatimeanharry remains to be seen but it could be worth sticking a few of the first eight home in your tracker ahead of the 2017 Challenger Series Finals Day.

Last year’s race at Cheltenham saw the Neil Mulholland-trained Fingerontheswitch finish fourth before going on to be second in the Stayers Hurdle Final at Haydock Park and the second this year, Solomn Grundy, would be an obvious place to start.

Also trained by Neil Mulholland, he could be looking to go one better this season and grab a fair share of the £50,000 prize pot on Easter Saturday. Rated just 123 before Sunday he will probably go up the weights after this run but given that Fingerontheswitch finished second off 137 you couldn’t rule him out if taking his chance.

The fourth placed horse Ballyarthur is also interesting for Nigel Twiston-Davies who trained two of the winners on Finals Day last season. Sent off 7/2 favourite on Sunday he is clearly well thought of at home and would be foolish to ignore come April.

It would also seem foolish to rule out Chic Theatre for David Pipe, who also trained a winner on Finals Day last season. He finished only seventh on Sunday and would probably need to go up in the weights to make the cut but he has some smart novice form and off a lowly rating he could run a big race if turning up.

Leave a Reply