We are offering Non-Runner No Bet on all races at the Cheltenham Festival and Keith Melrose from the Racing Post picks out four horses you should back to take advantage of this offer.
Galia Des Liteaux @ 20/1
Saint Segal @ 20/1
Fugitif @ 10/1
Protektorat @ 16/1
|What||Cheltenham Festival 2023|
|Where||Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire|
|When||Tuesday 14th March - Friday 17th March, 2023|
|How to watch||Racing TV, selected races on ITV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming|
This mare is two from three over fences, the blip being in the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day. She was not found out that day, so much as she never recovered from belting the second fence.
She was never quite right from that point on but has looked a different prospect on her other two starts including an impressive win at Warwick last month.
As a mare, Galia Des Liteaux would receive 7lb weight for sex from her rivals. Combine that with her form already, which is 153 on Racing Post Ratings after Warwick, and she is firmly in the conversation for the Brown Advisory.
Indeed, of the 34 entries only Mighty Potter (seemingly Turners-bound) has achieved more. She was last reported to be aimed at the Reynoldstown at Ascot and if she wins that she will be a long way from 20/1 for Cheltenham.
Those watching Doncaster last Friday could not fail to have noticed Saint Segal rattling home and just failing in the feature 2m handicap chase. That was his first defeat over fences, so by rights he should be three from three in this sphere and he looks just the type to be cherry ripe for a big prize.
His trainer Jane Williams was formerly part of the Nick Williams operation and that yard raided plenty of big pots with expertly campaigned novices. Saint Segal is now qualified for the Grand Annual, has achieved a mark that will guarantee he gets into the race and looks very much like the type to bring a big prize home.
I would be keen to use the Non-Runner No Bet offer on him, as if anything he may be aimed at the following day's Plate.
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Il Ridoto got a tactically excellent ride to win the Premier Handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday, runner-up Fugitif did not, yet he too was able to come miles clear of the rest and show himself a big player in top handicaps.
Fugitif's last two runs have been a coming of age for him. He won a warm race at Chepstow on Welsh Grand National day before his Cheltenham run and did it easily. It is not hard to rationalise his recent improvement, given his stable had a torrid season in 2021-22 but is well on the road to recovery now.
Fugitif, not Old Roan winner Riders Onthe Storm, has long been touted as the stable's greatest hope for a big race win and Fugitif's new mark of 149 does not by any means rule him out of going one better at the festival.
The Cotswold Chase on Saturday was a funny race, in which Sean Quinlan on runner-up Sounds Russian changed everything by going for home at the top of the hill.
He managed to put just enough distance into Noble Yeats, who drifted for the Gold Cup for his staying-on third when he arguably ran a perfectly good trial.
There has been even more of an overreaction to beaten favourite Protektorat's run. He came there travelling to two out but he had been keen early on and was not able to go on with the principals. He still kept on for fourth.
It is a run you have to excuse, given that on his Betfair Chase win Protektorat should have won Saturday's race by daylight, but it is easy to do so.
Dan Skelton has only one day in mind for Protektorat and his performance on Saturday was very much in line with a horse that was just shy of peak fitness.
Skelton is unlikely to make the same mistake in March and this horse, who was third in last year's Gold Cup and has improved since, can be on the premises again.