Testing conditions for the New Year’s day meeting at Cheltenham which has whittled the numbers down across much of the card. The BetBright Grade 3 Handicap Chase still has nine runners remaining, but looks to be a contest between the first three in the betting.
Sametegal has run well on terrible going before but needs to do more to win this race for Paul Nicholls.
Burtons Well has scope for improvement having shaped well on his reappearance run. The Trevor Hemming’s recruit failed to stay over course and distance in novice company last January and he is entitled to go close off a 3lb higher mark for his neck second behind Romain De Senam.
But the class horse in the race is TOP GAMBLE who is making his third appearance in this race, having finished third by three lengths off a mark of 159 last year when carrying the same weight of 11st 12lbs.
He also finished third in this in 2016 off a mark of 153, and comes in to this having dropped five pounds this season to a mark of 154. With talented young rider James Bowen taking five pounds off, he looks fairly well treated and can make it third time lucky in what looks a weak renewal.
Top Gamble has two Grade 2 wins to his credit and finished fourth in the Champion Chase last season so is by no means a spent force rising ten from nine years old. The long-distance second to Un De Sceaux three weeks ago was not without merit as he jumped very well over two miles before being burned by the Mullins superstar over the trip.
The step up in distance will suit Kerry Lee’s horse who has won or placed in 3/4 attempts over this distance and should have enough to get the better of the younger chasers.
1pt win Top Gamble @11/2, 14:00 Cheltenham, Monday (bet365)