0.5pt win Ceporine @33/1, 15:00 Cheltenham, Saturday

The jumps are back at Cheltenham as The Showcase meeting kicks off the new season, and it’s a treacherous time of year for punters with horses lacking fitness as they return from summers off.

There might be a bet in the 15:00 Masterson Holdings Hurdle with the 6/4 favourite Adrien Du Pont looking right up against it attempting to concede match fitness and weight to some talented rivals.

Paul Nicholls has sounded caution he’ll need the run and might find the ground a little quick, so I’m surprised by the short price and have to take him on.

Sceau Royal runs for Alan King and ran very well when only beaten a short-head by Adrien Du Pont on debut last season, so has to be respected, while our best mate Wolf Of Windlesham, a 12/1 and 9/1 winner for these pages last season, makes his reappearance but hasn’t got a great record fresh and is right at the top of the weights.

He looks up against it and it’s hard to fancy Leoncavallo either, who also has to concede weight.

Gibralfaro is the money horse for obvious reasons as he receives a lot of weight from most of the field and has had a run already this season, finishing a decent third to Diego Du Charmil under top-weight.

I think the price has gone now, and I’m not sure how much he’ll have improved since his last run just two weeks ago so I’m avoiding.

I’m going to roll the dice on the French import and massive outsider CEPORINE, who hails from a smaller yard and has only run once in Britain, where he won impressively from a horse rated 134 over fences.

He receives 8lb from Adrien Du Pont, Wolf Of Windlesham and Leoncavallo, and 4lb from Sceau Royal, so might be capable of springing a surprise being easily the most unexposed in the race.

There would have been far easier targets than this for Richard Hobson’s four-year-old and I read that as a vote of confidence from connections.

Unfortunately with just six runners the each-way terms are poor, but we’ll chance half a point he’ll run a big race.

0.5pt win Ceporine @33/1, 15:00 Cheltenham, Saturday

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