1pt win Chianti Classico @8/1, 1pt win Stumptown @9/1, 14:50 Cheltenham, Tuesday

3m1f (Old) Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)

The Brits haven’t relinquished their grip of the Ultima for quite some time, but the market support and recent purchase of Meetingofthewaters by JP McManus could be ominous. He won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and having fallen at the first last time out it’s hard to know just how good he might be. But Meetingofthwaters is plenty short enough in the betting for this and I’d rather take a bigger price in this handicap.

Novices have generally had a really good record and the pick of them has got to be Trelawne and CHIANTI CLASSICO. Both are trained by Kim Bailey and it’s interesting that he has decided to enter both of them here given that Trelawne could have run in the Kim Muir. Preference is for Chianti Classico who has demonstrated in his three starts as a chaser that he’s an accomplished jumper that travels sweetly in his races. He makes further appeal off his mark given that he’s only be risen 2lbs after his last two starts which included a win against a small field and a second last time out to Flegmatik at Kempton (specialist at that track).

Chianti Classico has clearly been laid out for this race for several months and he shouldn’t have any issues with the likely soft going. He does like to be dropped in during his races so hopefully he can get a decent position and not get too far back on the Old course at Cheltenham. His first try in excess of three miles should suit.

The other eye-catching entrant is the 2023 Kim Muir runner-up STUMPTOWN. He carries 13lbs more weight than when an unlucky second here and will relish the soft ground. Stumptown looked a staying chaser on the up last season, and whilst he didn’t have much luck in the Coral Gold Cup this year, he tried blinkers for the first time on New Years Day at Cheltenham and it really seemed to sharpen him up, particularly in the jumping department.

Stumptown gives the impression that he can continue his upward progress and whilst he does have to carry a heavy weight, he’s a big horse. He looks destined for a run in the Grand National at some stage in his carreer and Gavin Cromwell has done well in Cheltenham handicaps all season. This week might follow a similar trend.

1pt win Chianti Classico @8/1, 14:50 Cheltenham, Tuesday
1pt win Stumptown @9/1, 14:50 Cheltenham, Tuesday

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