1pt win Moon Racer @5/2, 12:45 Cheltenham, Sunday

Cheltenham’s opening race on Sunday sees the past two seasons’ Champion Bumper winners renew rivalries after a recent encounter in Perth, where 2014 winner MOON RACER got the better of this year’s victor Ballyandy by three-quarters-of-a-length.

That was off level weights yet Moon Racer, trained by David Pipe, concedes 4lbs to Nigel Twiston-Davies’s horse this time and, seemingly for that reason alone, has been installed a 6/4 favourite, whereas Moon Racer can be backed at 2/1.

They’re both two very good horses but I reckon Moon Racer had plenty in hand at the finish in Scotland and the penalty might not be enough to reverse the form.

The extra weight will count all the more after yesterday’s rain turned Cheltenham predominantly soft, but I suspect Moon Racer has a class edge.

It’s not just a two-horse race with Paul Nicholls confident over his unbeaten Movewiththetimes’s chances, and 9/1 seems pretty good for anyone looking to roll the dice on an outsider, but this might come a little early for him and he can’t match the proven course form of the two Grade 1 winners heading the market.

1pt win Moon Racer @5/2, 12:45 Cheltenham, Sunday

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