We made a fairly firm antepost play on YANWORTH reverting to hurdles from a scrappy novice chasing campaign to win an open renewal of the Stayers’ Hurdle.
The 9/1 has disappeared and he’s been yo-yoing around the 5/1-6/1 mark ever since this became his confirmed festival target, and I’m still very confident of his chances at those prices.
He’s proven at Cheltenham when the ground is testing and, quite simply, he is the class horse in this race on the balance of his hurdling form.
He wasn’t even that bad over fences – certainly not on the flat between jumps – as it was his sloppy, slow jumping that cost him victories, and he was finishing his races with plenty of petrol in the tank.
His unease in the market for this, despite beating Supasundae when winning a Grade 1 staying hurdle at Aintree last season, is his very public flop when sent of favourite for last year’s Champion Hurdle, where he was outpaced and outjumped on good ground.
Let’s not forget he won the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle, beating the classy The New One, as well as the Kingwell Hurdle last season, and always looked to struggle with the pace of those two-mile races in the manner of a horse craving a step up in trip.
His stamina is proven now and his two-mile form guarantees he won’t hold any fears over a strong gallop in this race, so I’m having a hard time seeing him not bang in contention turning for home.
Favourite Sam Spinner has nothing to prove over this trip in these conditions, but he and his inexperienced jockey have plenty to prove at Cheltenham in what looks like a far deeper Grade 1 than he won last time out when beating L’Ami Serge.
I can’t have Supasundae staying three miles on the forecast soft or heavy ground, and it’s hard enough to find another big threat who looms large enough to remotely question the value of Yanworth’s current quotes.
6/1 remains a fantastic price for Yanworth, even if there are a few in here that would shock nobody should they win, and with four places offered by several bookies I’m recommending you back him each-way – though not if you were already on our antepost pick.
I’m still very keen on WHOLESTONE‘s chances even if Daryl Jacob, who is retained by his owners, prefers L’Ami Serge.
The wisdom of my 16/1 antepost win-only bet is now questionable given he’s currently available at longer odds, but I rate him excellent each-way value given his fantastic Cheltenham record.
Topofthegame and William Henry again paid his novice hurdling form a handsome compliment when running huge races in Wednesday’s Coral Cup, so if you aren’t on board already, we’d recommend a small each-way play on Wholestone.
2pts win Yanworth @9/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursday (advised antepost)
1pt win Wholestone @16/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursday (advised antepost)