By News Team
13th March 2020
With the Cheltenham Festival concluding on Friday as we head into fourth and final, we’ve spoken to William Hill’s trading team for some key tips from the trading floor.
Mark Howard, Group Racing Co-Ordinator
Horses who are battle hardened normally run well in this race and it has thrown up a few surprises so let’s have a stab at a big price. HOUSE ISLAND looks like the type of horse who will improve over this trip and doesn’t have much to find against a couple of these and if trained by somebody else he would be far shorter.
A tough race but the nature of it could really suit US AND THEM who needs to bounce back but in fairness he does appreciate better ground and that is what he will have here. His form off levels against Ornua at Aintree last year would be good enough to put him in the mix here.
Martyn Fagan, Senior Sports Trader
The Irish have a good record in the County Hurdle and that can likely continue here with Ciel De Niege and Thatsy both having strong chances. CIEL DE NIEGE is trained by Willie Mullins who has a great record in the race and comes here after a gallant 2nd in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury where he would have preferred to not be in front too soon. Ciel De Niege ran at Newbury off his Irish handicap mark, and is only 4lbs higher now so is relatively well treated compared to many of the irish challengers at the festival, he should go close.
THATSY is also interesting at a double figure price. His trainer Gordon Elliott doesn’t have the best record in this race but it is surely a matter of time until he rectifies this considering the sheer talent he has at plotting horses for handicaps at the festival. Thatsy looks to be well handicapped off 139 and a strongly run 2 miles over the testing New Course looks ideal, the booking of Davy Russell does no harm either as he Is the best around Cheltenham in handicaps.
Richard Helm, Broadcast Director
LISP ran well here twelve months ago in the County Hurdle when finishing a close up fifth. Has taken well to fences this season and the form of his recent third at Doncaster has been boosted by the run of Mister Fisher here yesterday.
Dale Gibson, Broadcast TV Director
7-y-o who was beaten 3 lengths by Darver Star (3rd in the Champion Hurdle) in September before giving Black Tears (2nd in the Coral Cup) a 6 lengths beating at Navan. Those runs were on better ground so the drying conditions are in his favour.
Black Tears ran off 144 on Wednesday whereas DOCTOR DUFFY runs off 140 here and its easy to ignore his 2 handicaps run to date. Charles Byrnes is a shrewd trainer and 33/1 could be huge. Goshen (1.30) & Hazel Hill (4.10) rate my best chances in the other races.
Bobby Scanlon, Product Manager
I’ve a bit of a love affair with PRESENTING PERCY having backed it to win the Pertemps in 2017 at fancy prices and the RSA in 2018. This selection is based more on more than emotion however, as I think the price is inflated for valid reasons but that Davy Russell will get a good ride out of him. The effort in last year’s race when short favourite was poor and the horse never got into the race – it just can’t be taken on the face of it. Since that run he has been dispatched three times, twice by Delta Work, but has registered much better ratings in those runs compared to the Gold Cup so will definitely run better than last year. I also think Leopardstown doesn’t show his best form as it is a flat track – so being back at Cheltenham where there is historical form could elevate them ratings even further.
I am happy to forger that HAZEL HILL was turned over at short odds last time by Minella Rocco who lines up against him again today. That one has pulled up on his last 3 visits to Cheltenham and more than happy to keep the faith with Hazel Hill. He won this race for this jockey last year and knowing that the conditions suit, combined with a cracking record in this sort of race, I think the price on offer is a fair one for a bet on the nose.