Connect with us


AHEAD OF THE CURVE | 3 Cheltenham Festival Handicap selections that can outrun their odds – Top Tips

A trio of contenders who are probably overpriced for Cheltenham Festival handicap contests



The runners line-up at Cheltenham at The April Meeting

Plot jobs. Well in. Stones in hand. They’re all horse racing terms that the casual fan will hear plenty about, particularly as we get nearer the 2022 edition of the greatest show in National Hunt – the Cheltenham Festival.

Handicaps are a little bit more complex than your championship races. Contenders carry different weights dependent on what ability they have shown in their career over either hurdles or fences.

However, how well can trainers pull the wool over the handicapper’s eyes throughout the season?

Belfast Banter won last year’s County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival carrying the lowest weight of his 22 rivals

At Prestbury Park, all is revealed.

We’ve picked out three horses in a trio of the contests in this sphere that may well be primed for a big run in Gloucestershire and currently present plenty of each-way value given their credentials.

FAROUT: 14:10 McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) | 14-1

It’s pretty apparent to see that the son of Dark Angel has been running against opposition far too good for him of late, featuring in the three top novice Grade 1’s over in Ireland dating back to November.

However, his effort behind Mighty Potter and Three Stripe Life in the Future Champions at Leopardstown before the turn of the New Year would give him a right chance in this race off a mark of 142.

Trainer Willie Mullins after Turban won the Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Steeplechase at Fairyhouse Racecourse, Ratoath, Ireland.
Willie Mullins chases a sixth win in the County Hurdle in the last 13 renewals

Willie Mullins has won this race on five occasions since 2010 and with Closutton holding much stronger contenders for the Supreme, this representative is almost certain to go down this route and is nicely weighted to go well.

To add, four of the winners of this race since 2011 have been aged five – another potential feather in the cap for his chances.

EMBITTERED: 16:50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

On bare figures, Joseph O’Brien’s gelding would make absolutely no appeal on paper, beating just one of 10 rivals in his last two outings.

However, he was backed into 9/2 favourtism for this contest a year ago when falling at the ninth flight.

Joseph O'Brien
Joseph O’Brien was denied a short-head in the Grand Annual 12 months ago but can go one better here and claim a third Cheltenham Festival win

He is now 1lb lower than his mark that day last March which makes you have to sit up and take note, and finished third in the County back in 2020 from a hurdling rating of 146, so is clearly no stranger to climbing the hill.

8-year-old’s have also been the most successful in this chase since 2012, winning four renewals, including last season as Sky Pirate landed the spoils.

MISTER FOGPATCHES: 17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

Although not a proven winner (2-30), Pat Fahy’s gelding is never far from the podium, placing on fourteen occasions, including in the Scottish Grand National last term.

He also won a valuable handicap at the Punchestown Festival and was last seen chasing home a couple of useful rivals in the Thyestes at Gowran Park.


Kept fresh for this since, he will love the hustle-and-bustle of a contest like this given his experience in such fields and the Irish should continue to dominate this event.

Quicker ground will probably suit but he’s versatile, a solid jumper and will be bang there at the finish with a clear round.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.