After the prestigious nature of the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Arkle Chase on the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival, hard hitting punters get their first big handicap of the Festival as the third race of the day is the JLT Specialty Handicap chase.
Last year’s race wasn’t regarded as one of the strongest renewals of the race, and the days of when this race could produce a potential Grand National winner look long gone. Although, Rough Quest did do the double in 1995.
Alfie Sherrin, who was a 11/1 shot, ran out the winner of the race last year from out of the handicap which suggests just how under-par last year’s renewal was. His trainer Jonjo O’Neill thought he could be a National horse one day but he form following on from that seems to suggest otherwise.
To see whether the 2013 renewal can produce a classier winner you can catch live streaming of the race with Bet365.
The Stoke-on-Trent-based firm are one of the biggest bookmakers in the UK and are currently the market leaders for providing their customers with live streaming. The firm were the first online company to introduce a free live streaming model where others always charged for the use of theirs.
The high-quality stream, couldn’t be easier to access.
You don’t even need to place a bet on the race to view it, as long as your bet365 is funded, or you have placed a bet on the website within the last 24 hours, you will be able to view all of the day’s action from the Cheltenham Festival.
Despite the relatively under-strength nature of the 2012 renewal, Alfie Sherrin is being taken to double-up in 2013 by the bookmakers, who make O’Neill’s solid horse a 8/1 shot to run out another Cheltenham Festival winner.
His form has been pretty woeful this season but it seems as though his lofty connections are planning to run him in the JLT Handicap Chase and are preserving his handicap mark very shrewdly.
From a betting point of view he doesn’t make any appeal at 8/1 due to the likelihood that this year’s race is going to be much stronger. Also, Alfie Sherrin doesn’t seem to have that spark about him in 2013 that he did in 2012.
For a better betting option, punters seem to be looking towards the Paul Nicholls’ trained youngster Unioniste around the 10/1 mark.
He has defied all the stats this year for horses at the age of just four running in all aged handicaps with a wonderful win at Cheltenham in the Grade Three Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup, where he relished a real stamina test in heavy conditions.
His beating of Walkon looks real top-class form and even a rise in the weights shouldn’t deter his followers as he looks towards a potential handicap stint at the Festival. It isn’t clear which route he’s going to take yet but if he gets confirmed for this race, his price is likely to shorten further and he could be a well backed favourite come the day.
Previous Cheltenham Festival winners are like gold-dust for punters and many will be latching onto to the David Pipe-trained Junior, who won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup in 2011 by an amazing 27 lengths.
He was earmarked as a potential Grand National winner following that win but things haven’t really worked out as Pipe had planned, but he is still a very classy performer on his day and the 14/1 available on him has been pretty popular. But the one for the real strong money at an ante-post stage is the Nicholls-trained Unioniste.