Kim Muir Challenge Cup to pose conundrum

The Kim Muir Challenge Cup is one of three races exclusively for amateur riders at the Cheltenham Festival – the others are the National Hunt Chase and the Foxhunter Chase on Gold Cup day.

It can be seen as a race for developing young talent in the saddle but also, from a punters perspective, it is a great opportunity to end St Patrick’s Day on a high at it is a very workable handicap to punt on.

St Patrick’s Day at the Cheltenham Festival has an atmosphere like no other and anyone that has the chance should certainly go and sample the atmosphere. But like most days in March, the weather can be dreary and pretty cold out in the open spaces of Prestbury Park, so many decide to watch the action from the comfort of their own home.

Coral have always been huge supporters of the Cheltenham Festival, and they have provided live streaming for their online customers for the last five years.

All punters need to do to access the HD coverage is to sign up to an account with Coral, place at least a £1 bet on your desired race, and the feed will be accessible at the click of a button. However, the bet placed has to be have struck on the day of the race. Any ante-post bets placed will not be valid to claim the live stream.

In recent years when trying to find the winner of the race it really has been a case of looking for the best horse rather than the best handicapped horse. Junior was a case example in 2011 when he romped clear despite being, what looked at the time as well handicapped.

With that in mind, punting from an ante-post perspective does seem easier than on first viewing due to handicaps marks not meaning as much as they perhaps should for a race of this competitiveness.

Alfie Spinner certainly merits respect around the 20/1 mark with William Hill. The eight-year-old doesn’t win too many races but this is because his trainer Nick Williams thinks a lot of him and enters him in Grade One races. This hasn’t helped his handicap mark, but for a race like the Kim Muir, his talent could come shining through.

His best performance this season was probably his decent staying-on third behind Roberto Goldback, a Grand National contender from the Nicky Henderson stable, at Ascot.

That was a very impressive run and transferring that form to this race would see him in a with a huge chance. Also a plus for his chances is that eight and nine year olds hold the best strike rate in the Kim Muir, winning 14 of the last 18 renewals from less than half the total runners. Alfie Spinner is an eight-year-old and still improving.

David Pipe has some way to go to emulate his Fathers record of three Kim Muir winners but it would appear that this is a race that he is destined to target year on year judged by his 1-2 in 2011 with Junior and Faasel. Sona Sasta could be aimed for another crack at this race after finishing a well-beaten 13th in 2012.

Word is from the Pipe yard that this horse has rapidly improved over the last 12 months and three miles around Cheltenham in the race like the Kim Muir looks perfect for him. 66/1 at this stage for a Sona Sasta win looks pretty generous.

This hasn’t been Paul Nicholls race at all however with just one placed horse from 14 starters. He looks to be aiming Harry The Viking this year, and although the horse could be on the premises, Nicholls’ record is just too poor to ignore. The 14/1 is very much best swerved.

Yet another year passed in 2012 without an Irish trained Kim Muir success so we still have to stretch back to the dual Grand National runner up Greasepaint to find their last winner in 1983.

Beacauseicouldntsee finished second last year and could be back in 2013. He has been popular around the 12/1 to go one better and break the Irish hoodoo 12 months on.


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