2007 Winner: Wichita Lineman; Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill; Age: 6; Weight: 11st 7lb; SP: 11/8f
With just three runnings to date, we’re still finding our feet as far as trends go, but the early signs are good for punters as all three have gone the way of the leading fancies. And those with previous Cheltenham form have fared best – all three winners had run well at Prestbury Park earlier in the season. Needless to say, stamina is an important issue over this 3m trip, so we should be looking to those who are fully paid up as being proven over this distance.
Carruthers (5/1 Skybet) has looked the right type of this race since making a successful hurdles debut at Chepstow in November, when he took advantage of a last-flight blunder by What A Friend (16/1 general) to beat that rival by a length. Gone To Lunch (6/1 Ladbrokes) has no stamina issues either as he’s completed a hat-trick with a ready win over a furlong and a half further around here in October. He’s since run a cracker when third to Inglis Drever and Blazing Bailey in the Cleeve Hurdle. Lodge Lane (6/1 William Hill) defeated Carruthers last time out at Exeter, giving the impression there was plenty left in the tank, while The Tother One (6/1 Skybet) has showed great resolution to complete a five-timer in a Grade 3 handicap last month.
It’s hard to see past the front four in the betting and preference is for Lodge Lane, who contested last year’s Bumper. Winner of four of his five career starts, he beat Carruthers fair and square at Exeter, and I can’t understand why that rival is a shorter price than him in the market. Get on!
BACK – Lodge Lane 2pt @ 6/1 William Hill