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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Let in lightly: four Cheltenham Festival handicappers who appeal based on RPRs

Flying Tiger (right) stayed on strongly to win the Fred Winter last year
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Racing Post jumps handicapper Steve Mason pinpoints four fancies following the release of the Cheltenham Festival handicap weights

Barney Dwan (RPR 154, OR 143)
Fergal O'Brien
Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (5.30 Tuesday)

Last season's Pertemps Final runner-up also holds entries in the RSA, National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir, but, on the figures, his best chance looks to be in the first-day finale. He ran to an RPR of 150 when beating all bar RSA market leader Presenting Percy at last year's festival and has already bettered that over fences. He seems equally effective on ground ranging from good through to soft and, although he stays further, has displayed strong form at around two and a half miles.

Oistrakh Le Noir (RPR 128, OR 124)
Ben Pauling
Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (4.50 Wednesday)

It's fairly rare for a juvenile hurdler to have an official rating lower than their RPR and, given some of the lofty marks allocated to four-year-olds at this time of the season, this easy Market Rasen winner looks to have been let in lightly off 124. His RPR of 128 is highly unlikely to represent the limit of his ability and, while this race is littered with potential improvers, he has upwards of 6lb in hand on weight-adjusted RPRs.

The Young Master (RPR 148, OR 135)
Neil Mulholland
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (5.30 Thursday)

The 2016 Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase winner has finished third and sixth in Tuesday's Ultima Handicap Chase at the last two festivals, but a falling handicap rating means he will be aimed at the Kim Muir this year. He has reportedly had a wind operation since pulling up when starting favourite at Newcastle last month and a previous run behind the ill-fated Fountains Windfall and Saturday's Betdaq Handicap Chase runner-up Ballykan at Kempton suggests he retains plenty of ability. He looks overpriced at around the 25-1 mark.

Flying Tiger (RPR 151, OR 140)
Nick Williams
Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (2.10 Friday)

Last season's Fred Winter winner has been left on an official mark of 140 following his recent run in the Kingwell Hurdle, where he finished close up in fourth behind horses now rated 161, 154 and 152. He could be flattered by his proximity to such highly rated rivals, but if he isn't third-placed Call Me Lord, who was just half a length in front, will do awfully well to confirm placings on 14lb worse terms. The County Hurdle is always one of the toughest races of the meeting, but in terms of RPRs Flying Tiger looks one of the week's most interesting runners.

If you are interested in this, you might also like:

Racing Post experts reveal their best bets in festival handicaps

Handicapper's headache: De Plotting Shed could have tools hidden away

Rating the bankers – the festival favourites figures suggest we should back


While this race is littered with potential improvers, he has upwards of 6lb in hand on current RPRs
E.W. Terms
Sky bet