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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Three experts nominate a value bet for Cheltenham after the Saturday action

Brain Power: will have wind checked out
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Brain Power remains of interest each way

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out the most likely Cheltenham winner running on Saturday was Un De Sceaux.

He always runs well at Cheltenham, in fact he always runs well everywhere, and if the ground were to be soft he would have a great chance in the whichever race Willie Mullins chooses.

He's definitely beatable on good ground, though, and while I'm not sure anyone will agree with me, I wouldn't give up on Brain Power just yet.

A lot will depend on how he is in then next few days but, being by Kalanisi, he would have hated the Ascot ground and it was only his class that got him into second before he came down two out.

Nicky Henderson reported that he made a noise afterwards and he will have his wind checked out. Consequently the Arkle looks a longshot but if he was to turn up on decent ground, his class would give him an each-way squeak.

Tom Segal, Pricewise 

Go for Sceaux – he'll be shorter on the day

It may be boring but with the non-runner-no-bet concession, Un De Sceaux at 11-4 for the Ryanair Chase is hard to resist.

That's partly because if he runs in the Ryanair – and the post-race comments of Willie Mullins make it clear that is much the trainer's favoured option – he will surely be sent off much shorter. Last year he was returned at 7-4, and in a contest that could once again cut up considerably he will be backed off the boards.

That so, the hard-nosed punter could back the flamboyant star now and then lay him to save the stake.

The rest of us can back him now and then watch him storm up the Cheltenham hill to glory.

Lee Mottershead, reporter

Brilliant Bague could be the one if rain comes

The Irish have dominated the Grade 1 OLBG Mares' Hurdle in recent years and they look to have a strong hand again with Apple's Jade the odds-on favourite to retain her crown.

However, if the ground turns soft the 14-1 about La Bague Au Roi could prove excellent each-way value given the ease with which she landed the Grade 2 mares' hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

Sauntering clear in what were extremely testing conditions proves she is a mare of the highest calibre and Warren Greatrex is almost certainly going to get her primed and ready for the big one in March now.

She's the best of the British, that's for sure.

Tom Collins, The Punt


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