The second day of April meeting at Cheltenham on Thursday consists of seven races confined to fillies and mares. Happy Diva faces her easiest task for a long time so rates the standout punt. I also like the chances of Aunty Ann, Brillare Momento and Happy Diva’s stable companion Pilgrim Sole. To find out why read my in-depth Cheltenham preview with betting tips for April 18 below..
Class-dropping Diva Taken Waltz to Glory
Happy Diva looks worth a bet at 2/1 with bet365 to take advantage of a drop in class and land the spoils in the m Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday (4:55). This Kerry Lee trained eight-year-old is a tough and consistent sort who won four times and been placed on five occasions from 13 starts over fences.
After posting fine efforts to make the frame in three of her first four starts this season, including when a fine 22 length third of 10 to subsequent runaway Grade 1 winner Cyrname at Ascot, she gained a deserved success when beating Magic Of Light by a length at Huntingdon.
Happy Diva was four lengths clear jumping the last and then found plenty of pressure to fend off the persistent challenge of the runner-up who had won her two previous starts, including a Grade 2 at Ascot, and has since run a stormer when chasing home Tiger Roll in the Grand National at Aintree off a rating of 151.
So, given that Happy Diva was receiving just 4lb from Magic Of Light that day her current mark of 142 looks lenient and explitanle in the class 2 contest. Regular rider Richard Patrick also takes off a handy 3lb and underfoot conditions hold no fears.
This is also the weakest race Happy Diva has contested for a long time so everything looks in place for her to get back on the scoresheet and notch seventh career success.
Brillare Momento Each-Way Value
Given that he is a course and distance winner and dual scorer at the track, Brillare Momento looks capable of outrunning his odds in the Listed 2m 4f Catesby Estates PLC Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (3.15), This eight-year-old is trained locally by Martin Keighley and landed a Listed novices’ contest on this card in 2017.
She went on to land a competitive five-runner contest at The Showcase meeting here in five months later in game fashion by 1/2 lengths and has since gone in at Towcester and run very well when 1 10 1/2 length eighth of 23 to Blow By Blow in the Martin Pipe at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Those efforts read well in relation to this and although Brillare Momento has not been at her best this season she did hint that she could be returning to form last time out when when fourth of seven to Who’s My Jockey at Doncaster over a 3m trip which was too far.
The drop back down to 2m 4f and return to this venue look sure to see Brillare Momento in a better light and on the pick of her form she ought to be up to making her presence felt in this 16-runner line up.
So at 16/1 with Coral, Brillare Momento looks well worth an each-way wager.
Aunty Ann has Conditions in her Favour
In the 3m 2f Jrl Group Mares’ Handicap Chase (3.50), the Charlie Longsdon trained.
Aunty Ann looks the one to be on at 4/1 with Ladbrokes now eased in grade following a fine run when last seen in action.
That came in the Listed 3m 1f Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton back in November where she she chased the leaders until getting outpaced three from home before staying on again to finish a 16 length fourth of 16 to Present Man off a mark of 128.
That race has thrown-up a whole host of subsequent winners and prior to it the eight-year-old had shown a willing attitude to land a seven-runner contest at the the same venue when racing up with the pace throughout and rallying bravely after the last to score by a length off a rating of 124.
Aunty Ann now returns to action in this class 3 affair off a rating of 127 and that gives her major claims at the weights in grade in which she has a 33 per cent strike rate. She also goes extremely well for young jockey Jordan Nailor who takes off a handy 7lb with his claim.
Although she has not raced for 159 days, Aunty Ann needs good ground to be seen to be seen at hre best and looks to have been saved for this following her big run in the much more competitive Badger Ales.
Pilgrim Soul Worth Siding with on Handicap Debut
Pilgrim Soul, a stablemate of Happy Diva, looks weighted to go well in the Grade 3 Junior Jumpers Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle run over 2m (4.25). The four-year-old is yet to get her head in from in four starts but has shaped well on a couple of occasions.
They include on hurdling debut when a keeping on 26 length fourth of nine to Montestrel in a warm contest. The runner-up Quel Destin has won five times since and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle last time out at the Cheltenham Festival off an official rating of 146 and the third home Elysees has gone on to bag a brace of successes.
That gives the form a solid look and there was also lots to like about the Pilgrim Soul’s run last time out at Huntingdon where she made good headway two from home before weakening laet on to 2 3/4 lengths.
Pilgrim Soul looks to have been brought along steadily with handicaps in mind and now makes her eagerly awaited debut in that sphere off an opening mark of 104. That may well underestimate her ability and ground conditions are ideal as she ran some solid races on the level on quick ground when in the care of Andrew Balding.
Off a featherweight of just 10st 3lb a bold bid looks on the cards, so Pilgrim Soul looks decent each-way value at 7/1 with bet365.