Champagne West will be a warm order in tomorrow’s 2.25 at Cheltenham, and he has a good engine, but he’s not the most natural jumper so, seeking some value in the race, I came across Un Beau Roman at 16/1.
Six weeks ago his home was among the stars in Closutton as one of Willie Mullins’s horses. But he was sold to a small trainer, Paul Henderson who trains about 30 down at Whitsbury. Un Beau Roman ran poorly in his first outing for the yard over hurdles, but back over fences a couple of weeks later, he won in the style of an improving horse.
With 28 runs, you’d hardly call him unexposed, but it’s not unusual for a horse to improve for a move to a much smaller yard. He’s the best horse Henderson has, which will make a nice change from seeing Vautour & Co at breakfast every morning.
In a race run at a decent pace at Kempton, he travelled supremely well throughout under Wayne Hutchinson, and after a brief tussle in the straight put the race to bed in fine fashion. A comment from Ruby about the horse early in his career suggested he was a weak finisher, and if so, Cheltenham wouldn’t be the place for a ding-dong battle in this hot handicap. But he looks as though he’ll have no issue travelling nicely in behind the leaders, and he jumped well at Kempton. The hill, as ever, will tell the tale in the end.
I’ve backed him EW at 16/1 and suggest you do the same. And Bet365 offer 100/1 about him in the Ryanair non-runner-no-bet. If he loses tomorrow, I suspect he will not run, and if he wins, he’ll be a good deal shorter than 100/1, despite the size of the task in March. So, a fiver at 100s will buy you some very cheap fun throughout tomorrow’s race.
And stranger things have happened than a Closutton ugly duckling turning into a Festival swan.