Cheltenham Festival: There are good grounds for backing Special Tiara at 20/1

© 2012 Daily Sport Limited

The feature race at Cheltenham tomorrow is the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.20), and Special Tiara looks the value bet at 20/1 now that he has the ground he relishes.

The gelding is one of two runners in the contest for irish trainer Henry De Bromhead, with the other being Sizing Europe who won the contest back in 2011 and is shorter in the betting.

However Special Tiara is five years younger than his 12-year-old stable companion, who now looks to have his best years behind him, and remains open to plenty of improvement.

The seven-year-old needs good ground to be seen at his best, as he showed at Aintree last year when winning the Grade 1 Magull Novices’ Chase.

He raced prominently that day and ran on strongly to beat Overturn by 1 3/4 lengths and had the favourite for this Sire De Grugy a further 24 1/4 lengths behind in fourth.

It was a cracking effort and showed what he could do when he had underfoot conditions in his favour.

Since then he has had his ground just once in four runs, when finishing a highly creditable 6 1/4 lengths third behind Kid Cassidy and Sire De Grugy in the Shloer Chase over 2m at Cheltenham back in November.

He led until being headed two from home, and then kept on again after being outpaced by the front pair up the run-in without being unduly knocked about.

His handler has clearly looked after him with a view to bagging a big prize when he has his optiumum conditions, and his prayers have been answered with the ground quickening up all the time.

The booking of Davy Russell, who has a 33% strike rate when teaming up with the stable in the past 12 months, is another plus and given the doubts about Sire De Grugy acting around Cheltenham I don’t think that he should be as big as he is in the betting compared to that rival.

Daily Sport recommended bet: 2pts each-way Special Tiara (20/1 BetVictor, Ladbrokes – BOG, 1/4 odds 1,2,3)



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