Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024: Take 10/1 about these handicap hopefuls

 | February 21 | 

4 mins read

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The entries for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival handicaps are in and the respective Betfred markets are finally open, so it's time to write a couple of horses I've had my eye on for months into the antepost book.

Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024

  • Crebilly @ 10/1 for the Plate Handicap Chase
  • Chianti Classico @ 10/1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase

I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I loaded up the BHA website on Tuesday morning, before the release of the handicap entries, and saw (+1) next to Jonjo O'Neill's Crebilly, who's been on my radar for a Cheltenham Festival handicap since last year.

That rise of just a solitary pound is a result of the seven-year-old's cosy success at Exeter earlier this month, when the son of Soldier Of Fortune beat Tahmuras and Trelawne with a good bit to spare.

Sure, he was in receipt of five pounds from the pair, but they're in-form horses rated 145 and 143 respectively and I strongly believe the result would have been no different even if they were racing off level weights.

I think a mark of 140 seriously underestimates this horse, who brings some very strong form to the table - including behind Turners Novices' Chase favourite Ginny's Destiny.

On Crebilly's chasing debut, at Cheltenham back in November, he was sent off favourite against the aforementioned Paul Nicholls inmate, who was in receipt of a pound, and there's a very fair argument to be made that he'd have beaten him but for falling two out.

Ginny's Destiny is now rated 155 and 11/4 at Betfred for the opening race on Thursday of the Festival, which it's fair to say reads extremely favourably in regards to the selection and his own chances at Prestbury Park next month.

Even their next meeting, again at HQ over the intermediate trip, can be packaged up positively for Crebilly despite a convincing form reversal by Ginny's Destiny.

The former jumped terribly that day. I've just watched the race back and he clattered the fourth last, third last, second last and was messy at the final fence, so I actually thought it was a fair testament to his ability that he kept regaining the bridle and ultimately wasn't beaten far by two of the UK's leading novice chasers (including Grey Dawning who was second).

I believe Crebilly is a 145-150 horse and therefore I make him a must-bet at 10/1 - which I can't see lasting much longer - for the Plate Handicap Chase, which is surely his target over the Ultima.

Crebilly at 10/1 to win the Plate Handicap Chase at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Speaking of the Ultima Handicap Chase, I strongly suggest taking the same odds about Kim Bailey's Chianti Classico while it's still available.

I'm not the first and I certainly won't be the last to tip up the seven-year-old son of Shantou for the race, but there's a reason for that - his chance is undeniable.

He first appeared on my radar when comfortably landing a competitive handicap, off a mark of 133, at Chepstow back in October last year, and he's done nothing but further convince me in his two outings since.

It was a fair weight-carrying performance at Ascot that November and he enjoyed what I thought was a perfect preparation when second at Kempton just over a month ago.

Off 142, he was beaten only two lengths by Dan Skelton's Flegmatik, who's favourite to bag a £85,000 pot at Kempton this weekend, despite racing widest of all and showing a tendency to jump a little out to his left.

That'll be no bother going the 'right' way round at Cheltenham and I suspect he's got a lot more to give off his revised mark of just a pound higher - another generous piece of handicapping in my book.

He has entries for the National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir, but this very week Bailey is on record saying they're simply precautional as the Ultima has been on his mind "for a while now". You and me both, Kim.

Chianti Classico at 10/1 to win the Ultima Handicap Chase at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Stay tuned to Betfred Insights for more Cheltenham Tips as we build-up to the 2024 Festival

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