The excitement is building for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival with only 6 days to go and the markets are becoming much more mature now especially in the handicaps, however there is still value to be had if you shop around on certain horses. One horse who I expect to run a big race and is a double figure price is the Irish trained gelding, The Job is Right in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup handicap chase on the Thursday.
The Job is Right has been an ever consistent horse throughout his whole career at trainer Michael Hourigan’s stable and has performed consistently once again this season. He has finished in the top 5 in 4 big field handicaps this year over hurdles and fences with 3 of them being listed/graded races. He may not be necessarily well handicapped but with the Cheltenham handicaps being so compressed, you will struggle to find a horse who has numerous amounts up his sleeve left to give. To date he has only won 5 races in his 32 race career and has often played the bridesmaid with 11 places to his name. One big race that he he has to his bulging portfolio in making the places in big races is his 3rd place in the National Hunt chase at last years Cheltenham Festival, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind Cause of Causes that day and that performance would see him go fairly close in the Kim Muir this season. He was a little unlucky last season with the final fence being omitted that day and he was tapped for that bit of toe by Cause of Causes that day and although he is very unlikely to turn the tables round with Cause of Causes, he is double the odds of that horse now at 20/1 and that is a fair price in a big field handicap at the festival. You may also have to bear in mind that he finished infront of Cause of Causes in the Paddy Power at Christmas at Leopardstown, however you may well choose to ignore that run from Cause of Causes with the ‘Green and gold operation’ in full force throughout the season. I would happily tip up Cause of Causes as I feel both these horses in question have serious claims to running a big race in the Kim Muir, however the price has gone on him now at 8/1 and it may be worth waiting to see if you can get a bigger price on the day as he looks well weighted to run a big race too.
The Job is Right has also another positive to his name with a good 5th in a listed handicap hurdle at Cheltenham at the Paddy Power meeting in November and his 2 runs at Cheltenham have shown he does enjoy the course, no doubt. He then went on to run 2 crackers, 1 in the Paddy Power chase at Leopardstown, as I have already touched on, which is a race which I think the form from that race will work out well.His next cracker came in the Thyeste’s Chase at Gowran Park in January, where he finished 4th in a race that will also work out well. You have to bear in mind that both those runs came in attritional ground, and it’s worth noting that ‘Jobbo’s’ best form has come on better ground and although he is a dour stayer, he isn’t a horse who would want bottomless ground by any means.
While the Job is Right has often played the bridesmaid and may come up short once again, I have full confidence in him that he will win a big handicap one day and looks a fair price at 20/1 NRNB in most places. This is a horse who was going to finish 2nd in the Thyeste’s won by Djakadam in 2015, before unseating at the last and that race included not only the Gold Cup 2nd in Djakadam but had My Murphy (won the Thyeste’s this year), Goonyella and Gallant Oscar. He is likely to have a decent Irish amateur on board (He had Derek O’Connor on in the 4 miler) and I think all conditions will suit with the 3m2 test on the New Course being right up his street off a fair weight 11-9 which isn’t a negative due to the compression of the handicap weights these days at Cheltenham.
Looking into the opposition then you will have to fear Our Father who has looked like winning a big one for a while now but has moved to Gordon Elliott now and it would be a big performance to win this without a prep run. Cause of Causes has a big chance as we have touched on with Broadway Buffalo running off the same weight as Job is Right and Cause of Causes with that 4 miler form, so it is worth keeping him in mind. Upswing is also one to keep in mind off a good weight with the Sausalito Sunrise handicap win at Cheltenham in November working out well and The Giant Bolster and Sambremont are well weighted to run well however it is hard to gauge where these horses go with other targets in mind. However the 2 for me will be Cause of Causes although his price has contracted too much now and my advice would be to have a couple of quid each way on the consistent Job is Right at 20/1 with NRNB in play now.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup handicap chase:
The Job is Right – 1pt @ 20/1 e/w – NRNB -General
Cause of Causes – Wait till the day for any value above the current 8/1 price.