PURISTS may have scoffed at the introduction of the Jewson Novices Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005. And they probably had a point, as the first six runnings were as handicaps and the quality was nowhere near the standard of the Arkle or the RSA Chase. But the Jewson’s stock has been rising since it was made a Grade Two event in 2011 and the novices handicap baton was handed to the Centenary Chase. The Jewson is now seen as a middle distance championship race in its own right for novice chasers. So with 65 entries, where is the ante-post value?
Captain Conan is a worthy favourite and a giant of a horse. He scrambled home at Sandown after looking beaten but Barry Geraghty was quick to cite a lack of fitness. I’m not sure 4/1 offers too much ante-post value and I fancy the bookies might get after him on the day of the race, so there may be better value to be had. Aupcharlie is a lovely horse and the conditions should really suit. He also ran a blinder in the Cheltenham bumper in 2011 so should handle the rigours of the track, although his price has drifted out to 13/2.
There is a big question mark over the participation of several horses prominent in the ante post market. Fago and Arvika Ligeonniere are more likely to run in the Arkle, while Boston Bob and Dynaste look to be bound for the RSA. But Super Duty is interesting. He was beaten by Goulanes over 3m last time and coming back in trip to 2m 4f should help. 25/1 looks decent value.
But the horse Captain Conan beat by a neck at Sandown could be the stand-out ante-post value. Third Intention has always looked like a chaser and the step up to 2m 4f brought huge improvement last time. He doesn’t find much in front but 25/1 is solid each-way value especially when you consider his recent form figures (23332).
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Selection: Third Intention 25/1 (each way)
Who do you fancy for the Jewson. Is Captain Conan value? Please leave a comment below…