Cheltenham Festival (Tuesday)
Find out what top professional punter Alan Potts is backing or laying today.
BINOCULAR 3:20 Cheltenham Back at 2.7 or more
The defining horse of day one of the Festival and I'm a fully committed backer of a horse I reckon is going to be a star performer here for two or three more years. I had my doubts before the Ascot race just before Xmas, but that performance was the most impressive I've seen from a 2M hurdler since the ill fated Valiramix in the same race seven years ago. I don't share the concerns about him getting up the hill, as any objective viewing of his run here last year shows him still going away from all bar the winner in the final furlong - he was one of four in line two out and beat the other three easily, but the winner (and the third) came from further back. There's no doubt that McCoy will wait a bit longer today and I expect his speed to prove decisive, especially as his main rivals lack that characteristic. Celestial Halo, Osana and Katchit are worthy rivals, but they are all basically grinders that lack the class of the best 2M hurdlers.
UNITED 4:40 Cheltenham Back at 4.5 or more
A big field for the Mares Hurdle, but very few on the shortlist and I reckon United should be going off favourite here on the strength of her win in a Haydock handicap over this trip. That was her first run this season after a long layoff, she gave weight and a beating to decent male rivals and extended her winning streak over this trip to 4/4. I don't believe any of her rivals here could have matched that performance and I'm happy to ignore her subsequent run over 3M at Ascot as her record shows that trip stretches her. Her price is boosted by the support for Quevega, but I'm not convinced her recent win in Ireland over a tenderly ridden stable companion in a very slow time justifies the hype. She has more flops than triumphs on her record - she's never won a Graded race of any sort - and she may well be better suited by a right-handed track.
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