It's all about the lassies on the second of two competitive days of Cheltenham action in the April meeting as the fillies and mares take over the entire card at Prestbury Park on Thursday.
We have once again found some excellent value bets on a day which kicks off with no less than three Listed events. Here are the best of the contenders:Embed from Getty Images
2.05 (2m4f Mares' Novices' Hurdle) (Listed) - DAME DE COMPAGNIE
Festival runners Angels Antics and Dame Rose will be well fancied here but both pulled-up last month and have had a hard time on the softer ground with no guarantee that a sounder surface will now help them.
The one who I think will love this better going is Dame De Compagnie for Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson and she gets the vote to take the opener on day two - watch out for strong money for her in the betting ring just before the off.
2.40 (2m5f Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase) (Listed) - MIDNIGHT TARGET
There could be some great value here in John Groucott's entrant Midnight Target who appears to me to be very well handicapped indeed.
I say that as, despite having gone up plenty for a novice chase second then a handicap win at Huntingdon, she will love the better ground here and is improving plenty so could score at the expense of The Bay Birch who seems perhaps to be more comfortably in the assessor's grip.
3.15 (2m4f Mares' Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) - MAJESTIC MOLL
Emma Lavelle's 6yo mare is a last time out winner but in fact hasn't run for 138 days meaning she should be entirely fresh for this good ground assignment.
She scored really well at Doncaster in December and looks to be a proper improver, one who is bound to make her handicap mark look a little generous on this occasion. She can score at the expense of Midnight Jazz of Ben Case.
3.50 (3m2f Mares' Handicap Chase) - MAID OF MILAN
We've not had the chance yet to see the best of Charlie Mann's mare over fences and crucially, nor has the handicapper which is why we should be backing her to take this prize.
She fell last time when an odds-on jolly but has been given plenty of time to recover and looks to be anything up to half a stone well-in for this one if she goes the way I think she will on the better ground. She should have too much for the likes of Jennys Surprise and Same Circus.
4.25 (2m1f Fillies' Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) - SHINE BABY SHINE
This is a tough one to take a stab at given the inexperience of all involved, but it may pay to take Shine Baby Shine to just outclass main rivals Hillcrest Fire and Cubswin.
Philip Kirby's filly probably just appreciated better ground when running on the Flat so I can see why she's shown limited form so far over hurdles, though her win at Catterick last month is a positive and she may well prove to be handicapped a little better than her rivals today which is what it's all about.
5.00 (2m 1/2f Mares' Handicap Chase) - SISTER SYBIL
Hopefully by the time post time comes around Hughie Morrison's mare's price isn't too restrictive as she surely rates as one of the best bets of the day.
Not only does she look very well handicapped for this, but her rivals are pretty thin on the ground with worries about the likes of Got Away and The Nipper while the others barely even come into the reckoning on form. Let's hope for 6/4 or better about Tom O'Brien's mount who looks as solid as they come on an otherwise competitive day of action.
5.35 Cheltenham (2m1f Mares' Bumper - 4-6yo) - MECHELEN
We may yet get a pretty tidy price about David Pipe's four-year-old Mechelen and for me she is the one to be on in the lucky last.
The recent Taunton runner-up could close a riveting two days of the April meeting in fine style given that she has a ton of unexposed improvement in her, something which gives her the edge at the weights on the likes of Diamond Gait and Lust For Glory who each have place chances in a competitive enough looking finale.
Tom Scudamore take the mount for a horse who has been given plenty of time to recover from her debut and looks to be a great each-way shout at the very least.
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