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Who is best value for Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham?

Who is best value for Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham?
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The BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase headlines Saturday's meeting at Cheltenham, but which horses represent the best value in the showcase race of the day?

With stables across Great Britain and Ireland already giving much thought to the high-profile races which will take place next March and April, Saturday's meeting at Cheltenham provides the ideal opportunity for many horses to gain a high-profile outing before Christmas. The headline race is the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase with 25 runners currently listed to go head-to-head at 2.40pm, and the lack of a star name is providing punters with plenty of value.

When betting on horse racing this weekend, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the favourite Slate House. The seven-year-old did not fare too well when competing at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year, but a win was picked up in a six-horse race at the same course late last month. Having shown plenty of promise during that outing after a 228-day break, many expect Slate House to build on that form going forward. That said, it is difficult to ignore Siruh Du Lac, who heads into the race having prevailed in his last four appearances. While the six-year-old will be coming off a 247-day break at the weekend, his latest win came when making the pace throughout the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at this course in March. Siruh Du Lac's betting odds are currently fluctuating between 5/1 and 8/1, but even the lower price is value for money.

If you are looking for a relative outsider for an each-way bet, Brelan D'as may be the way to go. The eight-year-old can currently be had at 20/1 due to Barry Geraghty being unseated when in contention for a place at this course last month. The victor of that race - Saint Calvados - is available at half of the odds and some will hold more faith in that horse, but we cannot ignore that Brelan D'as finished in third spot in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival. He was only four lengths away from emerging victorious in a 19-horse race on that occasion, so there is scope for a decent-sized each-way bet to be made on him this weekend.

There will also be plenty of interest in the Smartcards Handicap Chase earlier in the day, which will be run over three miles and three furlongs. It is an opportunity for horses to stake their claim ahead of a potential appearance at the Grand National in 2020, and we feel that Big River is the horse to watch at 10/1. A fourth-placed finish in a stacked Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a fifth in the Scottish Grand National a month later has already made him an outsider for the showpiece event at Aintree, and heavy ground from Friday's predicted rainfall could aid this stayer.

As well as the meeting at Cheltenham, there are also several Class 1 races taking place on the polytrack at Lingfield. The most hotly-contested race will likely be the Golden Rose Stakes at 3.15pm with eight horses currently priced between 4/1 and 10/1. Irish-Bred horse Above The Rest sticks out for us having secured a win or a place in half of his 10 races on the all-weather, and a third place at 16/1 was picked up on a marginally longer trip at this course as recently as last month. That performance has resulted in the betting odds more than halving for this occasion, but it is hard for us to back against the eight-year-old being there or thereabouts during the closing stages of the race.

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Barry Geraghty on Bob's Worth land safely over the last ahead of Long Run and Sir des Champs on their way to victory in the Chentenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 15, 2013
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