November 29, 2013 Leave a comment
Whilst looking at Friday afternoon’s Newbury card, the second day of the three day Hennessy meeting, nothing jumped off the screen that screamed “back me”. Well, it did but it was in the form of 8/11 shot, Wonderful Charm in the 2:05, Berkshire Novices’ Chase.
Now I’m not in the game of betting high stakes on novice chasers for obvious reasons but I am in the game of trying to find an angle for value and in Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old, I think there’s an angle for for some Cheltenham Festival ante post value.
Arriving at Ditcheat from France just over twelve months ago, Wonderful Charm only had two starts over hurdles last season, the first came in an easy win over 2m 4f at Chepstow on his British debut before he was thrown straight into the deep end with a tilt at the World Hurdle. Whilst the youngster only finished eighth in the former stayers hurdle, the mere fact that Nicholls considered this new recruit an adequate replacement to represent his yard in the absence of Big Buck’s with Ruby Walsh taking the ride, is enough to suggest that the seven-times winning Champion National Hunt Trainer must hold this inmate in suitably high regard. He must equally have seen enough on the gallops to believe that he has the engine to stay three miles.
Following a summer of schooling over jumps at his Somerset home, Wonderful Charm made his reappearance in October in a novice chase at Fakenham. An eight length victory with consummate ease on that occasion was followed up with another win at Wincanton earlier this month, finishing a length to the good on Emma Levelle’s Fox Appeal. Watching that race back, it is fairly evident that this is a good horse and I a confident that he is a lot better than the winning margin on that occasion suggests and the way he ran on leads me to believe that he will appreciate further.
He steps up to even better company on Friday afternoon and the odds-on quote reflects his chances fairly. However, this race is a clearly stepping stone to better things as wins for Bobs Worth, Dynaste and Denman in recent years prove. Wonderful Charm is a best price 16/1 to win the RSA Chase and I think this will be his target at the Festival (over the Jewson, for which he’s 12/1) and I am happy to try and bag a bit of value at this stage about a runner that is clearly well thought of and has made a promising start to life over bigger obstacles. There are plenty of contenders at this time in the RSA market but my philosophy is that if you seek out value, over the long term, you shouldn’t be too far off the mark and this is one speculative addition to the 2014 Cheltenham ante post portfolio I’m happy to make.
Wonderful Charm to win the 2014 RSA Chase @ 16/1 with Bet Victor