Cheltemham Festival JLT Novices' Chase Prediction: Terefort A Value Bet at 20/1

Terrefort – 20-1 Skybet and Paddy Power (NRNB)

Of all the novice races at the Cheltenham Festival the one which appeals most as a possible punter’s ante-post benefit is the two and a half mile JLT Novices’ Chase on the Thursday. The Ben Pauling-trained Willoughby Court heads the betting at a general 4-1, mainly due to the fact that the seven-year-old is being targeted at the Grade 1 contest unlike many of the other horses towards the head of the market who have other more likely options at the festival.

Footpad, Invitation Only, Benatar, Yanworth, Monalee, Finian’s Oscar and Petit Mouchoir are more likely to run in either the Racing Post Arkle or RSA Chase so with several bookmakers going non-runner-no-bet the prospect exists for some juicy value about one or two of those horses quoted at bigger prices. Snow Falcon and Saint Calvados are just two who could prove excellent value at around 25-1 ( nrnb ) come the day of the race but it is the 20-1 ( nrnb ) available about the Nicky Henderson-trained Terrefort which appeals most at this early stage.

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Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have a wealth of talent in the novice chase department, being responsible for Arkle principles Footpad and Sceau Royal and in the ex-French gelding they could have another smart performer on their hands based on the five-year-old’s debut in this country when hacking up over the JLT trip at Huntingdon earlier this month. A mark of 137 there seriously underestimated the ability of the son of Martaline who has been raised a stone by the handicapper to a rating of 151.

The mount of Daryl Jacob was heavily backed on that occasion following some impressive homework and while the grey has yet to encounter ground faster than soft there is every chance that decent underfoot conditions could see the horse in an even better light. Terrefort and Divine Spear are Henderson’s only two entries in the race which saw the Seven Barrow’s-trained Top Notch go close twelve months ago and with the former possessing the greater potential of the pair the lightly-raced gelding could easily go off a single-figure price on the day of the race.

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