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Cheltenham Prediction: Mia to Go Down A Storm In Ultima Handicap Chase

Mia’s Storm – 16-1 (NRNB) Betvictor. Cheltenham 2.50pm Tuesday 13th March

The first handicap run at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is the three mile one furlong Ultima Handicap Chase at 2.50pm on the opening day. The race has a maximum field of twenty four and is sure to be fiercely contested with the likes of Gold Present, Singlefarmpayment, Coo Star Sivola and The Storyteller among a plethora of potential winners.

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Both David Pipe and Jonjo O’Neill has won the race on three occasions this century but following closely behind courtesy of Fork Lightning in 2004 and 2011 score Bensalem is Barbury castle trainer Alan King and it is his Mia’s Storm who makes plenty of appeal at around 20-1. Available at that price with William Hill and Betfred, Cheltenham betting wise it may be wiser to take the safer option of the 16-1 quoted by Betvictor with the non-runner-no-bet proviso as the eight-year-old also holds an entry in the Grade 1 RSA Chase on the following day.

The daughter of September Storm ended a successful spell over hurdles with an impressive victory in Haydock’s Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle last May prior to commencing a new career over fences in October. The mare’s debut over the bigger obstacles came in a competitive novice chase at Chepstow when easily beating several talented rivals including Elegant Escape and Coo Star Sivola. The latter will be a stone better off with the winner at Prestbury Park but has over eighteen lengths to make up and is quoted by bookmakers at only 10-1.

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Another easy victory came for the mount of Wayne Hutchinson on her next start when taking a Listed contest at Market Rasen by thirteen lengths. On the back of those two wins Mia’s Storm was sent off the 5-2 favourite for the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but fell at the fourteenth fence, the latest in a series of mistakes. With the previously defeated Elegant Escape finishing a close second to the winner Black Corton this was clearly not Mia’s Storm’s true running and if jumping at Cheltenham like she did in her first two starts over fences looks very favourably treated off a mark of 149.