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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Preview

Andoversford trainer Kim Bailey has saddled just one winner from 29 runners over fences at Cheltenham in the last five seasons, but A.P. McCoy has a 7-12 (58%) strike rate on steeplechasers for the yard in the same period, so his booking for Un Ace in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (4.40) on Thursday may be significant.

The champion jockey was aboard the 7-year-old gelding when he was beaten 1½ lengths by Champagne West in a novices’ chase over course and distance in December but, granted the winner is now rated 152, Un Ace looks well handicapped off a mark of 144.

Indeed, he may still be open to improvement after just three completed starts over fences and, while he’s done all his winning on good to soft going, he ran well enough on his sole attempt on good going to suggest that faster underfoot conditions won’t be a problem. He has an absence of 89 days to overcome, but won on what was effectively his seasonal debut at Huntingdon in November and clearly goes well fresh.

Obviously, in a field of 24, he’ll need luck in running, but he appears to have an outstanding chance and the 10/1 available with William Hill may not last long.

Selection: Cheltenham 4.40 Un Ace (10/1 with William Hill) to win


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