Bet365 Jump Finale Day
Bet365 Jump Finale Day (Saturday 28 April) is the final day of the 2017/18 National Hunt Season. It features 7 races, with the highlights being the Bet365 Oaksey Chase, Bet365 Celebration Chase, Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase, and the BET365 Select Hurdle. It is also a day on which the standings for the National Hunt Jockeys' Championship and the National Hunt Trainers' Championship are finalised and the winners presented with their prizes.
Bet365 Oaksey Chase (2.25)
This 2-miles 6-furlongs and 164 yards Grade 2 Chase is named after one of National Hunt Racing's most loved and missed personalities, Lord Oaksey. Amazingly, all four of the previous renewals have been won by Menorah, who won first won it at the age of 9 for trainer Phillip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson. He carried 11-10 to victory each time at odds of between 9/4 and 5/1. Neither Menorah, Hobbs or Johnson feature this year, but Top Notch arrives fresher than most after missing Cheltenham and Aintree. His biggest rival looks to Double Shuffle but, despite that rival coming out best at the weights, he may lack the speed of Top Notch when it matters.
Bet365 Oaksey Chase Tip: Top Notch
Bet365 Celebration Chase
The last four winners of the Celebration Chase had either all won the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival or, in the case of Special Tiara, would go on to win one having run well in previous renewals. Special Tiara returns this year, but no 11-year-old has been victorious in the last decade. Indeed, five of the last 10 winners have been 8-year-olds, which suggests this year's Champion Chase winner Altior has an outstanding chance. He also, officially, has 17lb and upwards in-hand over all his rivals and anything but a resounding victory for Nicky Henderson star 2-mile chaser will be a big disappointment.
Bet365 Celebration Chase Tip: Altior
Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3.35)
The Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase, still affectionately called the Whitbread by many National Hunt enthusiasts, is traditionally a tough race to carry big-weights in. Indeed, nine of the last 10 winners have carried between 10-0 and 11-1. Plenty of winners also came into the race on the back of average performances, with just one of the last 10 winners having won its last race. One horse that could have been targeted at this all season looks to be Royal Vacation, who's now rated 7lb lower than he was when winning the 2016 Kauto Star Novices' Chase. He promises to be well-suited by this step-up in trip and the Tizzard horses have generally been running well at the Punchestown Festival this week.
Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase Tip: Royal Vacation (Each-way)
Bet365 Select Hurdle (4.05)
Last year's winning owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede pose a conundrum by saddling two runners. However, whilst their number one jockey Daryl Jacob has opted to ride Wholestone, it's their other runner, Call Me Lord, who comes out best at the weights in receipt of 6lb. He also has an excellent course record with two wins and a second from three starts, with that defeat coming off top-weight in a tough handicap.
Bet365 Select Hurdle Tip: Call Me Lord