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2019 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase tips - Two against the field for Thursday's handicap chase at Cheltenham

Alan King's Azzerti can post a big effort in Thursday's competitive handicap.

Brian Healy gives his two runners against the field in Thursday's competitive handicap chase feature on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Grade Three Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase is the fifth race of the afternoon on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, and this hugely competitive handicap takes place over the same trip as the preceding Ryanair Chase.

Getting underway at 4.10pm, this handicap prize boasts a winners’ purse in excess of £60,000 and a maximum field of 24 will face the starters’ tape for race five of the day.

This race is also known by the moniker Mildmay Of Flete Challenge Cup, and past winners include The Storyteller, Road To Respect, Empire Of Dirt and Ballynagour amongst others.

Brian Healy has taken a look through the potential runners in what will be another big field contest, and he picks out two against the field for the competitive handicap race.

EAMON AN CNOIC (12/1, William Hill) showed good form over fences as a novice, winning twice in small-field contests and David Pipe’s charge wasn’t disgraced behind Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima Handicap twelve months ago when finishing ninth behind Coo Star Sivola.

Subsequent runs were underwhelming, but having had a wind surgery in the wake of finishing sixth to Siruh Du Lac at Exeter back in December, the Westerner gelding produced a career-best effort to run out a ready winner at Chepstow last month where he had Capeland almost four lengths adrift.

That was over two miles, and he appeared to win a shade cosily that day; but the step back up in trip will hold no fears, and a 7lbs rise in the weights looks workable. While he perhaps isn't the most consistent of performers given his overall profile is patchy, it could be worth taking a chance on him being able to reproduce the same level of form here.

If he does then it wouldn't come as a big surprise to see him going close again for all this is more competitive. The yard has a decent record in this race, winning three of the last nine so know what it takes to land this prize, and it is interesting that a horse he beat at Chepstow last time - albeit in receipt of weight - has been thrust into the earlier JLT Novices' Chase so there is a suspicion that despite his own rise in the weights he could still be fairly treated if able to back up that latest win here.

AZZERTI (16/1, William Hill) boasts some very solid handicap form over hurdles at a decent level, and Alan King’s charge could prove to be an even better handicap chaser not that he appears to be steadily finding his feet over fences.

Possibly in need of his return over hurdles at Chepstow after almost five months off when finishing down the field in the Silver Trophy behind Garo De Juilley, the Voix Du Nord gelding resumed his chasing career at Ascot next time where he wasn’t beaten far behind Wenyerreaddyfreddie.

He has gone on though to win two of his next three starts, scoring at Ascot and Ludlow either side of a fall here behind Kildisart where he was still holding every chance, and still with the potential for better over the larger obstacles he can remain competitive.

He was entitled to win his Ludlow outing against just two other rivals, and there is still room for him to brush up on his jumping as he wasn’t altogether fluent on a couple of occasions.

This is obviously a much tougher test of his credentials, and his jumping will be put under a more serious examination in this competitive contest; but he appears to be going the right way as a chaser, and he remains on a very workable mark. With winning form in soft ground over both hurdles and fences, he could find another jolt of improvement to post and a big run wouldn’t come as a surprise.

2019 BROWN ADVISORY PLATE TIPS - TWO AGAINST THE FIELD


EAMON AN CNOIC (12/1, William Hill), AZZERTI (16/1, William Hill)

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2019 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase tips - Two against the field for Thursday's handicap chase at Cheltenham

Brian Healy gives his two runners against the field in Thursday's competitive handicap chase feature on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

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