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Loader’s Lucky 31 – Massive each-way multiple combining five selections at Cheltenham

Chris Loader has taken a look through the card at Cheltenham and combined five of his tips to make up this each-way Lucky 31 on Friday 13th December.

It’s going to be a brilliant day’s racing at Cheltenham on Friday with plenty of competitive and interesting races that could yield plenty of clues down the line. Due to the high quality action, today is an EW Lucky31 where are all picks are focused in the Cotswolds.

Friday’s Lucky 31

Rockpoint could be the answer in this little competitive affair. He won on this card last season winning the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Trial suggesting that stamina is his forte. This quality was proven when he was staying on strongly in the closing stages on his previous start behind Wholestone. The stretch of stamina could hold him in good stead here as the others have to prove their course form, stamina and give away weight from penalties. I expect a bold ride from Robbie Power and is the one they have to beat.

Barntown could be thrown in here off a mark of 112. He should have won on his penultimate start when unseating at the second last which turned out to be a race that worked out well. Subsequently he went on to score at Lingfield beating a useful rival in Theo’s Charm who’s rated 18lbs higher and the pair were well clear of the rest of the field. Both of those runs came on testing ground and with the rain that has fallen this week the conditions shouldn’t pose any problems. Also Tim Vaughan’s stable are in excellent form operating at a 20% strike rate in the last fortnight. With the five-year-old receiving lumps of weight he has to be a lively contender.

The ten-year-old was a game winner of this race twelve months ago and I think Cogry can go very close again. It was good effort to finish in third on his latest start at Cheltenham behind The Conditional & West Approach. Both have franked the form since and the three time course winner will meet West Approach again today. However he’s 11lbs pounds better off this time and West Approach might not have much room for error. I expect our selection to reverse the placings this time.

Easysland could be an exciting prospect in future Cross Country races and has every opportunity to arrive on the scene at Cheltenham. The five-year-old has thrived in this discipline over in France winning a Listed Race at Compiegne on his most recent start. A rating of 139 could be generous and he’s going to receive 9lbs from the likely favourite Yanworth. The French have been pitching up at Prestbury Park over the last few years and have won these races with the likes of Urgent De Graigne & Diesel D’allier, so Easysland should be respected. I have a sneaky feeling he could be something special.

Ask Ben could be the best handicapped horse in the final race. The son of Ask has some very strong form in his career so far and ran a respectable fourth in the Stayers Handicap Hurdle at Haydock last month. Being a prominent racer could be of benefit to Ask Ben as this could be a slog and there’s a lot of doubt in the field over stamina. I expect him to go very close and be there in the final stages.