2021 Cheltenham Festival – 33/1 Outsider Can Stun Favourites In Pertemps Final

Sire Du Berlais jumps the last en route to winning last year's Pertemps FinalSire Du Berlais jumps the last en route to winning last year's Pertemps Final

2021 Pertemps Final Tips

A tough 3m handicap hurdle on day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival is the latest puzzle Lewis Tomlinson is trying to solve.

Pertemps Final Overview

The Pertemps is unique amongst Britain’s major handicap hurdles, as it employs a qualification system- entrants must have finished in the first six of the one of the sixteen  qualifying races across the season in order to run in the Final at the Festival. Sire Du Berlais, winner of the last two Finals, was never closer than fourth in his two qualifying campaigns, symbolic of an intriguing race where many sets of connections are often careful to keep their cards close to their chest before the big day.

Key contenders – The Bosses Oscar

Current market leader The Bosses Oscar was luckless when fifth in the Martin Pipe last season, having to sidestep a faller when looked poised to make his challenge. He’s been given a very honest campaign this season by Gordon Elliott, winning on his return at Thurles before finishing second to subsequent Grade 1 winner Flooring Porter at Navan and  chasing home Dandy Mag (14-1) in the Leopardstown’s qualifier over Christmas.

It’s easy to see why The Bosses Oscar has attracted support; he’s consistent, easily talented enough to win this race and showed up well at the Festival last season, but the major sticking point is based around how harshly he appears to have been treated by the British handicapper. He’s currently rated 143 in Ireland, which still looks a workable mark, but the BHA currently have him on 151, which looks on the stiff side and he might need to be a Graded quality animal to defy that mark here.

Imperial Alcazar

Imperial Alcazar took a qualifier at Warwick on his most recent outing, and Fergal O’Brien’s lightly raced seven-year-old had more in hand than the two-and-a-quarter length margin suggested. Two of his three career wins have come on heavy ground, so he’d be well suited if he races develops into a slog, whilst he’s shown prior form at Cheltenham when running Protektorat close in a good novice hurdle here last season. An 8lb rise to 147 is fair, and he has claims again.

Southfield Harvest is a horse I have a lot of time for, and I think he’ll make a smashing staying novice chaser when the time comes, but I do worry about whether he just lacks a gear or two for this sort of test.

Third Wind

The standout price for me, though, is the 33-1 available about last season’s fourth Third Wind.  The first and second, Sire Du Berlais and The Storyteller, will be running in Grade 1 company in the Stayers’ Hurdle later on this card, and both will line up with clear claims. The third, Tout Est Permis, is a mid-150s rated chaser who was taking advantage of a 20lb lower mark when running in the race.

In short, it was an unusually strong event for the grade, and Third Wind emerged best of those who haven’t gone on to show high-class form in open Graded company this season. He’s continued his progression into this campaign, qualifying for this with a fifth at Newbury before running second to progressive Main Fact in the competitive Haydock staying handicap formerly known as the “Fixed Brush.”

He wasn’t disgraced when fifth in the Grade 1 Long Walk, but this is more his level and he’s only 5lb higher than when running a fine race in this last term. I don’t think this year’s renewal looks as deep on paper and Third Wind is far too big a price to hit the frame again.

Pertemps Final Big-Race Verdict

The top two in the betting The Bosses Oscar and Imperial Alcazar are fair prices and I wouldn’t put anyone of siding with them, but, for a horse who has enjoyed a good a season and has prior Festival form in this race, THIRD WIND is just the wrong price.