The Cheltenham Festival gets underway on Tuesday with Champion Hurdle day. Closing the stellar seven-race card is the Grade 2 National Hunt Chase for novices over fences and amateur jockeys (17:30).
In this 4m marathon event, Impulsive Star has taken his form to a new level since finishing fourth 12 months ago for trainer Neil Mulholland when breaking the maiden chaser tag last time out.
The nine-year-old brings very smart form to the table and punters have the rare luxury of knowing he stays the extreme trip on his second crack at the race. He looks great each-way value in it with bookmakers this year.
After finishing just a head second at Catterick on his second chase start, Impulsive Star was a fine third in a hot novice race at Chepstow.
Although beaten about 10 lengths, the horses he chased home – Ramses De Teillee and Rons Dream – have since come out and placed in the Welsh Grand National over an extended 3m 5f at the same venue.
Impulsive Star raced prominently in the National Hunt Chase last year and perhaps did too much up front. He did stay on dourly, however, to finish just 2 1/2 lengths behind Sizing Tennessee in third.
That horse came out this season and won the Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy – better known to punters as the old Hennessy Gold Cup – at Newbury.
The winner Rathvinden, meanwhile, landed one of Ireland’s key Grand National trials – the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse – on his reappearance last month.
Thorough stayer can build on Classic success
While Impulsive Star found plenty for pressure to chase home the re-opposing Ok Corral at Plumpton on his own return to action this season, he has since enjoyed a big race success.
It came in the Grade 3 Classic Chase over 3m 5f at Warwick in January off bottom weight, where a change of tactics really paid dividends.
After being held-up in the hands of Sam Waley-Cohen, Impulsive Star raced in touch to improve and chase the leader at the 16th fence.
He was in front jumping the next and, although headed two out, rallied superbly to lead on the flat. Impulsive Star only needed driving out under his amateur rider to score by 3 1/4 lengths from Calett Mad.
The Classic Chase form looks good as the third and fourth horses home, Crosspark and Carole’s Destrier, have both since come out and won staying handicaps.
With his stable heading into the Cheltenham Festival in fine form, and the trip no problem, Impulsive Star looks superb each-way value at the 16/1 odds on offer with BetVictor.
The aforementioned Ok Corral and Irish raider Ballyward are respected as unexposed sorts over fences, but making the frame is well within our selection.
Bet of the day: Impulsive Star each-way in the National Hunt Chase at 16/1 with BetVictor, who pay four places.