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Sky$Bet$Supreme$Novices’$Hurdle$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£71,188' Distance:'2m87y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Labaik$

$ CLAIMANTAKINFORGAN$$ Nicky&Henderson& Grech&&&Parkin& & Useful&performer&that&put&up&a&good&display&when&finishing&third&in&the& Champion&Bumper&at&last&seasons&Cheltenham&Festival&behind&the&ilAfated& Fayonagh.&Claimantakinforgan&won&his&first&two&starts&over&timber&in&good& fashion&before&failing&to&complete&a&hat&trick&last&time&at&Musselburgh.&I&don’t& think&that&C&D&played&to&his&strengths&and&he’ll&be&much&more&at&home&at& Cheltenham.&I&think&this&horse&is&better&than&we’ve&seen&to&date&and&I&think& there’s&more&to&come&from&him&but&there’ll&need&to&be&if&he’s&going&to&land&a& race&of&this&nature.& & '

GETABIRD$' W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci& Getabird&has&created&a& very&big&impression&this& season&in&two&career& starts&over&hurdles&for& Willie&Mullins.&He&won& in&very&taking&fashion& on&his&hurdling&debut& at&Punchestown&(2m4f,& Heavy)&before&easily&landing&the&Grade&2&Moscow&Flyer&Novice&at&the&same& track&a&month&later.&Willie&Mullins&and&Rich&Ricci&won&the&same&race&with& Vautour&and&Douvan,&who&both&landed&the&Supreme&Novice&Hurdle&at&the& Cheltenham&Festival.&Getabird&has&some&big&hoofAprints&to&fill&but&he’s&a&very& smart&horse&that’s&going&the&right&way&at&present&and&deserves&his&place&at&the& top&of&the&betting&for&this&year’s&renewal.& &


KALASHNIKOV$' Amy&Murphy& Paul&Murphy& Kalashnikov&took&his&record&over&hurdles&to&3&wins&from&4&career&starts&when& winning&the&Betfair&Hurdle&at&Newbury&in&great&style.&Amy&Murphy’s&charge& previously&finished&a&brave&second&in&the&Grade&1&Tolworth&Hurdle&at&Sandown& on&ground&described&as&softer&than&ideal.&Amy&Murphy&strongly&believes&this& horse&will&be&even&better&on&better&ground&and&he&should&relish&a&race&of&this& nature&going&a&strong&gallop.&He&looks&open&to&plenty&of&improvement&and& should&take&another&big&step&forward.& &

$ &

MENGLI$KHAN$$

$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud&

Useful&flat&performer&for&Hugo&Palmer&that&has&taken&his&form&to&a&new&level& since&switched&hurdling&for&his&new&connections.&He&built&on&his&Grade&3& success&at&Navan&to&easily&land&the&Grade&1&Royal&Bond&Novice&Hurdle&at& Fairyhouse&the&following&month.&Mengli&Khan&was&no&match&for&the& impressive&Getabird&last&time&in&the&Grade&1&Moscow&Flyer&Novice&Hurdle&at& Punchestown&and&it’s&hard&to&imagine&him&reversing&that&9Alengths&defeat& here.! !

$ PALOMA$BLUE$$ Henry&De&Bromhead& C&Jones& I&like&this&horse&a&lot&and&I&think&he&has&a&real&touch&of&class&about&him.&I&loved& the&way&he&won&his&bumper&last&season&despite&showing&serious&signs&of& inexperience&before&running&a&respectable&race&behind&the&IlAfated&Fayonagh& in&a&Grade&1&at&Punchestown.&I’ll&keep&it&pretty&simple,&good&ground&is&vital&to& this&horse&and&I’m&confident&he’ll&be&a&much&better&horse&when&competing&on& a&sound&surface.&I&was&very&impressed&with&the&way&he&travelled&and&jumped& in&the&Deloitte&Novice&Hurdle&last&time&and&he&was&the&only&horse&that&could& go&with&Samcro&when&he&quickened&things&up.&Paloma&Blue&got&tired&that&day& in&the&testing&ground&conditions&and&I’d&fancy&him&to&run&a&big&race&in&this&with& no&Samcro&in&the&field.&


$ SLATE$HOUSE$$ Colin&Tizzard& Eric&Jones,&Geoff&Nicholas,&John&Romans$ Slate&House&has&always&had&a&pretty&tall&reputation&and&showed&why&when& landing&two&C&D&races&here&at&the&start&of&the&season,&including&a&Grade&2& victory&over&subsequent&Grade&1&winner&Summervile&Boy.&He&hasn’t&looked& the&same&in&two&outings&since&but&his&yard&was&under&a&cloud&then&and&I’m& sure&he’ll&be&back&to&his&best&at&the&festival.&If&this&horse&can&recapture&his& early&season&promise&I’m&sure&he’ll&outrun&his&current&odds&back&on&better& ground.& &

$ $ SUMMERVILLE$BOY$$ Tom&George& R&S&Brookhouse& Summerville&Boy&has&done&nothing&but&improve&this&season&and&took&his&form& to&a&new&level&when&landing&the&Grade&1&Tolworth&Hurdle&at&Sandown&last& time.&The&form&of&that&race&has&worked&out&very&well&with&the&second& (Kalashnikov)&landing&the&Betfair&Hurdle&at&Newbury&on&his&next&outing.& Summerville&Boy&has&valuable&C&D&experience&to&his&name,&which&will&be&a& huge&asset&at&the&festival&and&if&he&can&take&another&step&forward&I&think&he’ll& be&a&player&here.&& & &

$ WESTERN$RYDER$$ Warren&Greatrex& Albatross&Club/Bryan&Drew&&&Friends$ Useful&bumper&horse&last&season,&Western&Ryder&built&on&his&victory&at& Chepstow&to&land&a&competitive&Novice&Hurdle&at&Cheltenham&in&December&in& the&style&of&a&very&smart&horse&(beating&Tolworth&Hurdle&winner&Summervile& Boy).&He&hasn’t&been&seen&to&best&effect&in&two&outings&since&in&testing&ground& conditions&but&he’s&another&in&the&lineAup&that&should&prove&better&when& competing&on&better&ground.&He’s&a&smart&horse&that&shouldn’t&be&ruled&out.&


Race$Trends$ • • • • • • • • • •

17/19&–&Won&their&last&race& 16/16&–&Won&over&hurdles! 16/16&–&Run&more&than&twice&that&season! 15/16&–&Were&in&the&first&3&last&time&out&! 15/16&–&SP&no&bigger&than&25/1! 15/16&–&Ran&in&a&field&of&no&more&than&12&runners&last&time&out! 14/15&–&Aged&5&or&6! 11/16&–&Irish&trained&runners! Royal&Bond&&&Deloitte&Hurdle&have&been&excellent&trials&in&recent&year’s! Willie&Mullins&has&an&excellent&record&in&the&race! ! !

Verdict! On&paper&this&looks&a&very&weak&renewal&of&the&Supreme&Novices&Hurdle&and& the&same&comments&could&have&been&said&last&season&but&it&still&managed&to& throw&up&an&exciting&race.&Claimantakinforgan&ran&well&in&the&Champion& Bumper&here&last&season&and&made&a&pleasing&start&to&his&hurdling&career&with& two&easy&victories&before&tasting&defeat&last&time&at&Musselburgh.&I&can&forgive& any&horse&a&below&par&run&at&that&track&with&the&tight&turns&probably&not& playing&to&his&strengths.&He&should&improve&back&on&a&galloping&track&on&better& ground&and&should&not&be&underestimated&here&for&Nicky&Henderson.&Similar& comments&apply&to&Western&Ryder,&who&also&ran&a&nice&race&here&last&season.&I& think&good&ground&is&vital&to&him&and&we&should&see&a&different&horse&at&the& festival.&Betfair&Hurdle&winners&haven’t&had&great&success&in&this&race&over&the& years,&Kalashnikov&will&put&up&a&bold&bid&to&rectify&that&but&he&wouldn’t&be&for& me&at&his&current&price.&I&was&at&Newbury&when&he&won&the&Betfair&Hurdle&and& although&the&ground&wouldn’t&have&suited&Amy&Murphy’s&him&that&day,&I& thought&plenty&of&the&wellAfancied&runners&underperformed.&He&will&still&need& to&step&up&on&that&for&me&but&the&return&to&better&ground&should&bring&out& further&improvement.&There’s&no&doubt&for&the&fifth&year&running&this&race& revolves&around&Willie&Mullins&and&Ruby&Walsh&with&Getabird&currently&the& redAhot&favourite.&He’s&undoubtedly&the&most&likely&winner&of&this&race&but&at& the&current&prices&I’m&happy&to&let&him&win&and&take&him&on&with&some&value.&I& think&PALOMA$BLUE&is&very&interesting&and&he’s&a&horse&I’ve&always&thought& had&a&huge&engine&and&he&impressed&me&last&time&behind&Samcro.&He&jumped& and&travelled&very&well&before&tiring&late&on&in&very&soft&ground&conditions.&I& fancy&him&to&take&his&form&to&a&new&level&back&on&better&ground&and&he&should& outrun&his&odds.&Slate&House&could&run&a&nice&race&back&on&better&ground&for& Colin&Tizzard.& & Selection:&PALOMA$BLUE'(16/1)&


Racing$Post$Arkle$Novices’$Chase$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£99,663' Distance:'1m7f$199y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Altior$

$

BRAIN$POWER$$ Nicky&Henderson& Michael&Buckley& Brain&Power&quickly&developed&into&a&very&smart&hurdler&last&season&for&Nicky& Henderson&and&Micheal&Buckley.&He&made&a&pleasing&start&to&his&chasing& career&at&Kempton&when&jumping&and&travelling&beautifully&to&record&a&wide& margin&success.&His&jumping&has&come&under&strong&pressure&since&in&two& Grade&1&races&at&Sandown&and&Ascot&respectively&and&he&has&a&lot&to&prove&in& that&area.&Brain&Power&remains&a&horse&with&scope&for&further&improvement&in& this&sphere&but&his&jumping&will&need&to&improve&and&his&worst&runs&have&been& at&Cheltenham.&

$ $ FOOTPAD! &

W&P&Mullins& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& Footpad&has&been&a&revelation&since&switching&to&fences&this&season&and&has& hardly&brushed&a&fence&in&3& career&outings.&He’s& already&got&2&Grade&1& victories&over&the&larger& obstacles&on&his&CV&and&he& sets&a&very&high&standard& for&his&rivals&to&aim&at&in& this&seasons&Arkle.&He&was& brilliant&in&victory&last&time& at&Leopardstown&when& defeating&the&talented& Petit&Mouchoir&and&connections&will&be&hoping&he&can&confirm&that&form&again& at&the&festival.&This&will&be&his&toughest&test&but&he&has&the&class&and&jumping& ability&that&you&need&to&win&a&race&of&this&nature.&&


PETIT$MOUCHOIR$& Henry&De&Bromhead& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Petit&Mouchoir&had&a&brilliant&campaign&over&hurdles&last&season&and&was&the& best&of&these&in&that&sphere.&He&made&a&pleasing&start&to&life&over&the&larger& obstacles&with&a&fluent&success&at&Punchestown&before&suffering&a&setback&that& ruled&him&out&for&almost&four&months.&He&returned&to&the&racecourse&in&early& February&for&the&Irish&Arkle&at&Leopardstown&where&he&ran&a&race&full&of& promise&behind&the&very&smart&Footpad.&He&looks&certain&to&improve&for&that& outing&and&I’d&be&hopeful&he&could&get&closer&to&that&rival&at&the&festival.'

$ $ SAINT$CALVADOS$$ Harry&Whittington& A&Brooks& Saint&Calvados&looks&a&very&exciting&horse&in&the&making&and&has&created&a& very&big&impression&in&his&three&starts&over&fences&this&season&for&trainer&Harry& Whittington.&He&landed&two&Novice&Handicap&Chases&at&Newbury&in&effortless& fashion&before&jumping&his&rivals&into&submission&in&the&Grade&2&Kingmaker&at& Warwick.&I&think&this&is&a&real&dark&horse&in&this&season’s&race&and&he&should& not&be&under&estimated.&He&has&plenty&of&class&but&his&jumping&ability&is&good& enough&to&put&these&under&strong&pressure.&! '

$ SCEAU$ROYAL$$ Alan&King& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede&& Sceau&Royal&is&a&very&smart&performer&on&his&day&and&has&done&nothing&wrong& since&switching&to&fences&this&season.&He&was&very&good&when&landing&the& Grade&1&Henry&VIII&Novices’&Chase&at&Sandown&earlier&in&the&campaign.&He& jumped&and&travelled&beautifully&that&day&and&shaped&as&if&a&race&like&this&was& made&for&him.&He&got&the&job&done&well&enough&when&carrying&a&penalty&to& Grade&2&success&last&time&at&Doncaster&despite&seemingly&not&enjoying&the&soft& ground&conditions.&Sceau&Royal&has&valuable&C&D&experience&to&his&name&over& fences&and&is&a&much&better&horse&on&better&ground.&


&

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

14/16&–&Had&an&official&rating&above&142! 10/20&–&French&bred&runners! 10/10&–&First&or&second&in&all&completed&chases! 9/10&–&&8/1&or&less! 9/13&–&Won&or&placed&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&before! 10/15&–&Won&a&Novice&Chase&in&December! 6/10&–&Aged&7! 5/24&–&Were&won&by&favourites! & !

Verdict$ This&year’s&Arkle&has&the&potential&to&be&one&of&the&best&renewals&in&a&while& with&plenty&of&strength&in&depth&in&the&field.&Sceau&Royal&has&done&nothing& wrong&over&fences&this&season&but&his&only&defeat&did&come&over&this&C&D&and& that&wasn’t&a&hot&race.&He’s&undoubtedly&a&classy&sort&on&his&day&but&his&form& usually&fades&away&during&the&spring.&I&thought&Brain&Power&would&develop& into&a&real&topAclass&chaser&this&season&but&his&jumping&has&let&him&down&the& last&twice.&He&should&be&suited&by&a&return&to&better&ground&and&he&will&race& here&after&undergoing&wind&surgery.&His&jumping&will&come&under&strong& pressure&here&but&if&the&penny&finally&drops&he’s&a&player.&Petit&Mouchoir& made&a&very&promising&debut&over&fences&before&running&a&very&eyeAcatching& race&last&time&after&a&short&layAoff.&He&should&improve&for&that&effort&and&make& a&bold&bid.&He&isn’t&one&I’ll&be&backing&at&his&current&price&but&I&can’t&get&away& from&FOOTPAD!in&this.&It’s&hard&not&to&be&impressed&with&what&he’s&done& over&fences&this&season&and&his&jumping&has&been&faultless&on&all&three& outings.&I’m&sure&Petit&Mouchoir&will&get&closer&to&him&in&this&but&not&enough& to&cause&a&real&threat.&The&joker&in&the&field&in&undoubtedly&the&Harry& Whittington&trained&Saint&Calvados,&who&has&been&brilliant&this&season.&His& jumping&is&deadly&and&if&Footpad&has&any&chinks&in&his&armour&I’m&sure&he&will& expose&them.&The&only&worry&for&me&would&be&the&ground&conditions,&if&it& came&up&soft&he’d&be&a&huge&player&but&good&ground&would&ask&a&new& question&of&him&against&speedier&rivals.&& & Selection:'FOOTPAD$ ' '

$


Ultima$Handicap$Chase$(Grade'3)$ Winner:'£62,645' Distance:'3m$1f' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Un$Temp$Pour$Tout$

$ BIGBADJOHN$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& Nigel&Morris& Bigbadjohn&finally&got&back&to&winning&ways&on&his&first&start&for&Nigel&TwistonA Davies&since&leaving&Rebecca&Curtis&last&time&at&Kempton.&I’m&not&sure&what& went&wrong&before&then&for&his&previous&stable&but&he&strikes&me&as&the&type& his&new&trainer&will&get&the&best&out&of&and&a&race&of&this&nature&is&well&within& his&compass&but&he&also&holds&an&entry&in&the&Kim&Muir&and&I&think&that’ll&be& better&suited& &

$ BRAQUER$D’OR$$ Paul&Nicholls& Corsellis&&&Seyfried& Braquer&D’Or&has&been&improving&steadily&through&the&ranks&and&I&think&he& could&be&on&a&nice&mark&here.&He&ran&a&blinder&in&the&Ladbrokes&Trophy&at& Newbury&before&running&well&enough&despite&probably&feeling&the&effects&of& that&race&14&days&later&in&a&Grade&2&at&Doncaster.&He’s&been&given&a&break& since&by&Paul&Nicholls&and&should&come&into&this&race&a&fresh&horse.&I&think&he’s& a&very&interesting&runner&here&and&seems&to&be&well&suited&by&bigAfield& handicaps.$ &

$ COO$STAR$SIVOLA$& Nick&Williams& Babbit&Racing! Coo&Star&Sivola&has&shown&some&useful&form&over&fences&this&season&and& seemed&to&relish&the&step&up&to&3m&when&winning&easily&at&Exeter&last&time&off& a&mark&of&135.&The&handicapper&has&let&him&off&lightly&for&that&easy&victory& (only&up&7lb)&and&that&puts&him&right&in&the&mixAup.&He&handles&soft&ground& well&but&is&equally&as&effective&on&better&ground&and&has&shown&his&best&form& here&at&Cheltenham.&He’s&a&smart&horse&that’s&improving&at&the&perfect&time.&&


&

DINGO$DOLLAR$ Alan&King& M&Warren&J&Holmes&R&Kidner&&&J&Wright$ Useful&horse&for&Alan&King&this&season&and&has&progressed&nicely&with&each& outing.&He&won&well&the&last&twice&at&Newbury&and&Doncaster&respected&and& shapes&as&if&a&race&of&this&nature&will&play&to&his&strengths.&Good&ground&is& undoubtedly&important&to&this&horse&but&he’s&one&to&keep&on&the&right&side&of.& &

$ GOLD$PRESENT$$ Nicky&Henderson& Mr&And&Mrs&J&D& Cotton& Gold&Present&has&done& nothing&but&improve&this& season&and&landed&a&very& competitive&handicap&last& time&at&Ascot&on&his&first&start& over&3m.&He&seems&to&handle& all&ground&types&and&he& shapes&as&if&there’s&plenty&more&to&come&still.&He&ran&a&nice&race&here&last& season&in&the&2m4f&Novice&Handicap&Chase&and&clearly&handles&the&occasion& well.&He’s&a&smart&horse&going&the&right&way&and&deserves&his&place&at&the&top& of&the&market.& & &

KEEPER$HILL$& Warren&Greatrex& McNeil&Family$ Keeper&Hill&has&a&few&entries&at&the&festival&but&I&think&he’ll&be&best&suited&to& this&contest.&I&thought&he&looked&excellent&in&a&Grade&2&at&Doncaster&in& December&before&falling&last&time&at&Musselburgh.&He’s&usually&a&pretty&sound& jumper&and&I&think&that&fall&was&just&one&of&those&things.&Keeper&Hill&has&shown& his&best&form&in&small&fields&to&date&and&I’m&not&sure&if&a&bigAfield&handicap&like& this&will&play&to&his&strengths.&


&

O$O$SEVEN$& Nicky&Henderson& Christopher&Hanbury$ O&O&Seven&has&always&shaped&like&he&has&one&of&these&big&handicaps&in&his& locker&but&I’m&not&entirely&convince&3m&around&here&is&his&optimum&conditons.& I&think&the&handicapper&has&him&in&his&grips&currently&but&he&could&be&one&for& the&Topham&Chase&at&Aintree&next&month.& &

$ $ ROCKLANDER& Tom&George$ D&O’Donohoe,&J&Cavanagh,&S&Nelson& Useful&type&that&has&made&an&encouraging&start&to&life&over&fences&for&his& connections&this&season.&He&jumped&very&well&last&time&at&Newbury&when& beating&three&rivals&but&that&form&wouldn’t&excite&you&and&he’ll&need&to& improve&further&to&win&a&race&of&this&nature&off&his&current&mark.&That&said,&the& return&to&better&ground&conditions&should&suit.& & & &

ROCK$THE$KASBAH& Philip&Hobbs& Mrs&Diana&L&Whateley&& Rock&The&Kasbah&has&looked&a&natural&since&switched&to&the&larger&obstacles.& He&won&very&well&at&Chepstow&earlier&in&the&season&before&flopping&in&brutal& ground&conditions&last&time&at&Haydock.&I&think&he&remains&on&a&workable& mark&here&and&the&return&to&better&ground&will&certainly&help&his&chances.& Philip&Hobbs&hasn’t&had&the&greatest&of&seasons&but&I’m&sure&all&will&be& forgotten&if&he&landed&a&festival&winner.&

$ $


$ SINGLEFARMPAYMENT$ Tom&George& N&T&Griffith&&&H&M&Haddock& Singlefarmpayment&is&a&very&talented&horse&when&everything&drops&right&but& he&needs&to&sort&his&jumping&out&to&win&this&contest.&He&ran&a&cracker&in&this& last&year&behind&Un&Temps&Pour&Tout&and&I&think&he’s&handicapped&to&go&very& well&again.&His&jumping&needs&to&be&taken&on&trust&but&the&return&to&better& ground&should&help.&Big&chance.& &

$ $ SNOW$FALCON& Noel&Meade& Mrs&Patricia&Hunt& Snow&Falcon&has&made&a&pleasing&start&to&his&chasing&career&and&I&think&he& comes&here&on&a&very&attractive&mark&based&on&his&hurdling&exploits&last& season.&I&thought&he&ran&a&nice&race&in&a&Grade&1&behind&Monalee&last&time& and&the&return&to&3m&on&better&ground&should&bring&out&further&improvement.& He&needs&serious&respect&here&for&Noel&Meade.& & &

THE$STORYTELLER$ Gordon&Elliott& Mrs&P&Sloan& The&Storyteller&was&fancied&or&the&Martin&Pipe&Handicap&Hurdle&last&season&at& the&festival&before&a&late&setback&ruled&him&out.&He&was&a&smart&hurdler&last& season&and&has&looked&just&as&good&over&the&larger&obstacles&this&season.&He& won&on&his&chase&debut&in&fine&style&with&useful&types&Sutton&Manor&and& Livelovelaugh&in&behind.&He&ran&well&enough&in&a&very&good&Grade&1&last&time& and&I’m&sure&that&race&will&produce&a&few&winners&at&this&year’s&festival.&He& looks&potentially&well&handicapped&off&a&mark&of&147.& & &


&

Key$Trends& • 16/16&–&Ran&over&17&days&ago& • 16/16&–&Aged&between&7&&&10& • 16/16&–&Ran&over&the&distance&or&further&more&than&twice&(9/10&won& over&3m&or&further)& • 15/16&–&Won&less&than&3&chases& • 13/16&–&Ran&in&UK&last&time&out& • 9/10&–&Carried&10stA09lb&or&more& • 8/10&–&Run&once&or&twice&that&calendar&year&

$ $ Verdict$ The&Ultima&Handicap&Chase&is&always&a&very&competitive&race&with&plenty& holding&very&strong&claims.&Gold&Present&has&had&a&very&good&season&to&date& and&comes&here&in&very&good&form.&It&was&hard&not&to&be&impressed&with&his& win&over&Frodon&(won&on&next&start&by&17&lengths)&at&Ascot&last&time&and& further&improvement&looks&likely&here.&He’s&undoubtedly&the&one&they&all&need& to&beat&here&and&he&should&put&up&a&bold&show.&Novices’&have&an&overall&good& record&in&this&race&and&there’s&plenty&in&this&year’s&field&with&strong&form& claims.&The&McNeill&Family&owned&Keeper&Hill&has&a&number&of&entries&at&the& festival&but&I’d&personally&run&him&in&this.&He’s&looked&very&progressive&to&date& and&he’s&potentially&on&a&decent&mark.&My&only&worry&with&him&would&be&the& big&field,&as&there’s&no&doubt&he’s&shown&his&best&form&in&small&field&contests.& Braquer&D’Or&is&interesting&based&on&his&Newbury&form&earlier&in&the&season& and&should&be&well&suited&to&a&race&of&this&nature.&I&think&Coo&Star&Sivola&has& what&it&takes&to&run&a&big&race&here&and&I&think&the&handicapper&could&have& been&harsher&for&his&win&at&Exeter&last&time.&I&like&SINGLEFARMPAYMENT$ here,&I&backed&him&for&this&race&last&season&when&he&finished&a&brave&second& off&a&3lb&lower&mark&but&he&was&still&a&novice&then&and&the&experience&won’t& be&lost&on&him.&His&jumping&could&be&better&this&season&but&I&think&he’s&too& well&handicapped&to&ignore&here&and&I’ll&be&disappointed&if&he&isn’t&bang&there& at&the&finish&again.&Rock&The&Kasbah&is&a&consistent&performer&that&usually& gives&his&running.&He&should&be&well&suited&by&the&return&to&better&ground& here.&Noel&Meade&brings&Snow&Falcon&over&from&Ireland&and&he&brings&some& very&useful&form&to&the&table.&He&looks&potentially&very&well&treated&on&his& hurdling&exploits&and&he&needs&a&second&look.& & Selection:&SINGLEFARMPAYMENT$(10/1)$


$

Unibet$Champion$Hurdle$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£256,275' Distance:'2m87y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Buveur$D’Air$

$

BUVEUR$D'AIR$$ Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus! Buveur&D’Air&has&cemented& himself&as&the&best&hurdler& both&sides&of&the&Irish&Sea&and& seems&to&have&improved&since& his&impressive&victory&in&this& race&last&season.&Without& disrespecting&his&rivals&I&don’t& think&he’s&had&a&real&test&going& into&this&years&Cheltenham& Festival&and&it’s&difficult&to& know&if&that&will&end&up&being& a&good&thing&or&a&bad&thing.&He’s&undoubtedly&the&best&horse&in&the&race& currently&and&it&will&take&a&special&performance&to&beat&him&in&his&bid&to& become&a&twoAtime&Champion&Hurdle&winner.& &

$ ELGIN$$ Alan&King& Elite&Racing&Club& Elgin&has&done&nothing&but&improve&this&season&and&has&earned&his&place&in& the&Champion&Hurdle.&He&was&a&very&smart&winner&of&a&Listed&Handicap&at& Ascot&earlier&in&the&season&before&following&up&over&this&C&D&inthe&Greatwood& Hurdle&a&month&later.&I&thought&this&horse&looked&very&good&in&the&Grade&2& Kingwell&Hurdle&last&time&at&Wicanton&and&that&performance&firmly&put&his& name&in&the&mix&for&this&race.&Elgin&needs&supplementing&for&this&race&but&I’m& sure&with&it&being&a&very&open&Champion&Hurdle&from&a&place&perspective&it& will&be&a&no&brainer&for&connections.&


''

FAUGHEEN$$ &

W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci$ We&all&thought&“the&machine&is&back&in&fullAworking&order”&but&at&present,&that& looks&far&from&the&case.&He&made&a&sparkling&return&to&action&after&a&long&layA off&when&winning&the&Grade&1&Morgiana&Hurdle&at&Punchestown&in&November& but&looked&badly&out&of&sorts&when&pullingAup&a&month&later&at&Leopardstown.& I&actually&thought&he&ran&a&decent&race&in&the&Irish&Champion&Hurdle&last&time& behind&Supasundae&and&if&you&took&the&winner&out&of&that&race&he’d&have&run& out&an&impressive&winner.&Faugheen&isn’t&getting&any&younger&and&he’s&been&a& fantastic&horse&over&the&years&for&his&connections&but&I&have&a&sneaky&feeling& there&could&be&another&big&one&in&him.&

& &

MELON$$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&J&Donnelly& Melon&finished&second&in&last&seasons&Supreme&Novices’&Hurdle&behind&the& quirky&Labaik&on&only&his&second&run&over&timber.&He&ran&nice&race&when&third& in&the&Grade&2&International&Hurdle&at&Cheltenham&in&December.&He&took&a& very&keen&hold&that&day&and&probably&did&well&to&finish&where&he&did&on&the& soft&ground.&I&think&Melon&is&a&much&better&horse&on&better&ground&and&he& looks&a&key&place&contender&here.& & &

$ MICK$JAZZ$$ Gordon&Elliott& G&P&Mahoney& Mick&Jazz&was&a&shock&winner&of&the&Grade&1&Ryanair&Hurdle&at&Leopardstown& in&December.&He&travelled&smoothly&before&staying&on&strongly&to&beat&Cilaos& Emery.&Gordon&Elliott’s&runner&is&a&decent&yardstick&that&could&outrun&his& current&odds&here.&He&isn’t&the&classiest&of&horses&but&he’s&a&decent&performer& that&will&be&doing&his&best&work&at&the&finish.&& &


$ MY$TENT$OR$YOURS$! Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus& My&Tent&Or&Yours&amazingly&recorded&his&first&Cheltenham&success&in&the& International&Hurdle&in&December&as&a&10AyAo.&Now&an&11AyAo,&My&Tent&Or& Yours&has&been&around&the&block&and&has&placed&in&this&race&three&times&in&the& past.&He&comes&into&this&year’s&renewal&fresh&and&well&and&looks&more&than& capable&of&running&into&the&frame&again&for&Nicky&Henderson.& &

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • •

14/15&–&Top&3&finish&last&time&out& 14/15&–&Cheltenham&experience&(9&won&at&Cheltenham&before)& 13/15&–&Aged&8&or&younger&(9&Aged&6&or&7)& 12/15&–&Top&4&finish&at&last&year’s&Cheltenham&Festival& 12/15&–&Rated&159&or&higher& 11/15&–&Won&last&time&out& 7/15&–&Trained&by&Willie&Mullins&or&Nicky&Henderson&

! Verdict$ This&wouldn’t&be&a&vintage&renewal&of&the&Champion&Hurdle&and&it&doesn’t& look&an&appeal&race&from&a&betting&perspective&but&it&does&throw&up&an& interesting&clash&between&Buveur&D’Air&and&Faugheen.&Faugheen&has&been&a& brilliant&horse&over&the&years&and&is&by&far&the&best&hurdler&I’ve&had&the& pleasure&of&seeing.&He&made&a&brilliant&return&from&a&long&layAoff&to&land&a& Grade&1&but&now&finds&himself&fighting&for&his&career&after&two&defeats&since.&I& actually&thought&he&ran&a&creditable&race&last&time&but&there’s&no&doubt&he& needs&to&take&another&step&forward&to&land&a&second&Champion&Hurdle&but&he& has&the&ability&to&blow&these&away&on&his&best&form.&My&Tent&Or&Yours&has& been&a&legend&for&connections&and&deservedly&recorded&a&first&victory&at& Cheltenham&last&time&and&is&more&than&capable&of&running&another&cracker&in& this&year’s&renewal.&I’ll&be&sitting&this&one&out&from&a&betting&view&but&it’s&hard& not&to&think&BUVEUR$D’AIR&will&win&his&second&Champion&Hurdle&for&JP& McManus&and&Nicky&Henderson.&He&was&brilliant&in&victory&last&year&and&seems& to&have&improved&further&this&season.&& & Selection:&BUVEUR$D’AIR&


'

OLBG$Mares’$Hurdle$(Grade'1)' Winner:'£67,524' Distance:'2m3f$200y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Apple’s$Jade$

$ APPLE'S$JADE$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Brilliant&mare&that&landed&this&race&last&season&when&defeating&the&Willie& Mullins&pair&Vroum&Vroum&Mag&and&Limini.&When&you&look&at&her&race&record& it&really&is&impressive&and&it’s&incredible&to&think&she’s&never&been&out&of&the& first&two&in&her&racing&career.&Apple’s&Jade&has&already&landed&twoAGrade&1’s& this&season&and&it’ll&take&something&special&from&one&of&her&rivals&to&threaten& her&here.& & &

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ COLIN'S$SISTER& Fergal&O’Brien& Mrs&Caroline&BeresfordAWylie& Colin’s&Sister&is&a&pretty&useful&mare&on&her&day&that&was&very&impressive&when& landing&a&Grade&2&at&Wetherby&earlier&in&the&season.&She&hasn’t&shown&the& same&form&in&three&outings&since&and&for&me&has&plenty&to&prove&now.&I&think& soft&ground&is&important&to&her&and&she&might&get&taken&off&her&feet&in&this.&


&

LA$BAGUE$AU$ROI& Warren&Greatrex& Mrs&Julien&Turner&&&Andrew&Merriam& I’ve&always&been&a&big&fan&of&this&mare&and&she&has&taking&her&form&to&a&new& level&this&season.&I&thought&she&was&very&good&on&her&first&run&over&3m&when& defeating&the&very&smart&Jer’s&Girl&at&Kempton&before&running&away&with&a& Grade&2&at&Ascot&last&time&in&ground&conditions&far&softer&than&ideal.&La&Bague& Au&Roi&has&an&entry&in&the&Stayers’&Hurdle&but&I&think&she’s&more&than&capable& of&running&well&in&this&contest&if&given&the&option&by&Warren&Greatrex.!

! ! LET’S$DANCE$ '

W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci&

Let’s&Dance&brought&the&house&down&at&last&seasons&Cheltenham&Festival&on& ‘Ruby&Tuesday’&when&completing&a&fourAtimer&for&Willie&Mullins&and&Ruby& Walsh.&I&don’t&think&she’s&been&the&same&mare&since&season&and&looks&pretty& vulnerable&to&me&in&a&race&of&this&nature&and&I&don’t&think&she’s&in&the&same& league&as&Limini&and&Vroum&Vroum&Mag,&who&both&failed&to&beat&Apple’s&Jade& last&season.& & !

VROUM$VROUM$MAG$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci& Vroum&Vroum&Mag&hasn’t&been&seen&since&running&too&badly&to&be&true&in&the& Punchestown&Champion&Hurdle&last&season.&She&won&this&race&in&fine&style&in& 2016&before&running&a&decent&race&in&this&last&year&behind&Apple’s&Jade.&She& won&a&Grade&1&over&3m&last&season&but&I&don’t&think&she&was&at&her&brilliant& best&and&the&fact&we&haven’t&see&her&in&almost&a&year&is&a&big&concern&but& Willie&Mullins&has&won&this&in&the&past&with&horses&with&a&long&layAoff&and&she& shouldn’t&be&dismissed&if&turning&up&here.$ &


$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

10/10&–&Finished&in&first&two&last&time&out& 10/10&–&Irish&trained& 10/10&–&SP&no&bigger&than&20/1& 10/10&–&Ran&no&more&than&5&times&that&season& 10/10&–&Had&previously&ran&in&a&Grade&2& 9/10&–&Won&over&2m4f&previously& 8/10&–&Won&last&time&out& 7/10&–&Favourites&

&

Verdict$ Another&race&that&I&find&hard&to&get&involved&in&as&a&betting&proposition.&Let’s& Dance&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&form&this&season&to&when&she&ran&out&an& impressive&winner&of&the&Mares’&Novice&Hurdle&here&last&season.&She’s&a&very& smart&mare&on&her&day&but&I&think&she&needs&to&up&her&game&to&land&a&real& blow&here.&La&Bague&Au&Roi&is&a&mare&I&love&and&she’s&more&than&capable&of& running&well&in&a&race&of&this&nature.&She’s&had&a&brilliant&season&already&and& looked&very&good&last&time&at&Ascot&and&is&a&very&strong&stayer,&so&I’m&sure& connections&will&be&looking&at&the&Stayers’&Hurdle&also.&I&think&she&has&strong& place&claims&if&turning&up&here&and&better&ground&will&suit.&I&can’t&see&past&last& years&winner&APPLE’S$JADE,&who&has&had&another&successful&season&adding& another&two&Grade&1&races&to&her&CV.&She’s&a&very&special&mare&that&will&take&a& lot&of&beating&in&this&and&she&should&land&her&second&OLBG&Mares’&Hurdle.& Vroum&Vroum&Mag&has&been&a&wonderful&mare&for&connections&and&I’m&sure& she&won’t&turn&up&here&unless&she’s&100%.&She&was&no&match&for&Apple’s&Jade& in&this&contest&last&season&and&it’ll&take&a&very&special&performance&to&beat&her& after&almost&a&year&off&the&track.& & Selection:&APPLE’S$JADE! '

$$

$ $


$ JT$McNamara$National$Hunt$Chase$$ (Grade'2)' Winner:'£74,950' Distance:'3m7f$170y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Tiger$Roll$

$ DOUNIKOS$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Dounikos&has&looked&good&since&switched&chasing&this&season&and&shapes&as&if& a&strong&stamina&test&like&this&will&suit&well.&He&ran&a&pleasing&race&last&time&in& a&Grade&1&at&Leopardstown&and&that&form&looks&very&strong.&He&looks&a&big& player&here&for&last&year’s&winning&connections.&& &

$ DUEL$AT$DAWN& Alex&Hales& The&Duel&At&Dawn&Racing&Partnership& Strong&stayer;&Duel&At&Dawn&has&looked&smart&over&fences&this&season&and& won&in&the&style&of&a&horse&going&places&at&Exeter&in&December&before& bumping&into&two&smart&types&the&last&twice.&He’ll&need&to&improve&to&get& involved&here&but&the&combination&of&fourAmiles&and&better&ground&will&suit.& &

$ ELEGANT$ESCAPE$ Colin&Tizzard& J&P&Romans& I&like&this&horse&and&I’ve&had&him&in&mind&for&this&race&since&I&seen&him&at& Chepstow&earlier&in&the&season.&He’s&a&very&good&jumper&and&that’s& undoubtedly&his&biggest&asset.&Elegant&Escape&looks&made&for&this&race&and&he& should&put&up&a&bold&show.&


&

FAGAN& Gordon&Elliott& R&A&Bartlett& Fagan&is&an&interesting&runner&here&and&brings&some&decent&form&lines&to&the& table.&He&was&a&useful&hurdler&on&his&day&and&finished&an&excellent&second&in& the&Albert&Bartlett&behind&Unowhatimeanharry.&He&won&in&good&style&at&Perth& in&the&summer&before&finishing&second&behind&subsequent&Grade&1&winner& Black&Corton&here&last&time.&We&haven’t&seen&him&since&October&but&he&needs& serious&respect&if&turning&up.&

! ! $ MALL$DINI$ Patrick&G&Kelly& Philip&J&Reynolds& Mall&Dini&holds&entries&in&both&this&and&the&Kim&Muir&and&connections&have& said&this&race&is&his&preferred&target&currently.&He&was&a&good&winner&of&the& Pertemps&Final&at&the&festival&in&2016&before&running&a&nice&race&in&the&Kim& Muir&last&season.&I&think&this&C&D&will&suit&him&well&and&he&has&plenty&of& experience&under&his&belt.&! ' ' '

MONBEG$NOTORIOUS$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud&& Monbeg&Notorious&is&far&from&a&confirmed&in&this&contest&but&he’s&definitely& worth&a&good&mention.&He’s&progressed&at&a&rate&of&knots&over&fences&this& season&and&recently&landed&a&Grade&2&at&Navan.&He&seems&to&relish&Heavy& ground&conditions&but&does&have&a&Maiden&hurdle&win&on&Good&ground&on&his& CV.&He’s&a&useful&stayer&and&would&need&serious&consideration&if&showing&up& here&for&last&year’s&winning&connections.& &

$


$ NO$COMMENT$ Philip&Hobbs& John&P&McManus& Useful&horse&that&has&only&been&out&of&the&first&three&once&in&his&career&and& that&was&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&last&season&when&finishing&seventh&in&the& Martin&Pipe&Handicap&Hurdle&before&going&on&to&finish&second&in&decent& handicaps&at&Aintree&and&Punchestown.&He&ran&a&nice&enough&race&on&his& chase&debut&when&pitched&into&Grade&1&company&at&Sandown.&He&definitely& has&the&scope&to&do&well&over&fences&in&time&but&he&might&just&lack&the& experience&of&a&few&of&these&at&this&moment&in&time.&& & '' 'PRESENTING$PERCY

'

Patrick&G&Kelly& Philip&J&Reynolds& Presenting&Percy&is&currently&at&the&head&of&the&betting&for&both&the&National& Hunt&Chase&and&the&RSA&Chase&but&connections&are&currently&leading&towards& the&later&over&the&shorter&trip.&He’s&a&very&smart&staying&chaser&in&the&making& and&will&take&plenty&of&beating&if&he&turns&up&here.&I&think&he&will&relish&this& distance&and&is&made&for&a&Grade&National&in&time.&& &

$ RATHVINDEN$ W&P&Mullins& R&A&Bartlett& Rathvinden&looks&a&very&interesting&runner&here&for&Willie&Mullins&and&brings& some&useful&form&to&the&table.&He&ran&a&nice&race&behind&Death&Duty&in&a& Grade&1&in&December&and&was&still&travelling&nicely&at&Leopardstown&before& Monalee&brought&him&down.&His&jumping&let&him&down&last&time&but&I&think&he& was&just&tapped&for&toe&at&a&crucial&stage&over&that&shorter&distance.&He’s&a&10A yAo&now&but&he’s&still&relatively&lightly&raced&for&his&age&and&looks&a&key&player& here.&

$


''

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • • •

16/16&–&SP&no&bigger&than&40/1& 16/16&–&Won&a&race&going&left&handed& 16/16&–&3&or&more&starts&over&fences& 15/16&–&4&or&more&races&that&season& 9/12&–&Aged&7&or&8& 8/12&–&Previously&run&at&Cheltenham&(only&3&had&won&at&Cheltenham)& 8/12&–&Ran&within&the&last&50&days& 7/12&–&5&or&more&runs&over&3m&in&career& 5/12&–&Won&last&time&out&

$ '

Verdict$ Gordon&Elliott&has&won&three&of&the&last&seven&renewals&of&this&race&with& Chicago&Grey,&Cause&Of&Causes&and&Tiger&Roll,&so&all&his&entries&need&plenty&of& respect.&He&has&Dounikos&at&the&top&of&the&market&and&looks&his&first&string&and& is&likely&to&go&off&a&well&backed&favourite&if&recent&reports&are&anything&to&go& by.&He’s&looked&good&since&switched&to&fences&this&season&and&I&thought&he& looked&excellent&last&time&when&finishing&fourth&behind&Monalee&in&a&Grade&1.& Dounikos&hasn’t&yet&ran&over&3m&over&fences&never&mind&4m,&so&that’s&a&big& concern&here&but&he’s&a&fascinating&runner&nonetheless.&Gordon&Elliott&also& has&the&unexposed&Fagan&entered,&who&looks&the&type&to&relish&this&C&D.&He& ran&a&nice&race&behind&Black&Corton&when&we&last&see&him&but&his&layAoff&is&a& little&worrying.&I&personally&think&Presenting&Percy&would&be&perfect&for&this& race&but&it&looks&like&connections&have&opted&for&the&RSA&Chase&over&3m& instead,&which&he&would&equally&have&an&excellent&chance&in.&Presenting& Percy’s&connections&also&have&Mall&Dini&entered&for&this&and&he&looks&the&type& to&relish&this&stamina&test.&He’s&a&second&season&novice&that&has&plenty&of& experience&to&his&name&and&needs&serious&consideration&for&such&a&shrewd& outfit.&I’ve&had&ELEGANT$ESCAPE$in&mind&for&this&race&since&the&start&of&the& campaign&and&I&think&he’s&tailormade&for&this&race.&He’s&improved&throughout& the&season&and&I&think&he&brings&genuine&Grade&1&form&to&the&table&here&and&is& form&with&Black&Corton&is&very&appealing.&At&this&stage&in&his&career&he&looks&to& have&an&identical&profile&to&Native&River&(finished&second&in&this&race)&and&I’m& hopeful&he&can&go&one&better&than&he&did&in&2016.&The&horse&I&fear&the&most& here&is&the&Willie&Mullins&trained&Rathvinden&that&also&strikes&me&as&the&type& that&will&do&well&over&this&sort&of&trip&and&will&relish&potentially&better&ground& conditions&and&I’d&fancy&him&to&grab&a&place&here.& & Selection:&ELEGANT$ESCAPE$(8/1)&


'

Close$Brothers$Novices’$Handicap$Chase$ (Listed)'

Winner:'£39,865' Distance:'2m4f$78y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Tully$East$

$ ADRIEN$DU$PONT$$ Paul&Nicholls& Mrs&Johnny&de&la&Hey& Adrien&Du&Pont&was&a&smart&hurdler&and&he&seems&to&have&replicated&his& hurdling&form&over&fences&this&season&and&has&been&highly&tried&since&landing& a&Novice&Chase&at&Fontwell&in&October.&He’s&undoubtedly&a&pretty&smart& chaser&in&the&making&but&I&think&he’s&a&little&high&in&the&handicap&here.& & &

$ ANY$SECOND$NOW$& T&M&Walsh& John&P&McManus$ I&think&this&horse&is&a&very&interesting&name&amongst&the&entries&and&brings& some&very&smart&form&to& the&table&here.&He&bumped& into&Grade&1&performers& Monalee&and&Invitation& Only&in&two&Novice&Chases& at&the&start&of&the&season& before&tackling&the&brilliant& Footpad&in&Grade&1’s&over& an&inadequate&trip&the&last& twice.&He’s&off&145&here,&I& feel&that’s&about&right&on& what&he’s&achieve&to&date& and&a&return&to&2m4f&on&better&ground&should&bring&out&further&improvement.&

$


$ BARNEY$DWAN$$ Fergal&O’Brien& Paul&&&Clare&Rooney& Barney&Dwan&is&undoubtedly&a&useful&horse&but&I&think&he’d&be&better&suited&in& the&Ultima&Handicap&Chase&over&3m.&I&think&he’s&potentially&well&handicapped& on&his&hurdling&form&and&I&thought&he&ran&a&very&good&race&behind&Presenting& Percy&at&the&festival&last&year.&He’s&a&horse&going&the&right&way&and&has&plenty& of&experience&but&he&might&get&tapped&for&toe&against&speedier&types.& & '

BALLYHILL$$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& S&Such&&&CG&Paletta& Ballyhill&ran&two&nice&races&in&Novice&Chases&behind&useful&types&earlier&in&the& campaign,&including&Arkle&Chase&candidate&Sceau&Royal.&He&got&off&the&mark&in& a&C&D&handicap&here&in&January,&making&good&use&of&a&very&good&mark.&He’s& an&interesting&runner&here&considering&connections&could&have&run&Ballyandy& instead.&He&might&lack&the&class&of&a&few&of&these&but&his&track&experience&is&a& positive&at&least.&&

$ $ $

DIVINE$SPEAR$$ Nicky&Henderson& Middleham&Park&Racing&LXII& This&horse&has&a&very&interesting&profile&for&this&contest&and&brings&solid&form& to&the&table&and&is&potentially&lurking&on&a&decent&mark&at&present.&He&won& very&easily&at&Ascot&in&November&by&10&lengths&off&133&and&a&mark&of&141& looks&well&within&his&grasp.&He’s&proven&he&goes&well&at&this&track&and&I&think& he’s&a&key&player.& '

$


$ DE$PLOTTING$SHED$ Gordon&Elliott& Ivey&Ashley&Vasey&Partnership& De&Plotting&Shed&was&a&very&smart&horse&over&timber&and&looks&potentially& thrown&in&off&his&current&chase&rating.&He&ran&a&decent&race&at&Galway&on&his& chase&debut&behind&leading&RSA&Chase&fancy&Presenting&Percy&before&running& two&decent&enough&races&being&two&useful&types&trained&by&Willie&Mullins&at& Fairyhouse&an&Gowran&Park&on&his&last&two&starts&over&a&trip&shorter&than&ideal.& De&Plotting&Shed&has&undergone&WindASurgery&since&we&last&seen&him&and& should&be&a&different&horse&on&spring&ground&back&over&his&ideal&distance.&He& looks&to&have&a&huge&shout&here&and&the&recent&support&in&the&market&has&to& be&noted.&&$

$ '

KALONDRA$$ Neil&Mulholland& Mr&J&Henderson& Kalondra&is&a&very&smart&horse&on&a&going&day&and&he&showed&that&when& landing&a&C&D&Novice&Chase&here&in&December&with&Coo&Star&Sivola&and& Movewiththetimes&behind.&He&gave&them&two&rivals&5lb&that&day&on&ground& probably&far&softer&than&ideal.&He&ran&too&badly&to&be&true&last&time&in&testing& ground&at&Sandown&but&that&could&be&a&blessing&in&disguise&as&it’s&ensured&he& gets&into&this&contest.&He’s&off&top&weight&here&but&he’s&a&smart&horse&that&will& improve&for&the&better&ground&conditions.&& '

$ KEEPER$HILL$$ Warren&Greatrex& McNeill&Family$ Keeper&Hill&has&a&few&entries&at&the&festival&and&he&looks&certain&of&a&run&if& connections&opted&for&this&race&over&2m4f&but&I&think&he’ll&be&best&suited&to& the&Ultima&Handicap&Chase&over&3m.&I&thought&he&looked&excellent&in&a&Grade& 2&at&Doncaster&in&December&before&taking&an&uncharacteristic&fall&last&time&at& Musselburgh.&He’s&usually&a&pretty&sound&jumper&and&I&think&that&fall&was&just& one&of&those&things.&Keeper&Hill&has&shown&his&best&form&in&small&fields&to&date& and&I’m&not&sure&if&a&bigAfield&handicap&like&this&will&play&to&his&strengths.&


$ MOUNT$MEWS$$ Ruth&Jefferson& Trevor&Hemmings& I’ve&always&been&a&fan&of&this&horse&and&I&think&he&has&a&big&prize&in&him&one& day.&He&had&been&a&typical&work&in&progress&by&the&late&Malcolm&Jefferson&and& I’m&sure&his&patience&and&nurturing&will&be&rewarded&soon&with&a&big& performance&from&this&horse.&Mount&Mews&hasn’t&had&his&ground&this&season& and&I&think&he’ll&appreciate&the&return&to&better&ground&and&2m4f&looks&his& ideal&trip&at&this&present&time.&I&think&he&could&run&a&nice&race&if&turning&up& here&for&Ruth&Jefferson.& ' $

MOVEWITHTHETIMES$$ Paul&Nicholls& John&P&McManus& Movewiththetimes&is&a&smart&horse&that&will&be&a&very&nice&horse&one&day& when&everything&drops&into&place.&He&comes&into&this&contest&with&some& decent&form&to&his&name&and&has&valuable&experience&over&this&C&D.&I&thought& he&ran&a&very&nice&race&behind&an&on&song&Finian’s&Oscar&in&November&when& travelling&nicely&before&getting&outstayed&late&on.&He’s&lurking&on&a&workable& mark&here&and&looks&a&big&threat.&

$

$ RATHER$BE$$ Nicky&Henderson& Matt&&&Lauren&Morgan& Rather&Be&was&a&good&winner&of&a&competitive&handicap&hurdle&at&Aintree&last& season&and&has&made&an&encouraging&start&to&his&chasing&career&this&season.& He&comes&into&this&race&on&a&mark&of&143&after&easy&victories&at&Towcester&and& Fakenham&and&I&totally&understand&you&can&only&beat&the&opposition&that’s&put& in&front&of&you&but&with&others&bringing&stronger&form&to&the&table&here&on& similar&marks,&I’m&happy&to&look&elsewhere.& '


$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • •

11/11&–&Not&previously&won&a&Class&1&race& 9/11&–&Run&within&the&last&45&days& 8/11&–&Top&2&finish&last&time&out& 7/11&–&Won&no&more&than&once&over&fences& 6/11&–&Previously&won&over&2m4f& 5/11&–&Aged&7& 4/11&–&Had&previous&Cheltenham&Festival&experience&

&

Verdict$ I&think&this&is&a&cracking&race&and&could&easily&be&a&Graded&chase&in&it’s&own& right.&It&looks&a&pretty&open&contest&on&paper&and&I’m&sure&plenty&will&have&a& different&outlook&on&it&at&this&stage.&Mount&Mews&is&a&horse&I&love&and&I&think& he&has&plenty&of&ability.&He’ll&have&his&day&in&the&sunshine&very&soon&but&could& be&better&suited&to&the&Aintree&Grand&National&Festival&for&Ruth&Jefferson.& Kalondra&has&done&nothing&wrong&over&the&larger&obstacles&for&Neil& Mullholland&and&won&in&fine&style&giving&weight&away&here&on&his&penultimate& start.&He&has&his&work&cut&out&off&top&weight&here&and&might&just&bump&into&a& few&betterAhandicapped&rivals.&Nicky&Henderson&has&two&similar&types&entered& in&this&and&both&look&to&have&solid&claims.&Rather&Be&won&nicely&at&Aintree&last& year&and&has&continued&that&form&over&fences&this&season.&He’s&only&won&two& ordinary&races&this&season&and&this&could&be&a&step&too&far&at&this&moment&in& time.&I’d&prefer&his&other&runner&Divine&Bear&at&the&prices&currently&with&his& form&having&a&little&more&substance.&It’s&pretty&difficult&to&ignore&DE$ PLOTTING$SHED,&who&has&undergone&WindASurgery&since&we&last&seen& him.&He&has&solid&form&behind&Presenting&Percy&and&there’s&no&doubt&the& return&to&better&ground&over&this&trip&is&going&to&play&to&his&strengths.&He&looks& well&handicapped&based&on&his&hurdling&exploits&last&season&and&I&think&a&big& run&is&on&the&cards.&Any&Second&Now&is&another&of&the&Irish&runners&that&are& potentially&lurking&on&an&attractive&mark&at&present&and&need&serious& consideration.&Movewiththetimes&still&looks&a&work&in&progress&to&me&and&I’m& not&too&sure&he’s&the&most&resolute&in&a&finish&but&a&stronger&pace&on&better& ground&will&suit&him&and&could&unlock&some&more&improvement.&& & Selection:&DE$PLOTTING$SHED$(7/1)$

$ &


&

Ballymore$Novices’$Hurdle$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£71,188' Distance:'2m5f$26y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Willoughby$Court$

$ BLACK$OP$$ Tom&George& R&S&Brookhouse& Smart&bumper&horse;&Black& Op&built&on&his&hurdling&debut& at&Newbury&to&effortlessly&get& off&the&mark&over&timber&at& Doncaster&in&January.&I& thought&he&ran&a&cracker&in& defeat&at&Cheltenham&in&a& Grade&2&in&ground&conditions& that&would&have&been&far& softer&than&ideal.&He& looked/travelled&like&the& winner&that&day&before&a&last& hurdle&mistake&cost&him&victory.&That&was&still&a&decent&performance&and&he& should&improve&for&some&spring&ground.&!

! $

$ DUC$DES$GENIEVRES$! W&P&Mullins& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited! Duc&Des&Genievres&looks&a&very&smart&horse&in&the&making&but&is&actually&a& pretty&difficult&horse&to&write&about&and&one&that&unless&you’re&in&the&know,&I& wouldn’t&advise&anyone&to&back&for&any&race&until&we&know&where&he’s&going.& He&has&six&festival&entries&to&his&name&(which&is&shocking&but&that’s&a& discussion&for&another&time!)&and&he&looks&a&horse&to&keep&a&good&eye&on.&He& was&no&match&for&Samcro&and&Next&Destination&on&both&his&runs&this&season& for&Willie&Mullins&but&is&a&very&interesting&runner&wherever&that&maybe.&


$ NEXT$DESTINATION$$ W&P&Mullins& Malcolm&C&Denmark& I&like&this&horse&but&I’d&like&him&even&more&if&he&was&in&the&Albert&Bartlett&over& 3m.&He’s&looked&very&good&in&three&outings&over&hurdles&this&season&including& a&Grade&1&win&at&Naas&despite&probably&not&being&at&his&best.&Willie&Mullins& has&said&he’s&favouring&this&race&over&the&Albert&Bartlett&but&I’m&sure&ground& conditions&will&dictate&where&he&ends&up.&!

! $

ON$THE$BLIND$SIDE$$ Nicky&Henderson& A&D&Spence& On&The&Blind&Side&has&looked&brilliant&in&three&career&starts&over&timber&to& date,&which&included&a&good&win&in&a&C&D&Grade&2&(form&worked&out&very&well& with&a&Grade&1&winner&in&third).&He&looked&very&good&at&Sandown&when&we& last&seen&him&and&I&think&there’s&plenty&more&improvement&to&come.&He’ll& need&to&overcome&a&96Aday&absence&to&land&this&race&and&I’m&not&sure&he&has& the&same&gears&Samcro&has.&& ''

'

SAMCRO$$ $ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& There’s&not&much&you&can&say&about&this&horse&and&he’s&undoubtedly&the&most& exciting&National&Hunt&horse&in&training&at&present.&He’s&undefeated&and& recorded&a&third&win&over&hurdles&last&time&when&emphatically&landing&the& Grade&1&Deloitte&Novice&Hurdle&at&Leopardstown.&That&looked&a&very&smart& contest&on&paper&and&he&made&some&very&smart&horses&look&pretty&ordinary.& He&jumps,&stays&and&travels&very&well,&which&is&what&you&need&to&win&this& contest.& &

$


TOWER$BRIDGE$ Joseph&Patrick&O’Brien& John&P&McManus$ Useful&bumper&horse;&Tower&Bridge&built&on&his&two&efforts&in&Maiden&hurdles& to&cause&a&shock&in&a&Grade&1&last&time&at&Leopardstown.&I&don’t&think&the&form& of&that&race&is&anything&special&but&he’s&clearly&improving&and&a&return&to& spring&ground&will&be&a&positive.&& & &

VINNDICATION$$ Kim&Bailey& Moremoneythan& I&like&this&horse&and&he&continues&to&improve&with&each&outing.&He&took&his&win& record&over&hurdles&to&3&from&3&last&time&when&landing&a&Listed&contest&at& Huntingdon&beating&useful&yardstick&Western&Ryder&in&the&process.&Being&a& son&of&Vinnie&Roe,&there’s&a&goof&chance&Good&ground&will&bring&out&further& improvement.&$ &

$ VISON$DES$FLOS$$ Colin&Tizzard& Ann&&&Alan&Potts&Limited& Vision&Des&Flos&beat&leading&Champion&Bumper&fancy&Hollowgraphic&at& Punchestown&last&season&and&looked&a&horse&with&a&bright&future&ahead.&He& had&started&to&become&a&little&frustrating&since&joining&Colin&Tizzard&but&the& penny&finally&dropped&at&Exeter&last&time.&He&will&need&to&improve&plenty&to& land&a&real&blow&here.& & &

$ $ $


$

Key$Trends$ • • • • • •

26/27&–&Had&3&or&more&runs&over&hurdles& 28/30&–&Top&6&in&the&betting& 16/16&–&Top&3&finish&last&time&out& 16/16&–&Aged&5&or&6& Only&ONE&winner&in&the&last&40&year’s&aged&over&six& Irish&trained&horses&have&won&6&of&the&last&10&renewals& &

$ Verdict$ Some&very&highAclass&horses&have&won&Ballymore&Novices’&Hurdle&over&the& years&and&it’s&a&race&usually&won&by&the&best&horse.&As&I&said&previously,&you& need&a&mix&of&speed;&stamina&and&plenty&of&class.&Next&Destination’s& Cheltenham&destination&will&be&decided&as&late&as&possible&in&typical&Willie& Mullins&fashion.&He’s&a&very&smart&horse&but&I&can’t&help&but&think&he&might& come&up&short&in&this&contest&against&a&few&superior&rivals&and&would&be&better& suited&to&the&Albert&Bartlett&over&the&longer&trip.&Black&Op&ran&a&nice&race&last& time&and&will&be&suited&to&better&ground&but&7AyAo’s&have&a&poor&record&in&this& over&the&years&and&that’s&enough&to&put&me&off&him.&SAMCRO$has&looked& awesome&this&year&and&nothing&has&been&able&to&get&near&him.&I&think&he’s&in&a& different&league&to&anything&and&I’m&sure&we’ll&all&be&hailing&the&new&kid&on& the&block&after&this&race.&It’s&a&horse&race&and&as&we&all&know&anything&can& happen&but&unless&something&tragically&goes&wrong,&I&think&he’ll&be&leaving& Cheltenham&with&his&unbeaten&record&intact.&On&The&Blind&Side&hasn’t&been& seen&since&landing&a&Grade&2&at&Sandown&last&time,&which&has&to&be&a&slight& concern.&That&aside,&he’s&looked&very&good&in&three&outings&over&hurdles&this& season&and&looks&the&main&danger&to&Samcro&but&I’m&not&sure&he&posses&the& natural&speed&to&threaten&him.&I&actually&quietly&fancy&Vinndication&here&to&run& a&big&race&for&Kim&Bailey.&He&strikes&me&as&the&type&that&could&take&his&form&to& a&new&level&on&better&ground&and&race&of&this&nature&should&play&to&his& strengths.&I’m&not&sure&he&has&the&class&to&land&a&real&blow&but&he&looks&a&dark& horse&in&the&lineAup&and&could&be&a&serious&eachAway&player&at&a&nice&price.& & Selection:&SAMCRO$

$ '


$ RSA$Novices’$Chase$(Grade'1)' '

Winner:'£99,663' Distance:'3m$80y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Might$Bite$ '

AL$BOUM$PHOTO$$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&J&Donnelly& Al&Boum&Photo&has&solid&form&to&his&name&and&is&closely&matched&with&leading& fancy&Monalee.&He&should&be&well&suited&to&the&return&to&3m&but&he&can&make& the&odd&howler&in&his&races.&If&he&can&eliminate&the&jumping&errors&he&should& have&strong&place&claims&for&Willie&Mullins.&

$ $ BALLYOPTIC$$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& Mills&&&Mason&Partnership& Ballyoptic&hasn’t&looked&a&natural&over&fences&but&when&he’s&good,&he’s&very& good&and&he’s&shown&that&this&season.&He&blew&away&two&very&smart&horses& on&his&chase&debut&at&Exeter&in&the&shape&of&Elegant&Escape&and&Barney&Dwan,& who&both&had&previous&experience&over&fences.&He&disappointed&on&his&next& two&outings&behind&Black&Corton&before&bouncing&back&to&winning&ways&last& time&at&Wetherby.&He’s&a&classy&horse&on&his&day&and&is&a&Grade&1&winner&over& hurdles;&he’d&be&a&big&player&for&me&if&the&ground&is&on&the&soft&side!

$ $ BLACK$CORTON$$ Paul&Nicholls& The&Brooks,&Stewart&Families&&&J&Kyle& Black&Corton&has&been&outstanding&this&season&for&Paul&Nicholls&and&all&he&has& done&is&improve.&He&deservedly&landed&the&Grade&1&Kauto&Star&Novices’&Chase& on&Boxing&Day&under&regular&rider&Bryony&Frost&and&I&don’t&think&he’s&been& given&the&recognition&he&deserves.&He’s&a&C&D&winner&that&looks&to&have&a& serious&chance&of&landing&another&Grade&1.!


$ INVITATION$ONLY$$ W&P&Mullins& Andrea&&&Graham&Wylie&& Invitation&Only&is&looking&more&likely&to&run&in&the&JLT&Novices’&Chase&at&this& stage&but&I&think&he’s&worth&a&mention&here&in&case&things&change.&He’s&very& closely&matched&with&Monalee&and&Al&Boum&Photo&based&on&their& Leopardstown&running&last&time.&Despite&falling&on&his&chase&debut,&he&seems& a&solid&jumper&that&stays&very&well.&& ' '

MONALEE$$ Henry&de&Bromhead& Mr&Barry&Maloney& Monalee&ran&a&cracker&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&last&season&when&second&in& the&Albert&Bartlett&behind&Penhill.&He&has&looked&very&good&over&fences&this& season&and&on&the&overall&jumps&and&travels&very&well&indeed.&He&bounced& back&from&a&fall&last&time&to&make&all&in&a&hotly&contested&Novice&Chase&at& Leopardstown.&I&think&a&return&to&better&ground&will&bring&out&further& improvement&in&this&horse&and&he&sets&a&very&good&standard.!

! ! '

PRESENTING$PERCY$$ Patrick&G&Kelly& Philip&J&Reynolds& It’s&very&hard&to&knock&this&horse&and&he’s&a&credit&to&his&connections.&He’s& been&brilliant&over&fences&this&season&and&I&thought&he&ran&his&best&race&last& time&behind&Our&Duke.&I&think&his&price&is&short&enough&though&based&on&what& he’s&achieved&to&date&and&he’s&up&against&three&Grade&1&winning&chasers&here.& I’d&want&a&bigger&price&for&a&horse&that&hasn’t&tasted&Graded&success&over&the& larger&obstacles.&

$


$ SHATTERED$LOVE$$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Smart&mare;&Shattered&Love&is&another&in&the&field&that&brings&Grade&1&winning& form&over&fences&to&the&table&and&has&been&overlooked&in&the&betting.&She’s&a& big&mare&that&would&prefer&softer&ground&conditions&but&in&receipt&of&7lbs& from&her&rivals&she’s&definitely&worth&another&look.& &

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • •

12/12&–&Won&2&or&more&races&over&hurdles& 11/12&–&Ran&3&or&more&times&during&current&season& 11/12&–&Last&run&within&53&days& 10/12&–&rated&144&or&above& 9/12&–&Aged&7&(Might&Bite&won&last&year&as&an&8AyAo)& 9/12&–&Won&last&time&out& 8/12&–&Previously&won&a&Grade&1/2/3&race&(Might&Bite&fell&in&a&Grade&1& when&in&command)& &

Verdict$ Far&from&a&vintage&renewal&of&this&race&but&it&still&has&the&potential&to&be&a&very& good&spectacle.&Invitation&Only&looks&more&likely&for&the&JLT&and&should&have&a& huge&chance&in&that&contest.&Al&Boum&Photo&is&improving&steadily&and&should& appreciate&the&return&to&3m&in&this&and&his&backers&will&be&hoping&he&can& reverse&Leopardstown&form&with&Monalee.&Ballyoptic&appeals&from&an&eachA way&perspective&especially&if&there’s&any&rain&around&in&the&lead&up&to&the& meeting.&I&totally&understand&those&that&are&backing&Presenting&Percy&for&this& but&at&his&current&price&and&what&he’s&achieved&to&date,&I’ll&happily&take&him&on& here.&I&can’t&get&away&from&MONALEE&here.&I&thought&he&was&very&good&last& time&under&a&brilliant&ride&from&Noel&Fehily&and&I’m&sure&there’s&plenty&more& to&come&back&over&3m&on&better&ground.&He&looks&a&natural&over&the&larger& obstacles&and&I’ll&be&disappointed&if&he&isn’t&competitive&here&for&Henry&De& Bromhead.&Paul&Nicholls&keeps&getting&more&out&of&Black&Corton,&who&has& been&one&of&the&stars&of&the&National&Hunt&season.&There&still&could&be&more&to& come&from&him&and&he’s&the&most&experienced&in&the&lineAup.&He&doesn’t&get& overlooked&lightly&here.& & Selection:&MONALEE'(4/1)&


'

Coral$Cup$Handicap$Hurdle$(Grade'3)$ Winner:'£56,950' Distance:'2m5f$26y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Supasundae$

$ &

BURBANK$$ Nicky&Henderons& R&A&Bartlett& Burbank&built&on&a&few&lacklustre&efforts&earlier&in&the&season&to&run&a&stomer& behind&Jenkins&in&a&competitive&Grade&3&Handicap&Hurdle&at&Ascot&last&time.& He&stayed&on&encouragingly&that&day&and&left&the&impression&there’s&plenty& more&to&come&from&him.&This&horse&ran&a&nice&enough&race&behind&Willoughby& Court&in&the&Neptune&last&season&and&he’s&another&that&will&appreciate&the& spring&ground.& &

$ ' BLEU$ET$ROUGE$ Gordon&Elliott& John&P&McManus& Bleu&Et&Rouge&has&entries&in&both&the& Coral&Cup&and&County&Hurdle.&At&this& stage&I&think&connections&will&opt&for&this& contest&over&the&longer&trip.&I&think&the& handicapper&has&seriously&overreacted& giving&him&an&8lb&hike&in&the&weights&for&finishing&4&lengths&behind&Kalashnikov& in&the&Betfair&Hurdle&in&antirational&conditions&at&Newbury.&His&new&mark& makes&life&tough&and&I&couldn’t&be&backer&here.$

' $ $


$ DREAM$BERRY$$ Jonjo&O’Neill& John&P&McManus& Dream&Berry&is&an&interesting&name&amongst&the&entries&for&this&contest&and& he&hasn’t&been&seen&since&finishing&a&decent&second&behind&Open&Eagle&in&a& valuable&handicap&at&the&Punchestown&Festival&last&April.&He’s&clearly&a&smart& horse&and&looks&to&be&potentially&still&on&a&workable&mark&at&present.&It’s& unknown&if&he&will&run&here&but&if&he&does;&first&time&out&might&be&the&best& time&to&catch&him.& &

$ DUC$DES$GENIEVRES$$ W&P&Mullins& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited& Duc&Des&Genievres&seems&to&be&entered&in&every&race&at&the&Cheltenham& Festival&apart&from&the&Gold&Cup&and&it&will&take&some&guessing&to&work&out& where&he’ll&actually&end&up.&I&think&the&original&plan&would&have&been&the& Martin&Pipe&but&I&think&the&British&handicapper&has&ended&that&by&giving&him&a& mark&of&148&for&being&in&Samcro’s&wing&mirror&last&time&at&Leopardstown.&I& think&this&horse&has&a&bright&future&ahead&of&him&and&needs&serious&respect& wherever&he&turns&up&at&the&festival.$

$ $ JENKINS$$ Nicky&Henderson& Pump&&&Plant&Services&Ltd& Jenkins&looked&to&be&going&the&right&way&with&two&good&wins&in&the&space&of&7& days&before&putting&in&an&effort&too&bad&to&be&true&last&time&in&the&Betfair& Hurdle.&I&can&easily&out&a&line&through&that&form&that&run,&it&would&have&been& his&third&race&in&four&weeks&and&the&ground&that&day&was&horrific.&His&mark&is& high&enough&but&you’d&be&a&fool&to&rule&out&more&improvement&from&him.$

$ &


$ JER’S$GIRL$$ Gavin&Cromwell& John&P&McManus& Jer’s&Girl&has&some&useful&form&to&her&name&behind&some&very&smart&mares& including&Apple’s&Jade&and&La&Bague&Au&Roi.&She’s&a&mare&that’s&always&been& competing&in&Graded&races&and&would&be&an&interesting&runner&if&turning&up&in& this&handicap.&She&was&still&travelling&well&enough&when&falling&in&the&OLBG& Mares’&Hurdle&at&the&festival&last&season.&$

$ $ LE$BREUIL$$ Ben&Pauling& Miss&Emma&Collins& I’m&a&huge&fan&of&this&horse&and&he&has&a&big&handicap&in&him&at&some&point.&I& thought&he&ran&a&very&nice&race&on&his&seasonal&reappearance&at&Kempton& earlier&in&the&campaign&when&clearly&needing&the&outing,&before&bumping&into& a&nice&type&(won&again&on&next&outing)&conceding&19lbs&in&Heavy&ground.&Le& Breuil&easily&beat&Benatar&by&9&lengths&last&season&and&a&repeat&of&that& performance&would&make&him&hard&to&beat&here&for&Ben&Pauling.&& &

$ $ LIMITED$RESERVE$$ Christian&Williams& All&Stars&Sports&Racing&3& Limited&Reserve&has&improved&steadily&through&the&ranks&and&landed&two& Haydock&handicaps&in&antirational&conditions&this&season.&He’s&be&freshened& up&by&Christian&Williams&and&is&well&worth&a&crack&at&this&contest&at&the&festival& and&has&already&shown&he’s&versatile&regards&ground&conditions.&I&don’t&think& he&has&much&in&hand&of&the&handicapper&at&present.$ '

$ $


$ OK$CORRAL$$ Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus& OK&Corral&is&a&pretty&difficult&horse&to&assess&and&he&could&end&up&in&this&race& or&the&Ballymore&Novices’&but&I&think&the&wise&move&would&be&to&run&him&here& off&a&mark&of&144.&He’s&looked&very&good&since&returning&from&a&746&days&layA off&and&has&continued&to&impress&with&each&outing.&He&looked&very&good&at& Kempton&last&time&and&looked&a&very&slick&hurdling,&which&will&help&him&in&a&big& field&handicap&like&this.&He’s&open&to&a&huge&amount&of&improvement&and&still& could&be&anything.$

$ '

SPIRITOFTHEGAMES$$ Dan&Skelton& N&W&Lake& Spiritofthegames&has&been&running&very&well&in&competitive&handicaps&this& season,&including&when&second&in&the&Lanzarote&Hurdle&Hurdle&behind&William& Henry&on&his&penultimate&start&before&running&a&nice&race&in&very&soft&ground& conditions&in&the&Betfair&Hurdle&last&time.&Connections&have&the&option&of& running&in&this&or&the&Martin&Pipe&but&I&think&this&race&would&suit&better&at&this& stage&but&things&could&change&in&the&lead&up&to&the&festival.&I&think&flat&tracks& will&suit&best&and&he’d&be&one&to&look&out&for&at&Aintree&next&month.&

$ $ TOPOFTHEGAME$$ Paul&Nicholls& Chris&Giles&&&Mr&&&Mrs&P&K&Barber& I&like&this&horse&and&even&though&he&fell&on&his&chase&debut,&I&think&he’s&going& to&be&very&good&in&that&sphere&one&day.&He’s&also&a&very&good&hurdler&and&he& showed&that&last&time&at&Sandown&when&beating&a&fast&improving&horse&fairly& comfortable.&He’s&doesn’t&do&a&tap&in&front&but&they’re&my&favourite&types&and& you&never&know&how&good&they’re&and&neither&does&the&handicapper.& Topofthegame&is&an&improving&sort&but&quick&ground&would&be&a&slight& concern&as&he’s&a&big&horse&that&hits&the&ground&hard.&


$ WILLIAM$HENRY$$ Nicky&Henderson& Walters&Plant&Hire&Ltd& It’s&safe&to&say&this&horse&didn’t&exactly&relish&chasing&and&his&career&in&that& discipline&has&been&put&on&hold&for&the&time&being.&He&didn’t&waste&no&time& getting&back&to&winning&ways&over&timber&and&landed&the&Lanzarote&Hurdle&in& decent&style&under&James&Bowen.&His&new&mark&(151)&asks&a&few&more& questions&of&him&but&he’s&still&totally&unexposed&and&there&could&be&plenty& more&to&come&from&him.& &

$ '

$

$

$ $ $ $ $ $ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • • •

9/10&–&Had&won&over&hurdles&that&season& 9/10&–&Priced&under&16/1& 9/10&–&Carried&under&11st&4lbs& 9/10&–&Aged&between&5&&&8& 8/10&–&Top&2&finish&last&time&out& 8/10&–&Had&NO&Cheltenham&Festival&experience& 7/10&–&Rated&140&or&above& 0/10&–&Favourites& 0/10&–&Novice&Hurdlers'


'

Verdict$ I&have&a&tough&act&to&follow&after&tipping&the&first&and&second&in&this&race&last& season&but&I’ll&give&it&another&good&go.&The&Coral&Cup&is&always&a&hotly& contested&race&and&is&often&won&by&an&improving&horse.&Two&of&the&last&four& winners&of&this&race&went&on&to&land&Grade&1&races&the&following&season,&so& that&gives&you&the&type&of&horse&you&need&to&win&this&contest.&Jenkins&has& looked&a&totally&different&animal&since&fitted&with&blinkers&and&deservedly&got& his&head&in&front&twice&this&season.&I&was&at&Newbury&when&he&ran&last&time& and&all&I&can&say&is&I&won’t&be&taking&any&form&from&that&day&at&face&value&with& the&ground&conditions&some&of&the&worst&I’ve&seen&in&a&long&time.&Duc&Des& Genievres&hasn’t&exactly&been&let&in&lightly&by&the&handicapper&and&the&fact& Novice&Hurdlers&have&such&a&poor&record&in&this&contest&is&enough&to&put&me& off&him&in&this&one.&William&Henry&is&clearly&a&very&smart&hurdle&and&he& represents&the&same&connections&as&Whisper,&who&landed&this&race&in&2014.& This&horse&has&a&pretty&similar&profile&and&he&deserves&his&place&at&the&top&of& the&betting.&The&fact&Bleu&Et&Rouge&has&been&put&up&8lb&for&his&second&at& Newbury&behind&a&novice&last&time&looks&a&bit&extreme&and&he&wouldn’t&be&for& me&here.&I’m&a&huge&fan&of&LE$BREUIL&and&I&think&he’s&more&than&capable&of& landing&a&big&one&like&this.&I&think&he’s&chucked&in&off&his&current&mark&and& should&relish&better&ground&conditions&over&this&trip.&He&humiliated&a&very& good&horse&in&Benatar&last&year&over&hurdles&and&a&repeat&of&that&effort&would& see&him&win&this&and&win&it&very&well.&Topofthegame&is&another&horse&I’m&a&fan& of&and&I&think&he’ll&make&a&proper&horse&one&day&over&fences.&His&new&mark& doesn’t&give&him&much&room&for&error&here&but&he&should&go&well&again.&JP& McManus&has&a&few&entered,&including&the&previously&mentioned&Bleu&Et& Rouge,&he&also&has&Jer’s&Girl,&OK&Corral&and&Dream&Berry&entered.&I&think&OK& Corral&would&be&a&very&interesting&runner&and&even&though&he’d&come&under& the&‘Novice’&bracket,&he’s&got&plenty&of&experience&to&his&name.& & Selection:'LE$BREUIL'(16/1)' ' ' '

$ & '


''

Queen$Mother$Champion$Chase$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£227,800' Distance:'1m7f$199y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Special$Tiara$

$ ALTIOR$' Nicky&Henderson& Mrs&Patricia&Pugh& Altior&has&been&electric&since& sent&chasing&by&Nicky& Henderson&and&was&in&a& different&league&to&anything& last&season.&He&wasn’t&quite& at&his&brilliant&best&at&this& meeting&12Amonths&ago&in& the&Arkle&but&still&managed& to&win&easily&by&six&lengths& before&thrashing&last&year’s&Champion&Chase&winner&Special&Tiara&at&Sandown.& He&returned&from&a&layAoff&at&Newbury&(Wind&Surgery)&last&time&to&effortlessly& beat&this&seasons&Tingle&Creek&winner&Politologue&and&looked&better&than& ever.&It’ll&take&a&monster&performance&from&his&rivals&to&get&near&him.& '

$ DOUVAN$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci! Douvan&is&a&very&good&horse&on&his&day&and&his&best&form&he’s&very&closely& matched&with&Altior.&We&haven’t&seen&him&since&picking&up&a&pelvic&injury&in& this&race&last&season&but&connections&are&pretty&hopeful&he&could&get&to&this& race&in&oneApiece.&Douvan&looked&untouchable&for&so&long&and&there’s&no& doubt&he&has&the&class&to&win&a&Champion&Chase&but&after&a&year&out&against& Altior,&it’s&a&very&big&ask.& '' '


$ MIN$$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci& Min&is&a&very&smart&horse&and&we&don’t&really&know&how&good&he&really&is.&He& was&not&match&for&the&brilliant&Altior&in&the&2016&Supreme&Novices’&Hurdle&and& this&will&be&a&very&interesting&rematch&between&the&pair.&Min&has&looked&a& natural&over&the&larger&obstacles&and&only&lost&his&unbeaten&record&in&the& Steward’s&room,&despite&clearly&not&being&at&his&best&on&that&occassion.&He’s& still&totally&unexposed&and&I&think&he&has&more&to&come&back&on&better&ground.&& ''

$$ POLITOLOGUE$$ Paul&Nicholls& Mr&J&Hales& Politologue&has&taken&his&form&to&a&new&level&since&dropped&back&to&2m&and& deservedly&took&advantage&of&a&good&oppurtuinty&to&land&the&Grade&1&Tingle& Creek&at&Sandown.&He&was&no&match&for&Altior&last&time&at&Newbury&but&that& was&a&tactical&contest&and&I’m&sure&he’ll&be&better&once&getting&a&lead.&Paul& Nicholls&has&got&the&best&out&of&this&horse&and&I&think&he’ll&run&a&nice&race&here& and&the&strong&pace&will&suit&him&well.& & &

SPECIAL$TIARA$& Henry&De&Bromhead& Mrs&S&RowleyAWilliams& Special&Tiara&has&been&a&legend&for&his&connections&and&he&was&rewarded&for& being&one&of&the&most&consisted&horses&in&training&last&season&when&winning& this&race&under&a&brilliant&ride&from&Noel&Fehily.&There’ll&be&no&hiding&place& with&him&in&the&race&and&he&undoubtedly&saves&his&form&for&a&better&surface&in& the&spring.&He’s&likely&to&get&overlooked&here&again&but&he&could&run&another& big&race&here.& '


$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

9/10&–&Won&a&Grade&1&Chase! 9/10&–&Won&last&time&out! 9/10&–&Only&2&or&3&starts&that&season! 8/10&–&Previous&Cheltenham&Festival&experience& 7/10&–&Top&3&in&the&betting& 7/10&–&Trained&in&UK& 6/10&–&Trained&by&Paul&Nicholls&or&Nicky&Henderson& 2/10&–&Favourites& & !

Verdict$ This&race&currently&revolves&around&whether&Douvan&will&run&or&not.&He&hasn’t& been&seen&since&suffering&an&injury&to&his&pelvis&in&this&race&last&season&but&is& reportedly&working&well&and&as&I&type,&is&still&an&intended&runner.&He’s&a&very& good&horse&at&his&best&and&if&he&can&run&close&to&his&best&after&a&long&layAoff& he’ll&be&bang&there&at&the&finish.&Willie&Mullins&and&Rich&Ricci&also&have&the& totally&unexposed&Min&in&the&lineAup.&He’s&been&very&good&since&tackling&the& larger&obstacles&and&only&has&five&chase&runs&to&his&name.&There&could&be& plenty&more&to&come&from&him&in&this&sphere&and&a&return&to&better&ground& could&prove&key&here.&I&find&it&very&difficult&to&get&away&from&the&awesome& ALTIOR&in&this&race&and&he&just&screams&class.&He&hasn’t&put&a&foot&wrong& over&fences&to&date&and&looked&superb&on&his&return&to&the&racecourse&last& month&at&Newbury&when&effortlessly&brushing&aside&Politologue&in&brutal& ground&conditions.&He&keeps&winning&on&the&bridle&and&we&still&don’t&really& know&what&he’s&capable&of.&He&looks&the&perfect&twoAmile&chaser&to&me&and& it’ll&take&a&very&special&performance&to&beat&him&here&and&I&fancy&him&to& confirm&the&2016&Supreme&Novices’&Hurdle&form&with&Min.&Politologue&is&a& very&smart&horse&but&he&was&no&match&for&Altior&last&time&and&it’s&hard&to&see& him&reversing&that&form&here&but&on&the&other&hand,&he&should&be&suited&to&a& stronger&pace&here&and&could&put&up&a&career&best.& & Selection:&ALTIOR$

$ $ &

'


$ Glenfarclas$Cross$Country$Chase$ Winner:$£40,235' Distance:'3m6f$37y' Last'Year’s'Winner:'Cause$Of$Causes$ $

AUVERGNAT$$ E&Bolger& John&P&McManus& Typical&type&from&stable;&Auvergnat&was&a&decent&winner&at&Punchestown& when&narrowly&beating&stable&mate&Josies&Orders&by&a&short&head.&His&record& over&this&C&D&reads&U4F&and&he&needs&to&improve&further&to&land&a&real&blow& here&and&looks&the&stables&second&string&on&paper.&He&clearly&has&the&potential& to&be&a&very&good&horse&in&this&sphere&but&he&needs&everything&to&drop&into& place.! $

$ BLESS$THE$WINGS$$ Gordon&Elliott& Adrian&Butler/&S&P&O’Connor& Not&much&you&can&say&about&this&horse&apart&from&he’s&been&a&legend&for& connections&and&landed&his&first&success&over&this&unique&C&D&last&time&after& numerous&seconds.&He’s&13AyearsAold&now&but&has&shown&time&after&time&that& age&is&just&a&number&and&is&more&than&capable&of&running&another&huge&race&at& the&place&he&clearly&loves.& & & & & &


&

CAUSE$OF$CAUSES$& Gordon&Elliott& John&P&McManus& Cause&Of&Causes&is&starting&to&become&a&Cheltenham&Festival&legend&with& three&festival&wins&on&his&CV&to&date.&He&was&brilliant&when&landing&this&race& last&season&under&Jamie&Codd&and&seemed&to&relish&the&track.&He&then&went&on& to&finish&a&good&second&in&the&Grand&National&at&Aintree&behind&One&For& Arthur.&Cause&Of&Causes&clearly&needed&the&run&on&his&return&last&time&at& Leopardstown&and&that&should&put&him&spot&on&for&a&fourth&Cheltenham& Festival&success.& '

$ JOSIES$ORDERS$ E&Bolger& John&P&McManus& Josies&Orders&has&been&a&good&horse&for&connections&in&this&sphere&and&has&an& impressive&strike&rate&over&this&C&D.&He&officially&won&this&race&in&2016&after& original&winner&Any&Currency&was&thrown&out&for&a&positive&sample&of&a& banned&substance.&Ed&Bolger’s&leading&fancy&missed&this&race&last&season&but& looks&set&for&a&big&run&in&this&year’s&renewal&after&a&very&pleasing&run&last&time& at&Punchestown.&He’ll&likely&be&doing&his&best&work&at&the&business&end&here.!

$ $ TIGER$ROLL$$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Tiger&Roll&is&a&very&interesting&runner&in&this&race&and&he&has&very&good& Cheltenham&Festival&form&to&his&name.&He&won&the&Triumph&Hurdle&in&2014& before&landing&the&National&Hunt&Chase&here&last&season&under&a&terrific&ride& from&Lisa&O’Neill.&He&shapes&like&a&horse&that&will&do&very&well&in&this&discipline& in&time&and&I&thought&he&ran&a&pleasing&race&over&this&C&D&here&last&time&out.& Gordon&Elliott&has&reported&Tiger&Roll&is&pleasing&and&went&well&around&this& course&in&a&schooling&session&with&Cause&Of&Causes&recently.&He&looks&the&dark& horse&in&the&field.&


' '

Key$Trends' • • • • • • • •

9/10&–&Aged&between&8&&&10& 9/10&–&Won&over&3m&or&further& 8/10&–&Trained&in&Ireland&(Irish&bred&6/10)& 7/10&–&Top&3&in&the&betting& 7/10&–&Rated&lower&than&148& 6/10&–&Beat&last&time&out& 6/10&–&Cheltenham&experience& 2/10&–&Favourites& &

'

Verdict$ The&CrossACountry&Chase&is&the&best&spectacle&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&and& it&always&throws&up&an&exciting&and&sometimes&dramatic&race.&Bless&The&Wings& has&been&a&star&for&his&connections&and&finally&got&his&head&in&front&at&this& track&in&December.&The&veteran&isn’t&getting&any&younger&but&he&loves&this&test& and&should&put&another&brave&display.&Auvergnat&is&a&useful&horse&in&this& discipline&but&hasn’t&yet&shown&his&best&form&at&Cheltenham.&He&comes&here& on&the&back&of&a&gutsy&win&at&Punchestown&and&is&entitled&to&plenty&of&respect.& Tiger&Roll&is&a&horse&I&fear&a&lot&in&this&contest&and&he&really&could&be&anything.& His&connections&have&released&some&pleasing&reports&recently&and&it&would&be& no&surprise,&if&he&improved&on&his&first&go&over&these&obstacles&with&experience& under&his&belt.&I&really&fancy&last&year’s&winner&CAUSE$OF$CAUSES&to&enter& an&elite&group&and&land&a&brilliant&fourth&Cheltenham&Festival&victory&here.& He’s&been&a&brilliant&horse&for&his&connections&and&took&this&race&by&storm&last& season&under&Jamie&Codd.&I&think&a&repeat&of&that&effort&would&see&an&identical& result&here&and&he&should&improve&for&his&recent&pipe&opener&last&time.&Ed& Bolger&also&saddles&Josies&Orders&in&this&but&he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&in&this& season’s&race&and&can&be&a&tricky&ride.&& ' Selection:'CAUSE$OF$CAUSES'(3/1)' ' ' ' '


''

'

Fred$Winter$Juvenile$Handicap$Hurdle$

(Grade'3)$

$

Winner:'£45,560' Distance:'2m$87y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Flying$Tiger'

$ ACT$OF$VALOUR$ Paul&Nicholls& McNeill&Family&& Act&Of&Valour&was&a&97&rated& horse&on&the&flat&for&Michael& O’Callaghan&before&joining& Paul&Nicholls&at&the&start&of& the&season.&He’s&by&Harbour& Watch&and&you&wouldn’t& associate&his&pedigree&with& hurdling&but&he&looked& above&average&over&timber& to&date.&He&won&in&fine&style& of&his&debut&before&running& too&badly&to&be&true&next& time&in&a&Grade&2&behind&We&Have&A&Dream.&He&got&back&on&track&last&month& when&running&a&race&full&of&promise&behind&the&same&rival.&He&needs&serious& respect&for&a&stable&that&does&well&in&this&race.& &

$ CITY$DREAMER$ Alan&King& A&R&W&Marsh& This&horse&brings&some&useful&form&the&table&here&and&he’s&the&type&Alan&King& does&very&well&with.&He&won&two&races&very&easily&against&decent&enough& opposition&before&finishing&second&on&his&next&two&starts&giving&weight&away& to&two&very&smart&horses,&including&We&Have&A&Dream.&He&ran&a&decent& enough&race&on&the&flat&recently&and&that&run&should&put&him&spot&on&for&a&tilt& at&this&race.&He’s&an&interesting&contender.&


&

EMBOLE$$ Dan&Skelton& Colm&Donlon$ Embole&joined&Dan&Skelton&from&Emmanuel&Clayeux&in&France&at&the&start&of& the&season&and&looks&a&horse&with&a&bright&future.&He&ran&a&decent&enough& race&on&his&stable&debut&behind&two&nice&types&before&putting&in&a&poor&display& at&Huntingdon&on&his&next&outing.&It&was&later&discovered&he&had&been& suffering&from&a&wind&problem&and&that&had&been&rectified&since&and&he&fairly& bolted&up&on&his&first&start&since&undergoing&WindASurgery&at&Wicanton&last& time.&He&beat&a&wellAtouted&horse&called&Sao&trained&by&Paul&Nicholls.&He&could& be&lurking&on&a&decent&mark&here&and&is&the&type&to&do&well&in&this&contest,&& '

$ $ ESPRIT$DE$SOMOZA$$ Nick&Williams& Robert&Forster$ This&horse&built&on&his&poor&racecourse&debut&at&Sandown&to&spring&a&small& surprise&in&an&above&average&juvenile&hurdle&at&Huntingdon&in&testing&ground& conditions.&He&didn’t&back&that&form&up&last&time&at&Taunton&and&looks& potentially&a&little&high&in&the&weights&here.&I&think&soft&ground&is&important&to& this&horse&and&quicker&ground&conditions&might&be&a&slight&concern&but&he& does&represent&last&year’s&winning&trainer.&& ' '

LISP$$ Alan&King& Mr&&&Mrs&R&KelvinAHughes& Lisp&has&made&an&encouraging&start&to&his&career&over&hurdles&for&Alan&King& and&already&has&two&decent&wins&to&his&name.&I&thought&he&looked&very&smart& when&landing&a&Novice&Hurdle&at&Plumpton&in&Decemeber&with&useful& subsequent&winner&Knocknanuss&in&second.&I&don’t&think&he&was&seen&to&best& effect&under&a&penalty&last&time&in&Heavy&ground&conditions&and&should&be& seen&in&better&light&on&better&ground.&He&could&be&an&interesting&runner&here.$


$ LOOK$MY$WAY$$ John&Quinn& Drew&&&Ailsa&Russell& I&like&this&horse&and&it’s&hard&not&be&drawn&to&his&profile&for&a&race&of&this& nature.&He&made&an&encouraging&start&to&his&hurdling&career&when&second&to& Act&Of&Valour&at&Newcastle&before&easily&getting&off&the&mark&at&Ludlow&on&his& next&start&by&10&lengths.&He&ran&a&cracker&when&we&last&seen&him&behind& Triumph&Hurdle&favourite&Apple’s&Shakira&and&actually&got&her&off&the&going& into&the&last&hurdle&that&day.&He&wasn’t&given&a&hard&time&that&day&and&he& could&be&on&a&very&attractive&mark&with&better&ground&bringing&out&further& improvement.& & &

MALAYA$ Paul&Nicholls& Mrs&Johnny&de&la&Hey$ Useful&mare&that&looked&very&good&when&landing&a&Listed&hurdle&earlier&in&the& campaign&before&flopping&in&Heavy&ground&conditions&at&Aintree.&I&thought&she& ran&a&nice&race&after&a&break&last&time&when&chasing&home&the&very&talented& Redicean&home&in&the&Adonis&at&Kempton&back&on&better&ground.&She&should& improve&for&that&outing&here&and&could&be&on&a&decent&mark&based&on&her& Wetherby&victory.&

' ' MITCHOUKA$$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Mitchouka&has&been&very&highly&tried&by&his&connections&this&season&and&looks& to&be&just&short&of&the&top&juveniles&around&in&Ireland.&He’s&got&plenty&of& experience&to&his&name&and&deservedly&landing&a&Grade&3&last&time&at& Fairyhouse.&He&comes&into&this&race&on&a&mark&of&139,&which&looks&very&fair&on& what&he’s&achieved&but&might&be&vulnerable&to&a&few&improvers&here.&

$


'

NUBE$NEGRA$$ Dan&Skelton& T&Spraggett& Nube&Negra&is&the&only&horse&to&get&to&within&4&lengths&of&Triumph&Hurdle& favourite&Apple’s&Shakira&this&season&and&seemed&to&travel&up&nicely&before& tiring&late&on&and&was&no&match&for&the&talented&filly.&He&recorded&a&bloodless& victory&on&his&next&outing&at&Doncaster&by&8&lengths&and&left&the&impression&he& has&plenty&more&to&come.&I&think&this&horse&is&pretty&good&and&better&ground& should&bring&out&plenty&more&improvement.&I’m&not&sure&if&there’s&ever&been&a& Spanish&bred&winner&at&the&Cheltenham&Fesitival&but&this&horse&could&change& that.! '

$ OISTRAKH$LE$NOIR$$ Ben&Pauling& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& Oistrakh&Le&Noir&is&on&the&cusp&of&getting&a&run&in&this&race&and&just&needs&a& few&others&to&drop&out&to&guarantee&a&run&off&his&mark&of&124.&He&ran&a&decent& enough&race&on&his&stable&debut&at&Ascot&in&a&dramatic&contest&before&easily& landing&the&odds&at&Market&Rasen&on&his&next&outing.&He’s&potentially&on&a& workable&mark&but&the&form&of&that&Ascot&race&wouldn’t&blow&you&away&at&this& moment&in&time.&& ' '

STYLE$DE$GARDE$ Nicky&Henderson& Highclere&Thoroughbred&Racing&–&Style& Style&De&Garde&won&very&well&in&a&hurdle&contest&in&France&before&looking&very& good&on&his&stable&debut&at&Newbury&when&easily&beating&the&useful&Doctor& Bartolo&by&8&lengths.&He&didn’t&back&that&effort&up&when&we&last&seen&him&at& Huntingdon&in&a&race&that&hasn’t&exactly&worked&out&(Embole&was&last&but& clearly&didn’t&give&his&running&that&day).&He&could&improve&further&here&but&his& mark&of&137&doesn’t&give&him&much&room&for&error&based&on&what&he’s& achieved&to&date.&


$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

9/11&A&Rated&between&124&&&134& 9/11&–&Carried&no&more&than&11st&5lbs& 8/11&–&Run&within&the&last&25&days& 7/11&–&Beaten&on&first&two&outings&over&hurdles& 6/11&–&French&bred& 6/11&–&Won&last&time&out& First&time&headgear&an&interesting&addition& No&winner&had&run&at&Cheltenham&before& &

&

Verdict$ Alan&King&seems&to&have&a&very&useful&bunch&of&juvenile&hurdlers&this&season& and&has&a&strong&hand&in&the&Grade&1&Triumph&Hurdle&with&Redicean.&He&has&a& few&interesting&runners&amongst&the&entries&for&this&competitive&contest&with& Lisp&and&City&Dreamer&holding&sound&form&claimers.&Lisp&has&done&nothing& wrong&this&season&and&looks&on&a&workable&mark&at&present.&I&think&better& ground&will&suit&here&and&could&run&a&nice&race&at&a&decent&price.&Gordon& Elliott&brings&his&useful&juvenile&Mitchouka&over&for&this&contest&and&brings& some&useful&form&to&the&table.&He&could&be&on&a&decent&mark&based&on&his& form&this&season&but&he&could&be&vulnerable&to&some&potential&improvers&here& on&better&ground&conditions.&Paul&Nicholls&has&an&excellent&strike&rate&in&this& contest&and&looks&to&have&another&excellent&chance&with&Act&Of&Valour,&who& ran&a&nice&race&behind&Triumph&Hurdle&contender&We&Have&A&Dream&last&time.& He&looks&to&have&a&big&chance&on&form&and&he&could&be&well&handicapped&over& hurdles&if&his&flat&exploits&are&anything&to&go&by.&Embole&took&his&form&to&a& new&level&on&his&first&start&since&undergoing&WindASurgery&last&time.&He&could& be&well&handicapped&on&the&back&of&that&effort.&Dan&Skelton&also&has&NUBE$ NEGRA&entered&in&this&contest&and&although&he&hasn’t&got&the&profile&you’d& associate&with&this&race,&he&looks&a&very&smart&horse&going&the&right&way.&He& ran&a&cracker&behind&the&very&talented&Apple’s&Shakira&here&in&December& before&easily&landing&a&Novice&Hurdle&at&Doncaster.&He&looks&open&to&plenty&of& improvement&and&should&be&well&suited&to&better&ground&and&a&faster&pace.& Ben&Pauling’s&Oistrakh&Le&Noir&looks&likely&to&get&a&run&but&he&does&need&a&few& more&to&drop&out&to&be&certain.&He’s&an&improving&type&that&has&a&likeable& profile.&Look&My&Way&is&another&with&a&good&profile&for&this&contest&and&he& also&ran&a&nice&race&here&behind&Apple’s&Shakira&last&time.&He&could&take&his& form&to&a&new&level&on&better&ground&and&would&be&a&big&danger&here.&

& Selection:&NUBE$NEGRA'(12/1)'


'

Weatherbys$Champion$Bumper$(Grade'1)' Winner:'£42,713' Distance:'2m$87y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Fayonagh$

$ ACEY$MILAN$$ Anthony&Honeyball& Owners&For&Owners:&Acey&Milan& Acey&Milan&has&looked&very&good&this&season&including&Listed&wins&here&and& under&a&penalty&last& time&at&Newbury.&He& looked&very&good&at& Newbury&and&he& handled&the&ground& conditions&very&well& for&a&4AyAo&that&day.& Being&a&son&of&Milan& you’d&think&better& ground&won’t&be&an& issue&and&he&could& even&improve&further& for&it.&He’s&a&only&a&4AyAo&and&no&horse&that&age&has&won&this&race&since&Cue& Card&in&2010&but&this&what&this&horse&lacks&in&age&he&makes&up&in&experience& and&his&win&over&this&C&D&is&a&big&asset.& &

$ BLACKBOW$ W&P&Mullins& Roaringwater&Syndicate& Blackbow&has&looked&very&smart&since&joining&Willie&Mullins&this&season&and& it’s&hard&to&knock&his&two&victories.&He&built&on&his&encouraging&stable&debut&at& Leopardstown&in&December&to&follow&up&in&a&Grade&2&at&the&same&track&last& time,&in&what&looked&a&very&competitive&race&beforehand.&Blackbow&is&going&to& make&a&very&smart&chaser&one&day&but&he’s&done&nothing&wrong&so&far&and& deserves&his&place&at&the&top&of&the&market.&


&

CAREFULLY$SELECTED$ W&P&Mullins& Miss&M&A&Masterson& Carefully&Selected&is&another&in&the&lineAup&that&has&done&nothing&wrong&in& Bumpers&this&season&for&Willie&Mullins&and&looked&very&smart&last&time&at&Naas& and&deservedly&booked&his&ticket&for&this&race.&I’m&not&sure&the&form&of&his&two& victories&is&anything&special&but&he&hails&from&a&yard&that&has&a&fantastic&record& in&this&race&and&is&obviously&not&rules&out&easily.& & &

CROOKS$PEAK$$ Philip&Hobbs& Andy&Tilley& Crooks&Peak&has&done&nothing&wrong&in&two&career&starts&to&date&and&landed&a& Listed&Bumper&at&this&track&in&good&style&earlier&in&the&campaign.&He&hasn’t& been&since&that&victory&and&the&form&of&that&race&hasn’t&worked&out&at&all.&He’s& a&very&good&moving&horse&that&will&appreciate&better&ground&conditions&and& he&could&be&capable&of&better&but&will&need&to&improve&to&get&involved&here& for&me.$ & & &

DIDTHEYLEAVEUOUTTO$$ Nick&Gifford& J&P&McManus& This&horse&built&on&his&very&easy&victory&at&Lingfield&earlier&in&the&season&to& land&a&very&competitive&Listed&race&at&Ascot&when&we&last&seen&him.&I&think& that&was&one&of&the&best&Bumpers&we’ve&seen&this&season&and&the&form&has& worked&out&very&well&since.&There’s&no&doubt&if&this&horse&was&trained&by& Mullins&or&Henderson&he’d&be&half&his&current&price&and&he&comes&into&this& race&with&strong&form&to&his&name.&My&only&concern&would&be&we&haven’t&seen& him&since&December&but&that&wouldn’t&be&enough&to&put&me&off&his&chances.&

'


$ FELIX$DESJY$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Felix&Desjy&is&a&very&interesting&name&amongst&the&entries&here&and&hasn’t& been&seen&on&a&racecourse&since&November.&He&was&previously&a&very&easy& pointAtoApoint&winner&previously&before&landing&two&races&in&the&style&of&a& very&smart&horse&in&the&making.&I&think&this&horse&is&going&to&make&a&lovely& hurdler&and&chaser&in&the&future&but&the&fact&connections&have&opted&to&run& him&in&this&needs&to&be&noted.$ ' '$

HOLLOWGRAPHIC$ W&P&Mullins& Ballylinch&Stud& Hollowgraphic&looks&a&very&smart&horse&and&he&showed&that&when&finishing& second&on&his&racecourse&debut&last&year&in&a&valuable&Bumper&at& Punchestown&behind&the&useful&Vision&Des&Flos.&He’s&a&big&raw&horse&that& wouldn’t&have&been&the&finished&article&that&day&and&he&improved&with&a& summer&on&his&back&to&easily&land&a&Punchestown&Bumper&on&his&seasonal& debut&by&13&lengths.&He&hasn’t&been&seen&since&but&Willie&Mullins&has&insisted& that&was&always&the&plan.&He’s&by&Beat&Hollow,&so&he&should&relish&some&better& ground&conditions.& & ' '

RHINESTONE' Joseph&Patrick&O’Brien& John&P&McManus& Rhinestone&built&on&his&decent&enough&racecourse&debut&when&second&at& Punchestown,&to&land&a&Thurles&Bumper&very&easily&by&19&lengths&on&Heavy& ground.&He&ran&a&nice&race&last&time&behind&Blackbow&in&a&Grade&2&at& Leopardstown&and&shaped&as&if&there’s&plenty&more&to&come&from&him.&He’s&a& son&of&the&late&Montjeu,&so&he&should&improve&when&tackling&better&ground& conditions&and&is&a&fascinating&runner&for&Joseph&O’Brien.!


$ THE$FLYING$SOFA$ Gary&Moore& Galloping&On&The&South&Downs&Partnership& The&Flying&Sofa&ran&a&very&eyeAcatching&race&on&his&debut&at&Ascot&when& chasing&home&two&very&nice&horses&in&the&shape&of&Didtheyleaveuputto&and& Bullionaire.&He&failed&to&win&on&his&next&outing&but&the&ground&condtions&were& far&softer&than&ideal&that&day&and&he’s&a&different&horse&on&better&ground.&He& showed&that&last&time&at&Fontwell&but&he&will&need&to&improve&on&that&form&to& land&a&blow&in&this&contest.$

$ $ TIME$TO$MOVE$ON$$ Fergal&O’Brien& Paul&&&Clare&Rooney& Time&To&Move&On&has&done&nothing&wrong&in&two&career&starts&to&date&and& landed&the&odds&in&fine&style&under&a&penalty&last&time&at&Exeter.&Fergal& O’Brien&does&well&with&him&Bumper&horses&and&it’s&a&matter&of&time&before&he& wins&this&race.&This&horse&has&only&ran&on&softer&ground&conditions&to&date&and& his&ability&to&handle&better&ground&will&need&to&be&taking&on&trust.&If&the& ground&came&up&soft&he’d&have&a&squeak&at&the&prices.& ' '

Key$Trends$ • • • • • •

'

$

12/12–&Won&last&time&out& 11/12&–&Aged&5&or&6& 10/12&–&Ran&more&than&once& 5/12&–&Top&3&in&the&betting& 3/12&–&Ran&at&Cheltenham&before&(all&3&won)& 1/12&–&Favourites&


$ Verdict$ The&Champion&Bumper&is&always&a&competitive&race&and&this&season’s&renewal& is&no&different.&Felix&Desjy&looks&to&have&a&bright&future&and&the&vibes&on&his& chances&have&been&strong&from&his&stable.&He&hasn’t&been&seen&since& November&but&if&he&shows&up&here,&only&a&fool&would&rule&him&out&lightly.&Acey& Milan&is&only&a&4AyAo&but&he’s&one&of&if&not&the&most&experience&horse&amongst& the&entries.&He&won&well&over&this&C&D&earlier&in&the&season&before&bolting&up& in&a&hotly&contested&race&last&time&at&Newbury&in&brutal&ground&conditions.&He& should&handle&better&ground&conditions&well&and&is&a&very&interesting&runner& for&Anthony&Honeyball.&Didtheyleaveuoutto&hasn’t&been&seen&since&landing&a& Listed&Bumper&at&Ascot&in&December&but&he’s&a&very&interesting&runner&and&I& personally&think&he&brings&the&best&form&to&the&table&here.&He&travelled& beautifully&that&day&before&quickening&up&readily&late&on&to&draw&away&from&a& good&field.&He&could&be&a&little&overpriced&here&based&on&those&exploits.&Willie& Mullins&has&an&excellent&record&in&this&race&and&he&looks&to&have&another& strong&hand&in&the&race&with&Blackbow,&Carefully&Selected&and&Hollowgraphic& looking&his&main&three.&Blackbow&has&looked&very&smart&in&two&outings&and&got& the&better&of&Rhinestone&last&time&at&Leopardstown&in&a&Grade&2.&He&will&make& a&lovely&horse&in&time&but&is&a&smart&Bumper&horse&and&deserves&to&be&the& current&marker&leader.&Carefully&Selected&won&well&last&time&and&booked&his& ticket&with&that&win.&He’ll&need&to&improve&to&land&a&significant&blow.&I&like& HOLLOWGRAPHIC&myself&and&he&looks&the&type&that&will&do&well&in&this& contest.&I&thought&he&ran&an&excellent&race&in&a&valuable&Bumper&at& Punchestown&in&the&spring&on&his&debut&as&a&4AyAo&and&he&showed&the&benefit& of&that&experience&to&get&off&the&mark&last&time&at&the&same&venue.&He’s&a&big& raw&horse&that&has&improved&mentally&and&physically&for&a&summer&break.&I& wouldn’t&worry&too&much&about&the&layAoff&here,&as&that&was&always& connections&plan.&He&will&relish&better&ground&here.&Rhinestone&finished& behind&the&previously&mentioned&Blackbow&last&time&at&Leopardstown&but&I& fancy&him&to&run&a&big&race&here&on&better&ground&and&I&think&he&could&reverse& that&form.& & Selection:&HOLLOWGRAPHIC'(6/1)' ' & ' ''


$ JLT$Novices’$Chase$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£85,425' Distance:'2m3f$198y' Last'year’s'winner:$Yorkhill

$

' AL$BOUM$PHOTO$' W&P&Mullins& Mrs&J&Donnelly& Al&Boum&Photo&has&solid&form&to&his&name&and&is&closely&matched&with& Monalee.&He’s&also&entered&in&the&RSA&Chase&and&I&think&that&race&would&suit& ths&horse&better&and&should&be&well&suited&to&the&return&to&3m.&I&think&he’ll& only&run&in&this&race&if&the&ground&comes&up&very&soft.&He&can&make&the&odd& bad&mistake&in&his&races&and&if&he&can&eliminate&the&jumping&errors&he&should& have&strong&place&claims&for&Willie&Mullins.&

$ $ BENATAR$$ Gary&Moore& Ashely&Head& Benatar&has&looked&brilliant&since&sent&chasing&this&season&and&has&done& nothing&wrong&in&three&career&victories.&He&won&a&Plumpton&Novice&Chase& earlier&in&the&season&and&any& horse&that&wins&a&Novice& Chase&there&and&wins&at& Cheltenham&receives&a& £25,000&bonus,&so&I’m&sure& that’s&firmly&in&connections& mind.&He’s&suffered&a&few& set&backs&since&we&last&seen& him&and&that&would&be&a& slight&concern&but&I&believe& he’s&back&on&track&and& should&make&it&to&the&festival&with&a&clear&run.&& '


$ FINIAN’S$OSCAR$ Colin&Tizzard& Ann&&&Alan&Potts&Limited& There’s&no&doubt&Finian’s&Oscar&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&breathAtaking&form& this&season&but&connections&will&be&hoping&he&can&get&back&on&track&here&on& some&spring&ground.&He&won&a&Novice&Chase&here&in&November&before& running&no&sort&of&race&in&a&Grade&1&at&Sandown&over&2m.&I&thought&he&ran&a& nice&race&in&a&Grade&2&at&Ascot&behind&Benatar&conceding&5lb.&He&hated&the& ground&back&over&hurdles&last&time&on&his&first&start&over&3m&last&time&and& there’s&no&doubt&he’s&a&much&better&horse&than&that.&I&believe&connections&will& try&him&in&first&time&blinkers&in&this&race&and&that&could&spark&this&highAclass& horse&back&into&life.!

$ $ INVITATION$ONLY$ W&P&Mullins& Andrea&&&Graham&Wylie& I’ve&had&this&horse&in&mind&for&this&contest&for&some&time&and&he&reminds&me&a& lot&of&Black&Hercules,&who&won&this&race&for&connections&in&2016&(Yorkhill&also& won&this&race&for&connections&last&season).&He’s&improved&with&each&outing& and&comes&into&this&race&on&the&back&of&a&good&run&in&third&in&a&Grade&1&at& Leopardstown&last&time.&The&two&that&finished&ahead&of&him&that&day&are&likely& to&run&in&the&RSA&Chase&and&that&gives&this&horse&and&excellent&shout.&I&think& he’ll&handle&better&ground&well&enough&but&any&rain&would&suit.& '

MODUS$ Paul&Nicholls& John&P&McManus& Modus&comes&into&this&race&on&the&back&of&a&very&impressive&win&at&Kempton& last&time&and&he&has&some&useful&form&to&his&name.&He&won&a&Grade&2&at& Wicanton&earlier&in&the&campaign&when&defeating&the&very&useful&Kalondra&by& 9&lengths.&Modus&looks&one&of&the&leading&British&hopes&for&this&race&and&he& can’t&be&dismissed&lightly&here&for&Paul&Nicholls.&&


$ MONALEE$ Henry&de&Bromhead& Mr&Barry&Maloney& Monalee&ran&a&cracker&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&last&season&when&second&in& the&Albert&Bartlett&behind&Penhill.&He&has&looked&very&good&over&fences&this& season&and&on&the&overall&jumps&and&travels&very&well&indeed.&He&bounced& back&from&a&fall&last&time&to&make&all&in&a&hotly&contested&Novice&Chase&at& Leopardstown.&I&think&a&return&to&better&ground&will&bring&out&further& improvement&in&this&horse&but&he&might&be&better&suited&to&the&RSA&Chase& over&the&longer&trip.&He’d&be&an&interesting&contender&here&if&he&shows&up.&

! & '

TERREFORT$$ Nicky&Henderson& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& Terrefort&is&far&from&a&guaranteed&runner&in&this&race&and&connections&have& said&he’ll&only&participate&if&the&ground&is&on&the&soft&side.&He&won&nicely&at& Sandown&when&landing&a&Grade&1&only&his&second&start&for&Nicky&Henderson.& The&form&of&that&race&looks&strong&with&the&second&landing&a&Grade&2&by&11& lengths&under&a&penalty&on&his&next&start.&He’d&be&an&interesting&runner&if&the& ground&came&up&soft&here.& '

$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • '

6/6&–&Won&over&the&distance& 6/6&–&Ran&over&hurdles&at&previous&Cheltenham&Festival& 6/6&–&Ran&within&the&last&60&days& 6/6&–&Ran&left&handed&last&time&out& 6/6&–&Aged&6&or&7&& 4/6&–&Won&a&Grade&1&or&Grade&2&Chase& 4/6&–&Graded&winner&over&hurdles&


Verdict$ The&JLT&Novices’&Chase&is&often&a&test&of&speed&and&stamina&and&more&often& that&not&it’s&won&by&a&strong&stayer.&Modus&fell&on&his&penultimate&outing&but& quickly&showed&that&was&a&moment&of&madness&with&a&brilliant&round&of& jumping&last&time&at&Kempton.&He&won&a&Wicanton&Grade&2&in&November&and& that&form&puts&him&right&in&contention&here.&Benatar&is&a&horse&I&like&a&lot&and& he’s&looked&very&smart&over&fences&this&season.&He’s&had&a&few&setbacks&since& his&Grade&2&win&at&Ascot&but&he&should&be&back&to&his&best&here&and&has&a& leading&form&chance.&Monalee,&Al&Boum&Photo&are&closely&matched&on&their& running&in&a&Grade&1&at&Leopardstown.&Monalee&would&clearly&have&a&strong& chance&if&connections&opted&to&run&here&instead&of&the&RSA&Chase.&He’s&a&very& smart&horse&and&would&take&plenty&of&beating&if&given&the&office&to&run&here.&I& think&ground&conditions&will&dictate&where&Al&Boum&Photo&ends&up,&if&the& ground&is&soft&he’d&have&a&good&chance&over&this&C&D&but&he&also&could&end&up& in&the&RSA&Chase.&I’ve&had&INVITATION$ONLY$in&mind&for&this&race&for&a& while&now.&Like&I&said&previously,&he&reminds&me&a&lot&of&Black&Hercules,&who& won&this&race&for&connections.&I&think&stamina&is&very&important&in&this&race& and&this&horse&seems&to&have&plenty&but&he&definitely&isn’t&slow&either.&His& price&in&this&has&taken&a&thrashing&since&anteApost&favourite&Willoughby&Court& has&been&ruled&out&but&I&still&think&he’s&potentially&a&nice&bet&in&a&race&that&will& cut&up.&Colin&Tizzard&has&stated&Finian’s&Oscar&will&wear&first&time&blinkers&in& this&and&that&will&be&a&very&interesting&addition.&He&looks&to&have&fallen&out&of& love&with&the&sport&at&present&but&he’s&still&young&and&I’m&sure&he’ll&run&a&nice& race&here.&& Selection:&INVITATION$ONLY$(4/1)' '

'

$


'

Pertemps$Network$Final$Handicap$ Hurdle$ Winner:'£56,950' Distance:'2m7f$213y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Presenting$Percy$ $

A$GREAT$VIEW$ Denis&W&Cullen& John&P&McManus& A&Great&View&looks&a&very&interesting&contender&that&has&some&decent&form&to& his&name&and&is&potentially&well&treated&on&his&best&efforts&over&timber.&He& qualified&with&a&useful&second&behind&Mine&Now&at&Leopardstown&in& December&and&shapes&if&a&race&of&this&nature&could&suit.&He’s&shown&his&best& form&on&Soft&ground&and&if&he&gets&there&here&he&could&have&a&live&chance.& ' '

ARTHUR’S$GIFT$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& Arthur’s&Gift&Partnership& Arthur’s&Gift&has&improved&through&the&ranks&this&season&and&started&the& campaign&off&108.&He&landed&a&C&D&handicap&here&in&Soft&ground&conditions& here&in&December&and&that&experience&will&help&his&cause&here.&He&seems&to& relish&some&cut&in&the&ground&but&he&should&handle&better&ground&well&also.& He&looks&a&lively&outsider&for&Nigel&TwistonADavies&in&this.$ ' '

$ $ $


$ BEAT$THAT$ Nicky&Henderson& Michael&Buckley& Beat&That&has&been&a&terrific&horse&for&his&connections&and&is&a&dual&Grade&1& winner&over&hurdles.&He&hasn’t&quite&got&back&to&his&brilliant&best&since& returning&from&an&849&days&layAoff&and&never&really&got&to&grips&with&the&larger& obstacles&this&season.&He&qualified&for&this&race&when&third&at&Sandown&on&his& penultimate&start&and&a&switch&to&hurdling&could&get&him&close&to&his&best& effort.&He&could&be&well&handicapped&if&he&puts&his&best&foot&forward&here.& &!

$ CALETT$MAD$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& Calett&Mad&has&looked&smart&over&hurdles&this&season&with&his&only&two& defeats&coming&in&Grade&2&contests.&He&won&a&C&D&Novice&Hurdle&at&this&track& in&October&and&that&experience&is&a&huge&asset&here.&He&looked&very&good& when&landing&a&qualifier&for&this&race&last&time&at&Musselburgh&on&his&second& outing&since&undergoing&WindASurgery&and&there&could&be&more&to&come&from& this&horse&with&a&4lb&rise&looking&very&fair.&He&looks&pretty&versatile&when&it& comes&to&ground&conditions.&& & '

DELTA$WORK$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Delta&Work&looks&to&have&a&huge&shout&in&this&race&and&he&qualified&with&a& decent&third&last&time&in&testing&ground&conditions&at&Punchestown.&He&ran&a& nice&race&on&his&penultimate&start&at&Leopardstown&when&conceding&8lbs&to&a& seriously&wellAhandicapped&Total&Recall.&He&comes&into&this&race&on&a&mark&of& 141,&which&I&think&is&pretty&fair&based&on&what&he’s&achieved&to&date.&He&will& handle&all&ground&types&and&looks&to&have&an&excellent&chance.&$

$ $


$ FORZA$MILAN$ Jonjo&O’Neill& Deep&Sea&Partnership& Forza&Milan&has&been&pretty&well&backed&in&the&lead&up&to&this&race&and&it’s& easy&to&see&why.&He&ran&some&nice&races&last&season&behind&Gayebury&and& Rather&Be&before&getting&off&the&mark&at&Chepstow.&He’s&qualified&with&a&good& second&behind&Louis’&Vac&Pouch&at&Aintree&in&November&before&chasing&home& The&Organist&last&time&at&Newbury.&The&money&for&this&horse&in&recent&weeks& has&to&be&noted&and&he&looks&the&type&to&do&well&in&a&race&of&this&nature.&$ $

$ GLENLOE$ $

Gordon&Elliott& John&P&McManus$

I&think&this&race&has&been&the&plan&for&this&horse&for&some&time&and&I&think&this& race&will&suit&him&down&to&the&ground.&I&thought&this&horse&ran&a&huge&eyeA catching&race&at&Naas&a&few&starts&back&when&finishing&second&behind&Osar& Knight&with&subsequent&Grade&2&winner&Diamond&Cauchois&back&in&third.&He& ran&another&decent&race&in&a&qualifier&for&this&race&at&Leopardstown&in& December&and&wasn’t&exactly&giving&a&hard&time&that&day.&He’s&only&raced&on& Soft&ground&to&date,&which&has&to&be&a&slight&concern&but&I&can’t&see&better& ground&being&an&issue.&I&think&he&has&a&big&chance&for&Gordon&Elliott.& & '

LOUIS’$VAC$POUCH$ Philip&Hobbs& The&Vacuum&Company&Limited& Louis’&Vac&Pouch&hasn’t&been&seen&since&winning&a&qualifier&for&this&race&at& Aintree&in&November&and&I’m&sure&connections&have&been&protecting&his& handicap&mark&for&this&contest.&He&won&well&at&Aintree&and&it&was&hard&not&to& like&his&attitude.&The&form&of&that&race&has&worked&out&very&well&with& subsequent&Grade&2&winner&Beer&Goggles&back&in&third.&He’s&undoubtedly& going&the&right&way&and&represents&connections&that&have&won&this&race&in& recent&years&but&I’m&not&sure&his&mark&of&146&has&much&margin&for&error.&

!


'

PROTEK$DES$FLOS$ Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus& I&think&this&horse&is&very&smart&when&everything&falls&into&place&and&he&showed& that&when&landing&a&qualifier&for&this&race&on&Boxing&Day&at&Wicanton.&He& wasn’t&seen&to&best&effect&last&time&on&his&first&attempt&at&3m,&that&was&a& messy&contest&and&he’s&much&better&than&he&showed&that&day.&I&think&he& remains&on&a&workable&mark&and&is&worth&monitoring&in&the&betting&in&the&lead& up&to&this&race.&& '

$ TOMMY$RAPPER$ Dan&Skelton& Judy&Craymer&&&Nick&Skelton& Tommy&Rapper&has&always&promised&that&he&would&develop&into&a&very&smart& performer&and&he’s&been&highly&tried&by&Dan&Skelton&in&the&past.&The&penny& seems&to&have&finally&dropped&for&him&lately&and&he&completed&a&quick&hat& trick&last&time&at&Haydock&when&qualifying&for&this&race&under&Bridget& Andrews.&I&think&3m&with&some&cut&in&the&ground&will&be&his&optimum& conditions&and&could&potentially&get&that&in&this&race.&He’s&a&very&interesting& contender&that’s&improvement&hasn’t&ended&yet.& &

! Key!Trends! • • • • • • • &

9/10&–&Winning&form&between&2m4f&&&2m6f& 9/10&–&Aged&6&to&8& 8/10&–&Carried&no&more&than&11st&4lbs& 7/10&–&Officially&rated&132&to&142& 7/10&–&Won&a&class&2&or&higher& 7/10&–&Ran&within&the&last&48&days& 6/10&–&Won&over&at&least&3m&


! Verdict! Louis’&Vac&Pouch&has&the&perfect&profile&for&this&race&and&looked&very&good& when&winning&at&Aintree&when&we&last&seen&him.&Philips&Hobbs&has&been& protecting&his&mark&for&this&race&but&he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&off&a&mark&of&146& here.&Forza&Milan&finished&behind&Philip&Hobbs’s&charge&at&Aintree&and&will& meet&him&again&on&almost&identical&terms.&He’s&been&well&punted&for&this&race& in&recent&weeks&and&that&could&look&significant.&Beat&That&never&really&took&to& chasing&and&is&worth&his&place&in&this&field.&He’s&a&dual&Grade&1&winner&back&in& the&day&and&if&he&can&get&anywhere&near&that&sort&of&form&there’s&no&point&in& his&rivals&turning&up&here.&Nigel&TwistonADavies&has&two&C&D&winners&in&the& lineAup&with&Calett&Mad&looking&his&best&chance&on&paper.&He’s&improved&since& having&his&wind&sorted&and&looks&potentially&well&treated&up&4lb&for&his& Musselburgh&win.&I&think&he&holds&strong&place&claims&and&could&outrun&his& current&odds.&I’ve&spent&a&while&trying&to&split&the&two&Gordon&Elliott&runners& here&and&I’ve&ended&up&siding&with&GLENLOE,&who&I&don’t&think&we’ve&seen& the&best&of&yet&and&could&be&open&to&plenty&of&improvement.&His&two&placed& efforts&at&Naas&and&Leopardstown&remain&fresh&in&the&memory.&I&think&he’s& versatile&when&it&comes&to&ground&conditions&and&looks&a&very&interesting& runner.&It&wasn’t&easy&to&dismiss&Delta&Work&and&he’s&horse&I&like&a&lot&and& looks&to&have&a&nice&profile&for&this&race.&Tommy&Rapper&keeps&going&the&right& way&and&I&feel&he’s&still&well&handicapped&now&he’s&discovered&how&to&win.& & Selection:&GLENLOE$(9/1)' & '

$ $ $ $ $ $


$ Ryanair$Chase$ Winner:'£199,325' Distance:'2m4f$166y' Last'year’s'winner:$Un$De$Sceaux$

' BALKO$DES$FLOS$$ Henry&De&Bromhead& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Balko&Des&Flos&was&a&good&winner&of&the&Galway&Plate&in&the&summer&and&has& improved&into&a&genuine&Grade&1&chaser&over&the&winter&for&Henry&De& Bromhead.&This&horse&ran&a&cracker&over&Christmas&at&Leopardstown&behind& Road&To&Respect&and&that&form&puts&him&right&in&the&mix.&He’s&a&very& interesting&runner&in&a&race&his&connections&are&desperate&to&win.& '

$ CUE$CARD$$ Colin&Tizzard& Mrs&Jean&R&Bishop$ Cue&Card&has&been&a&legend& for&Colin&Tizzard&over&the& years&and&he&amazingly&won& this&race&in&2013.&He’s&fallen& twice&in&the&Gold&Cup&at&the& last&two&Cheltenham&Festival& and&I&think&it’s&a&wise&decision& by&connections&to&drop&him& back&to&this&distance.&Cue& Card&proved&the&fire&is&still& burning&when&running&a&blinder&behind&Waiting&Patiently&when&given&an& aggressive&ride&from&the&front&by&Paddy&Brennan.&He’s&been&a&terrific&horse& over&the&years&and&he’d&bring&the&house&down&if&he&landed&this&race.&

$


' TOP$NOTCH$$ Nicky&Henderson& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& Top&Notch&had&looked&brilliant&this&season&before&running&too&badly&to&be&true& last&time&at&Ascot&when&well&fancied&for&the&Grade&1&Ascot&Chase.&He’s&a&much& better&horse&than&that&and&I’m&sure&it&was&just&a&rare&off&day&from&him.&He’s&a& tough&and&genuine&horse&that&gives&his&all&usually&and&I’m&sure&he’ll&be&back&to& his&best&at&the&festival.& '' '

UN$DE$SCEAUX$$ W&P&Mullins& E&O’Connell& Un&De&Sceaux&has&been&a&star&for&connections&and&landed&a&second& Cheltenham&Festival&victory&when&landing&this&race&last&season&in&brilliant& style.&He’s&been&in&great&form&this&season;&he&looked&very&good&on&his&return& at&Cork&before&readily&landing&the&Clarence&House&Chase&for&the&second&time& on&his&latest&start.&He’s&a&very&good&horse&and&should&give&it&a&good&go&of& defending&his&crown.&

' ' WAITING$PATIENTLY$$ Ruth&Jefferson& Richard&Collins& Waiting&Patiently&looks&a&horse&with&a&serious&future&and&he&really&could&be& anything.&He&looked&very&good&last&time&at&Ascot&when&getting&the&better&of& Cue&Card&in&the&Ascot&Chase.&Soft&ground&is&undoubtedly&important&to&this& horse&and&I&don’t&think&he’ll&run&unless&the&ground&is&on&the&soft&side&of&good.& He&will&clearly&have&a&huge&shout&if&turning&up&here&and&in&my&opinion,&is&the& one&they’ll&all&have&to&beat.! '

$


$ YORKHILL$$ W&P&Mullins& Andrea&&&Graham&Wylie&& Yorkhill&has&looked&badly&out&of&form&this&season&is&far&from&the&same&horse& that&landed&the&JLT&over&this&C&D&last&season.&He&clearly&didn’t&stay&when&far& too&keen&in&the&Christmas&Chase&(Lexux)&at&Leopardstown&before&not&having& the&pace&and&never&travelling&over&the&minimum&trip&last&time&at&the&same& venue.&I’m&sure&connections&will&be&hoping&a&return&to&better&ground&and& Cheltenham&will&spark&him&back&into&life&but&at&the&minute&he&looks&like&a& horse&falling&out&of&love&with&the&game.& & ' '

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

$

9/10&–&Course&winners& 9/10&–&Aged&between&7&&&10&(6/10&Aged&7&or&8)& 8/10&–&Top&2&finish&in&at&least&one&of&last&two&outings& 8/10&–&Top&3&in&the&betting& 8/10&–&Irish/French&bred& 8/10&–&Rated&161&or&higher& 7/10&–&7&or&more&runs&over&fences& 7/10&–&Won&a&Grade&1&Chase&previously&


$ Verdict$ I&think&this&year’s&Ryanair&Chase&has&the&potential&to&be&a&cracker&if&they&all& turn&up&and&there’s&a&real&mix&of&speed&and&stamina&in&the&lineAup.&Yorkhill& quite&simply&hasn’t&been&the&Yorkhill&we&know&and&love&this&season&but&I’m& sure&it’ll&be&a&matter&of&time&before&he&puts&his&best&foot&forward&again.&He& was&brilliant&when&landing&the&JLT&Novices’&Chase&over&this&C&D&last&season& and&if&he&can&get&back&to&that&form&he’ll&be&involved&at&the&business&end&for& sure.&Top&Notch&had&looked&brilliant&before&putting&in&a&below&par& performance&last&time&at&Ascot&but&I’m&a&true&believer&that&every&horse&has&an& off&day&and&I&can&easily&dismiss&that&run.&He&will&still&need&to&improve&to&land&a& killer&blow&here&for&me&but&he&has&the&heart&of&a&lion&and&will&give&it&his&best& shot&on&the&day.&Gigginstown&House&Stud&and&Michael&O’Leary&are&desperate& to&land&this&race&and&this&year’s&runner&Balko&Des&Flos&has&a&good&profile&for& the&race.&He&will&relish&the&drop&back&in&distance&on&better&ground&here&and& the&likely&strong&pace&on&offer&will&suit,&he&needs&serious&respect.&Un&De& Sceaux&is&a&horse&I&love&and&he&deserves&to&be&favourite&for&this&race&after&his& demolishing&job&last&season.&He’s&in&good&form&heading&into&the&festival&and& should&prove&hard&to&beat&if&he’s&on&a&going&day.&Waiting&Patiently&will&only& run&if&the&ground&is&soft&enough&but&if&connections&give&him&the&green&light& he’ll&be&very&hard&to&beat&and&one&I’d&want&to&be&with&on&the&day&of&the&race& for&sure&but&with&so&much&uncertainty&regarding&his&participation&I&felt&it&was& best&to&side&with&something&else&here&at&this&moment&in&time.&Cue&Card&isn’t& getting&any&younger&but&ran&a&blinder&last&time.&I&think&this&race&is&more& suitable&than&the&Gold&Cup&for&him&and&he&looks&to&have&a&more&realistic& chance&here.&& I&found&this&one&pretty&difficult&to&give&a&real&selection&in&at&this&stage&and&I& wouldn’t&be&having&a&bet&until&the&day&of&the&race&but&I’ve&sided&with&BALKO$ DES$FLOS.$I&think&he’s&an&improving&horse&that&we&haven’t&seen&the&best&of& yet.&There&was&a&lot&to&like&about&his&run&last&time&and&connections&have&given& him&plenty&of&time&to&get&over&that&race.&Like&I&said&previously,&this&wouldn’t&be& a&betting&race&for&me&until&the&day&of&the&race&and&all&will&depend&on&Waiting& Patiently’s&participation.& & Selection:&BALKO$DES$FLOS$(9/1)' & '

$$


$ Sun$Bets$Stayers’$Hurdle$(Grade$1)$ Winner:'£185,088' Distance:'2m7f$213y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Nichols$Canyon$

$ AUGUSTA$KATE$ W&P&Mullins& The&Masters&Syndicate& Augusta&Kate&has&been&a&very&good&horse&for&connections&and&deservedly& landed&a&first&Grade&1&at&Punchestown&last&year&when&defeating&stable&mate& Let’s&Dance.&I&think&good&ground&is&important&to&this&mare&and&her&form&backs& that&statement&up.&I&thought&connections&would&have&opted&for&the&OLBG& Mares’&Hurdle&over&her&optimum&distance&but&she’s&worth&a&crack&in&this&race.& &

' BACARDYS$$ W&P&Mullins& Shanakiel&Racing&Syndicate& I&think&Bacardys&still&has&what&it&takes&to&make&a&very&smart&chaser&but&it&looks& a&good&call&by&connections&to&put&that&plan&on&hold&for&the&time&being.&He& looked&very&good&when&landing&a&Grade&1&at&Punchestown&last&season&when& outstaying&Finian’s&Oscar&late&on.&There’s&no&doubt&he&hasn’t&had&an&ideal& preparation&for&this&race&but&I&think&he’s&a&very&smart&horse&that&needs&serious& respect&here&in&such&an&open&contest.&!

' '

$ $ $ $


$ L’AMI$SERGE$$ Nicky&Henderson& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede! I&don’t&think&L’Ami&Serge&is&the&most&resolute&but&there’s&no&question&he’s&on& of&the&most&consistent&National&Hunt&horses&in&training&and&amazingly&has&only& been&out&of&the&first&three&twice&in&his&career&for&Nicky&Henderson.&He& deservedly&won&a&Grade&1&over&3m&in&France&last&year&and&that&form&gives&him& a&decent&chance&here.&He&ran&well&behind&Sam&Spinner&at&Ascot&last&time&but& on&the&whole&I&think&he&needs&to&up&his&game&if&he’s&going&to&win&this.&&

$ $ PENHILL$$ W&P&Mullins& Tony&Bloom& Penhill&hasn’t&been&seen&since&finishing&second&behind&Champagne&Classic&at& Punchestown&last&year&but&he’s&a&horse&that&seems&to&always&run&well&after&a& break.&He&was&a&very&good&winner&of&the&Albert&Bartlett&over&this&C&D&last& season&and&if&he&can&get&anywhere&near&that&sort&of&form&in&this&race&he’d& have&a&massive&chance&here.&He&seems&to&handle&all&ground&types&and&first& time&out&might&be&the&best&time&to&catch&him.&

$ ' SAM$SPINNER$$ Jedd&O’Keeffe& Caron&&&Paul&Chapman& Sam&Spinner&has&had&an&excellent&season&already&and&has&improved& dramatically&this&season.&He&won&the&Grade&1&Long&Walk&Hurdle&last&time&in& decent&style&and&seemed&to&outstay&his&rivals&from&the&front.&I&have&total& respect&for&this&horse&and&I&think&Jedd&O’Keeffe&has&done&a&fantastic&job&with& him&but&he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&at&his&current&price.&I’d&have&liked&to&see&him& run&at&Cheltenham&previously&to&consider&him&for&this.& &

$


$ SUPASUNDAE$$ Mrs&John&Harrington& Ann&&&Alan&Potts&Limited& Supasundae&was&a&very&good&winner&of&the&Coral&Cup&at&the&Cheltenham& Festival&last&season&and&he&comes&into&this&year’s&meeting&on&the&back&of&a& career&best&performance.&He&easily&brushed&aside&Faugheen&to&land&the&Irish& Champion&Hurdle&last&time&over&2m&but&he&looks&equally&as&effective&over&this& trip&and&should&run&his&race.&I&think&Good&ground&will&see&him&at&his&best&over& this&trip.!

$ $ THE$NEW$ONE$$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& S&Such&&&CG&Paletta& The&New&One&has&been&a&star&for&connections&and&I’ve&never&understood&why& so&many&seem&to&slate&his&performances.&There&are&not&many&National&Hunt& horses&these&days&that&accumulate&over&the&one&million&pound&in&prize&money& and&that&just&shows&you&what&a&horse&he&has&been&over&the&years.&He&deserves& a&crack&at&this&race&over&3m&and&on&ratings&he’d&have&a&chance&but&I&just&wish& this&challenge&came&a&little&earlier&in&his&career.&! &&&

$

UNOWHATIMEANHARRY$' Harry&Fry& John&P&McManus& Unowhatimeanharry&clearly&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&form&this&season& compared&to&how&dominant&he&was&last&season&and&I&think&his&still&recovering& from&his&hard&fought&victory&at&Punchestown&last&year.&He’s&been&given&a& break&since&we&last&seen&him&finishing&third&behind&Sam&Spinner&at&Ascot&and&it& would&be&no&surprise&if&he&returned&to&form&in&this&contest&for&Harry&Fry.&& ' '


$ YANWORTH$$ Alan&King& John&P&McManus& Yanworth&didn’t&set&the&heights&connections&had&hoped&for&over&the&larger& obstacles&this&season&but&he&still&managed&to&win&a&Grade&2&despite&not& jumping&fluently&and&idling/hanging&towards&the&finish.&I&think&that&victory& showed&the&engine&he&has&and&he’s&well&worth&a&crack&back&over&timber.&He& landed&a&Grade&1&at&Aintree&last&season&over&this&trip&and&has&the&beating&of& current&favourite&Supasundae&based&on&that&victory.&He&seems&to&handle&all& types&of&ground&and&looks&a&big&player&here.& ' ' '

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Key$Trends$ • • • • • • '

10/10&–&Aged&6&to&9& 10/10&–&Ran&no&more&than&4&times&since&August& 9/10&–&Previously&ran&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival& 8/10&–&Top&2&finish&last&time&out& 7/10&–&Won&a&graded&hurdle&over&3m& 7/10&–&Not&out&of&the&first&two&in&all&hurdle&starts&that&season&


$ Verdict$ I&think&this&is&far&from&a&vintage&renewal&of&the&Sun&Bets&Stayers’&Hurdle&and& you&could&make&a&case&for&half&the&field&currently.&Sam&Spinner&has&done& nothing&wrong&this&season&and&deserves&his&place&towards&the&top&of&the& betting.&He&looks&a&strong&stayer&and&should&ensure&this&is&a&strong&stamina& test.&He&ticks&a&lot&of&boxes&for&me&but&I&just&wish&he&had&previous&Cheltenham& experience&and&that’s&enough&to&put&me&off&here.&L’Ami&Serge&is&good&horse& on&his&day&but&he&doesn’t&often&find&much&off&the&bridle&and&seems&to&start& wheel&spinning&up&the&Cheltenham&hill&under&pressure.&He’ll&likely&be&bang& there&turning&for&home&before&fading&steadily.&The&New&One&has&been&a&star& for&Nigel&TwistonADavies&and&is&well&worth&his&place&in&this&race&over&the& longer&trip.&I&think&he&should&of&run&in&this&race&a&few&year’s&ago&and&he&might& just&find&younger&legs&too&much&for&him&at&this&stage&in&his&career.&Penhill&was& a&good&winner&of&the&Albert&Bartlett&Novices’&Hurdle&at&the&Cheltenham& Festival&last&year&but&hasn’t&been&seen&for&almost&a&year.&He’s&a&horse&that& seems&to&go&well&when&fresh&and&this&could&be&the&perfect&time&to&catch&him&at& his&best.&I&like&the&other&Willie&Mullins&trained&runner&BACARDYS,&who&didn’t& exactly&reach&the&heights&many&thought&he&would&over&fences&this&season&and& connections&have&opted&to&keep&his&novice&status&for&next&year.&I&actually&had& a&small&punt&on&him&for&this&race&at&33/1&after&he&fell&last&time&and&he&strikes& me&as&the&type&to&do&well&in&this&contest.&He&had&no&chance&at&the&festival&last& season&in&the&Neptune&when&badly&hampered&very&early&on&and&I’m&hoping&he& can&get&some&justice&this&season.&I&do&really&like&the&look&of&Yanworth&and&he’d& be&my&other&fancy&in&this&race.&He’s&got&such&ability&it&can&be&frustrating& watching&him&run&but&3m&over&hurdles&is&what&he&wants&and&he’s&one&I&will&be& monitoring&closely&in&the&build&up&to&the&Cheltenham&Festival.&Supasundae& probably&deserves&to&be&favourite&for&this&race&but&I&couldn’t&be&a&backer&at&his& current&price.& & Selection:&BACARDYS$(12/1)' Alternative:'YANWORTH'(11/2)' ' ' & &&

$


$ Brown$Advisory$Handicap$Chase$(Grade'3)' Winner:'£62,645' Distance:'2m4f$166y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Road$To$Respect$

$ BALLYALTON$ Ian&Williams& John&Westwood& Ballyalton&seems&to&save& his&best&efforts&for& Cheltenham&and&he’s&now& 2lb&below&his&winning& mark&when&he&landed&the& Close&Brothers&Novices’& Chase&at&this&meeting&in& 2016.&He’s&ran&some&nice& races&off&higher&marks&this& season&on&ground&far& softer&than&ideal&and&could& potentially&bounce&back&to& form&here&after&his&below& par&effort&at&Kempton&last& time.&He’s&a&10AyAo&now& but&if&the&ground&conditions&came&up&Good&he’d&have&an&excellent&chance.&&&

$ ' BOUVREUIL$ Paul&Nicholls& John&P&McManus& Bouvreuil&has&now&been&placed&at&the&last&three&Cheltenham&Festival’s&and&ran& an&excellent&race&in&this&race&last&season&behind&subsequent&dual&Grade&1& winner&Road&To&Respect.&He’s&still&only&a&7AyAo&and&he&definitely&has&a&big&pot& in&him&at&some&point.&He&comes&into&this&race&on&a&3lb&lower&mark&this&season& and&his&previous&Cheltenham&Festival&exploits&gives&him&an&excellent&chance.! '


$ CASSE$TETE$ Gary&Moore& John&Stone& I&thought&this&horse&looked&pretty&average&when&he&first&came&from&France&but& he’s&steadily&developed&into&a&useful&prospect&for&Gary&Moore&and&probably& just&needed&time&to&acclimatise&to&his&new&surroundings.&&He&won&in&good&style& last&time&at&Warwick&when&outstaying&the&smart&Kylemore&Lough&on&the& ground&and&I&think&a&5lb&rise&for&that&win&is&fair&and&he&seems&to&handle&all& ground&types&well.&!

! '

DIAMOND$KING$ Gordon&Elliott& Mrs&Diana&L&Whateley& Diamond&King&was&a&good&winner&of&the&Coral&Cup&at&this&meeting&in&2016& before&failing&to&live&up&to&market&expectations&in&this&race&last&season.&He& comes&into&this&race&on&a&5lb&lower&mark&this&year&and&I&think&this&has&been&the& target&for&him&all&season.&He’s&a&smart&horse&on&his&day&and&he&needs&close& attention&in&the&betting&with&his&previous&Cheltenham&Festival&form&a&big& factor&to&his&chances.&$

' $ LAST$GOODBYE$ Miss&Elizabeth&Doyle& Last&Goodbye&Syndicate& Last&Goodbye&ran&an&eyeAcatching&race&in&the&Close&Brothers&Novices’& Handicap&Chase&at&last&year’s&Cheltenham&Festival&behind&Tully&East.&I’m&not& sure&if&he’d&have&won&that&day&but&he&did&get&very&badly&hampered&when& mounting&a&strong&challenge.&He&made&good&use&of&a&good&handicap&mark&last& time&to&land&a&competitive&handicap&at&Leopardstown&and&seemed&to&enjoy& the&return&to&softer&ground&conditions.&The&handicapper&has&put&him&up&11lbs& for&that&easy&success,&which&I&feel&is&pretty&harsh&considering&he&had&a&good& 7lb&claimer&on&his&back.&He&meets&Tully&East&on&2lb&better&terms&here&and& you’d&have&to&think&he’d&have&a&good&chance&of&reversing&last&year’s&form&if& the&ground&was&on&the&soft&side.$


$ KING’S$SOCKS$ David&Pipe& Bryan&Drew& King’s&Socks&came&from&France&with&a&good&reputation&and&had&some&serious& form&in&the&book.&He&finished&second&to&Footpad&in&a&Grade&1&on&his&last&start& and&we&all&know&what&he’s&go&onto&do&over&fences&since&then.&I&thought&this& horse&ran&a&nice&race&on&his&return&from&a&long&layAoff&last&time&at&Kempton& when&conceding&4lb&to&some&useful&rivals,&including&JLT&Novices’&Chase&fancy& Modus.&He&should&improve&for&that&run&and&it&was&his&first&run&since& undergoing&windAsurgery,&so&you’d&have&to&think&second&time&up&he’d&be& better.&He’s&on&a&mark&of&140,&which&looks&pretty&fair&on&his&form&in&France& and&he&needs&serious&consideration&from&a&yard&that&does&so&well&in&this& competitive&handicaps&at&the&festival.&&$

$ $ MASTER$DEE$ Fergal&O’Brien& Paul&&&Clare&Rooney& Master&Dee&is&a&very&consistent&performer&that&deservedly&got&his&head&in& front&last&time&in&a&competitive&handicap&chase&at&Kempton&over&3m.&He& travelled&and&jumper&very&well&that&day&before&forging&clear&after&the&last& under&Barry&Geraghty.&I&think&this&sort&of&trip&around&Cheltenham&will&suit&but& his&mark&of&151&doesn’t&leave&him&much&room&for&error&and&he&might&just& bump&into&a&few&betterAhandicapped&rivals.&$ $ $

PATRICKS$PARK$ W&P&Mullins& Bowes&Lodge&Stables& Patricks&Park&got&off&the&mark&on&his&second&start&for&Willie&Mullins&when& landing&a&competitive&handicap&chase&last&month&under&Rachael&Blackmore.& He’s&up&12lb&for&that&victory,&which&gives&him&an&outside&chance&of&getting&a& run&here.&He&looks&undoubtedly&still&very&well&handicapped&but&despite& winning&the&Ladbrokes&Trophy&this&season,&Willie&Mullins&has&a&poor&strike&rate& in&handicap&chases&in&the&UK&and&that&will&put&me&off&him&here.$


' ROMAIN$DE$SENAM$ Paul&Nicholls& Chris&Giles&&&Dan&Macdonald& Romain&De&Senam&is&a&decent&horse&and&he&showed&that&when&easily& defeating&subsequent&King&George&VI&Chase&second&Double&Shuffle&at& Chepstow&before&completing&a&quickAfire&double&6&days&later.&I&thought&he&ran& two&decent&races&here&last&twice&on&ground&far&softer&than&ideal&and&should& appreciate&some&better&ground&conditions&here.&He&comes&into&this&race&on&a& mark&of&142,&which&I&feel&is&very&fair&considering&he’s&a&young&and&improving& horse.& ' '

TESTIFY$ Donald&McCain& Trevor&Hemmings& Testify&has&a&few&entries&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&but&I&think&this&looks&the& most&suitable/likely&target&for&him&at&this&stage.&He’s&looked&very&good&over& fences&this&season&for&Donald&McCain&and&landed&a&Grade&2&in&additional& conditions&last&time&at&Haydock.&I&think&soft&ground&is&important&to&this&horse& with&his&only&poor&run&coming&on&Good&ground&but&that&was&a&Grade&1.&If&he& gets&his&ground&here&he&would&have&sound&form&claims.&& &

$ THE$STORYTELLER$ Gordon&Elliott& Mrs&P&Sloan& The&Storyteller&was&fancied&or&the&Martin&Pipe&Handicap&Hurdle&last&season&at& the&festival&before&a&late&setback&ruled&him&out.&He&was&a&smart&hurdler&last& season&and&has&looked&just&as&good&over&the&larger&obstacles&this&season.&He& won&on&his&chase&debut&in&fine&style&with&useful&types&Sutton&Manor&and& Livelovelaugh&in&behind.&He&ran&well&enough&in&a&very&good&Grade&1&last&time& and&I’m&sure&that&race&will&produce&a&few&winners&at&this&year’s&festival.&He& looks&potentially&well&handicapped&off&a&mark&of&147.&

'


' TOMBSTONE$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Tombstone&was&the&handicap&banker&of&the&festival&for&many&but&he&failed&to& live&up&to&the&hype&in&the&Coral&Cup.&He’s&seemed&to&get&his&mojo&back&this& season&over&fences&and&has&ran&some&very&good&races&over&the&larger& obstacles&in&Ireland&this&season.&He&landed&a&Grade&3&at&Navan&in&good&style& before&getting&outstayed&by&stable&companion&Dounikos&in&Heavy&ground&in&a& Grade&2&on&his&next&start.&He&ran&a&nice&enough&race&last&time&in&a&redAhot& Grade&1&and&like&I’ve&said&previously,&that&race&will&produce&plenty&of&future& winners.!

' ' TULLY$EAST$ Alan&Fleming& Barry&Connell$ Tully&East&was&a&very&good&winner&of&the&Close&Brothers&Novices’&Handicap& Chase&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&last&season.&He&had&the&very&smart&Gold& Present&back&in&second&that&day&and&the&overall&form&of&the&race&has&worked& out&well.&There’s&no&doubt&this&race&has&been&the&plan&for&this&race&since&he& crossed&the&line&here&last&year&and&he&looks&tailor&made&for&this&race.&He&seems& to&relish&Cheltenham&and&his&record&at&the&festival&gives&him&a&big&chance&of& going&well&in&this&race&off&an&8lb&higher&mark&to&when&he&won&here&last&season.&& & '

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • •

10/10&–&Won&a&Class&3&or&higher& 10/10&–&Won&between&2m3f&&&2m5f& 9/10&–&Officially&rated&135&to&142& 9/10&–&Carried&no&more&than&11st&0lbs& 9/10&–&Not&won&more&than&once&that&season& 9/10&–&Double&Figure&priced&(10/1&or&more)& 8/10&–&Ran&at&Cheltenham&previously& 6/10&–&Aged&8&to&10&


& &

Verdict& A&very&competitive&handicap&chase&with&plenty&hold&strong&form&claims& leading&into&the&race&and&others&hoping&to&bounce&back&after&a&few&below&bar& efforts.&Willie&Mullins&is&not&known&for&winning&these&handicaps&at&the& Cheltenham&Festival&but&he&looks&to&have&a&strong&chance&with&Patricks&Park,& who&is&on&the&cusp&of&getting&a&run&if&a&few&more&pull&out.&He’s&up&12lb&for&his& recent&winner&but&I&think&that’s&pretty&fair&and&he’s&improving&at&the&perfect& time.&The&Storyteller&has&a&few&options&at&the&festival&and&would&need&serious& respect&if&given&the&green&light&to&run&in&this&race.&Romain&De&Senam&and& Bouvreuil&are&similar&types&that&should&relish&some&better&ground.&They&both& are&potentially&on&decent&marks&at&present&but&I’d&prefer&the&later&at&the& current&prices.&Last&year’s&Coral&Cup&flop&has&looked&smart&over&fences&this& season&and&will&appreciate&a&return&to&handicaps&after&being&highly&tried&in& Ireland&this&season.&Diamond&King&ran&too&badly&to&be&true&in&this&last&season& but&comes&into&this&year’s&renewal&on&a&5lb&lower&mark&and&ran&a&nice&race&on& his&return&over&hurdles&behind&Killultagh&Vic.&He&needs&serious&respect&and&will& undoubtedly&be&tough&to&beat&on&a&going&day.&I&think&Last&Goodbye&and&Tully& East&look&pretty&closely&matched&and&I’d&fancy&Last&Goodbye&to&reverse&last& year’s&festival&form&here.&He&good&very&badly&hampered&when&starting&to& mount&a&strong&challenge&and&is&2lb&better&off&here.&He&goes&on&better&ground& but&any&Soft&in&the&going&description&will&aid&his&cause&here.&I&like&the&look&of& KING’S$SOCKS$here&for&David&Pipe,&who&has&won&three&of&the&last&eight& renewals&of&this&contest.&He&brings&some&solid&form&from&France&to&the&table& and&was&second&behind&Footpad&in&a&Grade&1&on&his&last&outing&over&there.&He& ran&a&nice&race&on&his&return&from&a&long&layAoff&last&time&at&Kempton&and&that& should&put&him&spot&on&for&a&race&of&this&nature&off&a&mark&of&140.&Ballyalton& also&needs&serious&respect&if&ground&conditions&are&suitable.&& & Selection:&KING’S$SOCKS'(12/1)$

$ & '

$ '

$$


Trull$House$Stud$Mares$Novices’$Hurdle$ (Grade'2)$ $

Winner:'£51,225' Distance:'2m$179y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Let’s$Dance$ $

CAP$SOLEIL$ Fergal&O’Brien& Mrs&S&A&Noott& Cap&Soleil&is&a&very&smear&mare&and&she’s&only&tasted&defeat&once&in&her&career& when&second&behind&Dame&Rose&in&a&tactical&affair&at&Newbury&in&December.& She&toughed&it&out&well&last&time&in&very&testing&ground&conditions&to&land&a& Listed&race&at&Haydock.&She’s&been&given&a&break&since&that&victory&and&should& be&suited&to&better&ground&at&the&festival.&

$ COUNTISTER$ Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus& Countister&was&no&match&for&Cap&Soleil&at&Newbury&on&her&stable/seasonal& debut&but&she&clearly&needed&that&outing&and&has&looked&pretty&useful&in&two& starts&since.&She&needs&to&take&a&big&step&forward&to&land&a&serious&blow&here& but&she’s&in&the&right&hands&to&do&so.&I&think&Good&ground&suits&this&mare&well.& &

DAME$ROSE$ Richard&Hobson& Carl&Hichy& Dame&Rose&is&either&pretty&good&or&pretty&poor&in&her&races&and&there’s&never& usually&anything&in&between.&She’s&very&good&when&she’s&able&to&dictate& matters&from&the&front&and&she&showed&that&when&fairly&bolted&up&in&a&Listed& race&at&Newbury&in&December.&She’s&won&on&Heavy&ground&but&she’s&clearly&a& much&better&mare&on&better&ground.&She’s&a&Grade&2&Bumper&winner&and& definitely&has&the&class&to&run&a&good&race&here.&


&

IRISH$ROE& Peter&Atkinson& P&G&Atkinson& Irish&Roe&has&been&improving&rapidly&through&the&ranks&over&the&winter&and& give&Maria’s&Benefit&a&real&fright&when&chasing&her&home&in&a&Grade&2&at& Doncaster&on&her&penultimate&race.&She&failed&to&handle&the&testing&ground& conditions&when&fancied&for&the&Betfair&Hurdle&last&time&and&can&easily&be& forgiven&that&effort.&She&will&appreciate&some&better&ground&and&could&run&a& nice&race&at&a&price.!

$ $ LAURINA$ W&P&Mullins& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited& It’s&been&hard&not&to&be&impressed&with&this&mare&since&she’s&joined&Willie& Mullins&and&she&looked&very&special&when&landing&a&Grade&3&last&time&at& Fairyhouse.&She’s&the&type&of&mare&Willie&Mullins&does&very&well&with&but&she& does&look&a&pretty&short&price&here&but&finding&what&beats&her&will&be&tough.&!

$ $ MARIA’S$BENEFIT$ Stuart&Edmunds& P&D&Wells& Maria’s&Benefit&has&been&a&winning&machine&for&connections&this&year&and& deservedly&landed&a&Grade&2&last&time&at&Doncaster.&She&seems&to&go&on&any& ground&and&seems&to&enjoy&trailblazing&the&field&in&front.&Those&front&running& tactics&won’t&be&easy&here&and&she&looks&pretty&vulnerable&to&me.& ' ' '


$ Verdict$ I’ll&try&and&keep&this&one&short&and&sweet&as&quiet&frankly,&I&think&this&race&is&a& waste&of&time&and&it&shouldn’t&even&exist&but&that’s&a&discussion&for&another& day.&Cap&Soleil&will&appreciate&a&sounder&surface&but&her&hurdling&needs&to& improve&if&she’s&going&to&land&a&real&blow&here.&Dame&Rose&isn’t&the&most& reliable&and&will&get&taken&on&for&the&lead&here.&Countister&is&improving&but& not&fast&enough&to&land&a&blow&for&me.&I’d&rather&die&than&have&a&bet&in&this& but&it’s&hard&to&imagine&LAURINA$not&winning&this&race&and&she&should& continue&Willie&Mullins&domination&of&this&contest&having&won&it&with&Limini& and&Let’s&Dance&previously.&Maria’s&Benefit&is&a&smart&mare&and&probably& chases&home&the&selection&but&she’ll&be&a&sitting&duck&if&continuing&her&‘catch& me&if&you&can’&tactics&here.& Selection:&LAURINA$

$

$ $ ' ''

$


$ Kim$Muir$Handicap$Chase$(Class'2)$ Winner:$£41,972' Distance:'3m2f' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Domesday$Book$ '

BALLYDINE$ Charlie&Longsdon& Alan&Halsall$ Ballydine&strikes&me&as&the&type&that&will&relish&this&C&D&and&I&think&the&return& to&likely&better&ground&conditons&could&see&him&in&a&better&light.&He&was&a& smart&horse&over&hurdles&a&couple&of&seasons&ago&and&he’s&slowly&getting&back& to&his&level&after&a&long&layAoff&now&over&fences.&He&comes&into&this&contest&on& a&mark&of&135,&which&is&borderline&of&getting&a&run&but&if&he&does&creep&in&he’d& need&serious&consideration.& &

$ BIGBADJOHN$ Nigel&TwistonADavies& Nigel&Morris& I&like&this&horse&and&he& finally&got&back&to& winning&ways&on&his&first& start&for&Nigel&TwistonA Davies&since&leaving& Rebecca&Curtis&last&time& at&Kempton.&I’m&not&sure& what&went&wrong&before& then&for&his&previous& stable&but&he&strikes&me& as&the&type&his&new& trainer&will&get&the&best&out&of&and&a&race&of&this&nature&is&well&within&his& compass.&He&ran&no&sort&of&race&when&quietly&fancied&for&the&National&Hunt& Chase&last&season&and&I’m&hopeful&he&can&go&well&here&with&the&3m2f&trip& around&here&looking&perfect.&


&

BRAQUEUR$D’OR$ Paul&Nicholls& Corsellis&&&Seyfried& Braquer&D’Or&has&been&improving&steadily&through&the&ranks&and&I&think&he& could&be&on&a&nice&mark&here.&He&ran&a&blinder&in&the&Ladbrokes&Trophy&at& Newbury&before&running&well&enough&despite&probably&feeling&the&effects&of& that&race&14&days&later&in&a&Grade&2&at&Doncaster.&He’s&been&given&a&break& since&by&Paul&Nicholls&and&should&come&into&this&race&a&fresh&horse.&I&think&he’s& a&very&interesting&runner&here&and&seems&to&be&well&suited&by&bigAfield& handicaps.$

$ '

COASTAL$TIEP$ Paul&Nicholls& Ditcheat&Thoroughbred&Coastal&Tiep& Coastal&Tiep&could&run&well&in&this&race&on&the&pick&of&his&form&this&season.&He& easily&beat&the&useful&Wotzizname&at&Exeter&on&his&chase&debut&before&running& poorly&here&in&testing&ground&conditions.&I&think&decent&ground&is&important&to& this&horse&and&if&he&gets&that&here&he’d&have&a&squeak&at&his&current&price.&My& only&concern&would&be&his&age/experience&for&a&competitive&race&like&this.&

$ $ DOING$FINE$ Neil&Mullholland& Ashley&Carr&&&Andy&Smith& Doing&Fine&won&a&decent&handicap&over&3m4f&here&back&in&April&has&run&some& nice&races&in&defeat&since,&including&over&this&C&D&back&in&October.&I&don’t& think&he&was&suited&by&the&way&the&race&was&run&that&day&and&he’d&have&gone& much&closer&with&a&stronger&pace&to&aim&at.&I&don’t&think&he’s&the&bestA handicapped&race&but&he&has&all&the&right&tools&to&run&well&in&this.&$

' $


$ DUEL$AT$DAWN$ Alex&Hales& The&Duel&At&Dawn&Racing&Partnership& Strong&stayer;&Duel&At&Dawn&has&looked&smart&over&fences&this&season&and& won&in&the&style&of&a&horse&going&places&at&Exeter&in&December&before& bumping&into&two&smart&types&the&last&twice.&He&could&potentially&be&on&a& workable&mark&on&his&best&form&but&he&might&just&bumped&into&a&few&in&this& race.&He&also&holds&an&entry&in&the&National&Hunt&Chase&on&day&one&and&I&think& that&stamina&test&would&suit&him&well.&

$ ' MALL$DINI$ Patrick&G&Kelly& Philip&J&Reynolds&

Mall&Dini&holds&entries&in&both&this&and&the&National&Hunt&Chase&and& connections&have&said&the&later&is&his&preferred&target&currently&but&I’m&sure& ground&conditions&will&dictate&where&he&goes.&He&was&a&good&winner&of&the& Pertemps&Final&at&the&festival&in&2016&before&running&a&nice&race&in&the&Kim& Muir&last&season.&He&comes&into&this&on&the&same&mark&and&should&have& another&good&chance&if&running&here.&!

$ ' '

MISSED$APPROACH$ Warren&Greatrex& Alan&&&Andrew&Turner& Missed&Approach&isn’t&the&most&consistent&horse&in&the&field&but&on&a&going& day&he’d&be&very&tough&to&beat.&He&ran&a&very&good&race&in&the&National&Hunt& Chase&behind&Tiger&Roll&last&season&but&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&form&since.&He& comes&into&this&contest&on&an&attractive&looking&mark&and&a&return&to& Cheltenham&could&spark&a&revival.&$ '


$ PENDRA$ Charlie&Longsdon& John&P&McManus& Pendra&seems&to&go&best&when&fresh&and&he&showed&that&with&an&excellent& second&in&this&race&after&341&days&break&behind&Domesday&Book&in&first&time& blinkers.&This&race&has&undoubtedly&been&the&plan&since&that&race&and&he& comes&into&it&on&the&same&mark&as&he&did&last&year&(145).&He’s&developed&into& a&strong&stayer&and&if&he&turns&up&in&the&same&form&as&last&season&he’ll&have&an& excellent&chance.&$

' $

SQUOUATEUR$ Gordon&Elliott& John&P&McManus& Squouateur&has&been&a&wellAbacked&favourite&for&the&last&two&Cheltenham& Festival’s&but&has&failed&to&deliver&on&both&occasions.&He&was&actually&still&in& with&a&chance&when&unseating&Jamie&Codd&three&out&in&this&last&year&and&you’d& have&to&think&he’d&have&placed&at&least&that&day.&He&ran&a&decent&race&when&a& never&nearer&third&in&the&Paddy&Power&Chase&at&Leopardstown&under&what&can& only&be&described&as&a&‘quiet’&ride&from&Barry&Geraghty.&He&looks&to&have& another&excellent&chance&here&and&needs&serious&respect.&!

' $ SUGAR$BARON$ Nicky&Henderson& Anthony&Speelman& Sugar&Baron&ran&a&nice&race&in&this&race&last&season&and&has&progressed& steadily&since&without&getting&his&head&in&front.&He&ran&a&decent&race&here&in& November&before&finishing&an&agonisingly&close&second&behind&Benbens&at& Sandown.&His&jumping&has&undoubtedly&got&room&for&improvement&and&if&he& can&cut&out&the&jumping&errors&he’s&capable&of&running&a&solid&race.$

$


Key$Trends$ • • • • • •

9/10&–&Ran&over&3m+&last&time&out&(9/10&had&won&over&3m)& 9/10&–&Aged&7&to&9&& 9/10&–&Officially&rated&134&to&142& 8/10&–&No&more&than&11&runs&over&fences& 6/10&–&Top&3&finish&in&either&or&both&last&two&outings& 6/10&–&Won&a&handicap&chase&

'

Verdict$ I’ve&always&been&a&fan&of&Squouateur&and&he&will&win&a&big&handicap&one&day& and&this&could&be&the&one&but&he’s&been&a&frustrating&horse&for&connections& and&his&current&price&looks&a&bit&short&on&what&he’s&achieved&to&date.&He’s& definitely&very&well&handicapped&off&a&mark&of&135&and&I&think&he’s&the&one& they’ve&all&got&to&beat&in&this.&Mall&Dini&participation&in&this&hasn’t&been& decided&yet&and&he&might&be&better&suited&the&National&Hunt&Chase&over&4m.& I’m&sure&ground&conditions&will&dictate&where&Patrick&Kelly’s&charge&will&end& up.&He’s&a&horse&that&needs&serious&respect&if&showing&up&here&but&he&might& need&soft&ground&to&win&this.&Pendra&has&been&a&very&good&horse&for& connections&over&the&years&and&he&probably&deserves&to&get&his&head&in&front& at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&after&a&few&hard&luck&stories&and&near&misses&in&the& past.&He&seems&to&be&at&his&best&when&fresh&and&looks&to&have&a&strong&chance& coming&into&this&race&in&similar&style&to&last&season.&Ballydine&will&get&into&this& towards&the&bottom&of&the&weights&and&is&an&interesting&contender.&He&was&a& very&smart&novice&hurdler&a&few&seasons&before&picking&up&an&injury&that&ruled& him&out&of&action&for&a&while&but&he’s&bounced&back&nicely&over&fences&this& season.&He&looked&when&beating&a&useful&year&stick&last&time&at&Sandown&and& the&extra&2f&here&will&help.&I&don’t&have&a&real&strong&interest&in&this&from&a& betting&point&and&will&look&to&place&a&bet&closer&to&the&race&but&I’ll&take&two& against&the&field&here.&MISSED$APPROACH$ran&a&nice&race&in&the&National& Hunt&Chase&last&season&but&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&form&since.&He&took&a&step& back&in&the&right&direction&last&time&at&Musselburgh&in&a&race&that&wouldn’t& have&been&a&sufficient&stamina&test.&I’m&sure&this&has&been&the&plan&for&a&while& now&and&this&race&could&play&to&his&strengths.&I&also&like&the&Nigel&TwistonA Davies&trained&BIGBADJOHN$here.&There&was&plenty&to&like&about&his&stable& debut&last&time&at&Kempton&and&a&5lb&rise&for&that&success&looks&potentially& lenient&here.&The&Paul&Nicholls&trained&Braqueur&D’Or&is&an&interesting& contender&based&on&his&Ladbrokes&Trophy&fourth.&He’s&been&given&a&break& since&we&last&seen&him&and&he&should&be&ready&to&do&himself&justice&here.& & Selection:&MISSED$APPROACH$(20/1)$&$BIGBADJOHN$(25/1)&


&

JCB$Triumph$Hurdle$(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£71,188' Distance:$2m$179y' Last'Year’s'Winner:'Defi$Du$Seuil$

$ APPLE'S$SHAKIRA$****' Nicky&Henderson& John&P&McManus& Apple’s&Shakira&has&looked&very&good&in&three&outings&since&joining&Nicky& Henderson&from&Emmanuel&Clayeux&stable&in&France&and&sets&a&good&standard& here.&She’s& obviously&a&sister&to& highAclass&hurdler& Apple’s&Jade&but&has& made&a&name&for& herself&in&her&own& right&this&season.& She&seems&to&stay& very&well&and&has& valuable&C&D& experience,&which& as&we&all&know,&can&be&vital&at&Cheltenham.&She’s&a&very&classy&filly&with&a&big& future&ahead&of&her&but&this&looks&an&above&average&renewal&of&the&Triumph& Hurdle&and&it’ll&take&some&winning.&

' FARCLAS$$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud&& Farclas&has&ran&two&very&promising&races&in&Grade&1&contests&since&joining& Gordon&Elliott&from&France&and&leaves&the&impression&there’s&plenty&more&to& come.&He&finished&behind&Mr&Adjudicator&last&time&at&Leopardstown&but&I& don’t&think&this&horse&was&suited&to&the&way&the&race&was&run&that&day&and& should&prove&better&when&having&a&strong&pace&to&aim&at.&He’s&held&in&high& regard&by&his&connections&and&I&think&he’s&got&a&big&chance&in&a&race&of&this& nature.&&


&

MR$ADJUDICATOR$$ W&P&Mullins& David&Bobbett& Mr&Adjudicator&built&on&his&very&promising&hurdling&debut&to&land&a&Grade&1&at& Leopardstown&on&only&his&second&outing&over&timber.&It&was&pretty&hard&not&to& be&impressed&with&that&performance&but&I&felt&he&was&best&suited&to&the&way& the&race&was&run&and&seemed&to&relish&the&sprint&finish.&Like&I&said,&that&was& only&his&second&start&and&there’s&undoubtedly&plenty&more&to&come&from&him.$

'

$ REDICEAN$$ Alan&King& Apple&Tree&Stud& Redicean&has&looked&very&good&in&three&starts&for&Alan&King&and&has&improved& with&each&outing.&His&jumping&has&also&improved&with&each&race&and&I&thought& he&looked&more&the&finished&article&when&landing&the&Grade&2&Adonis&at& Kempton&last&time&when&relishing&the&better&ground&conditions.&I&think&this& horse&is&very&good&and&he&looks&to&have&a&massive&chance&in&this&race.&The&only& worry&would&be&Cheltenham,&as&it’s&a&completely&different&track&to&Kempton& but&I&can’t&see&it&being&too&much&of&a&problem.& ' '

SALDIER$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci& Saldier&showed&some&useful&form&on&the&Flat&in&France&before&connections& acquired&the&services&of&this&Soldier&Hollow.&It&was&hard&not&to&be&impressed& with&his&debut&win&over&hurdles&last&month&and&he&firmly&booked&his&ticket&for& this&race.&I’m&not&sure&how&strong&that&race&was&but&he&could&only&beat&what& was&there&and&he&did&so&in&very&good&style.&He&should&improve&for&that&run&and& I’m&sure&he’ll&put&up&a&good&display&but&his&lack&of&experience&might&go&against& him&at&this&stage&of&his&career.&

!


' STORMY$IRELAND$$ W&P&Mullins& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited& Stormy&Ireland&hasn’t&been&seen&since&blowing&away&her&rivals&by&58&lengths& on&her&debut&for&Willie&Mullins.&The&form&of&that&race&wouldn’t&excite&you&but& to&win&any&race&by&that&distance&is&pretty&impressive&and&she&clearly&has&a& serious&amount&of&ability.&Similar&to&the&previously&mentioned&Saldier,&her& experience&might&just&go&against&her&here&but&she&needs&serious&respect.! ' ''

WE$HAVE$A$DREAM$$ Nicky&Henderson& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede& It’s&incredible&that&this&horse&never&won&in&France,&as&he’s&looked&very&smart&in& a&handful&of&outings&since&moving&to&the&UK.&He&looks&a&straightforward&horse& regards&ground&and&is&another&in&the&field&that&keeps&on&improving.&I&was&very& impressed&with&his&win&at&Musselburgh,&as&I&don’t&think&that&C&D&played&to&his& strengths&and&he&showed&an&excellent&attitude&and&ability&to&find&a&way&to&win& against&a&pretty&smart&horse.&I&think&he&can&take&another&good&step&forward& here&and&put&himself&in&the&mixAup.& ' '

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • • • • • '

10/10&–&Ran&within&the&last&50&days& 10/10&–&Won&at&least&50%&of&hurdle&races& 9/10&–&Top&3&finish&last&time&out& 9/10&–&By&a&Group&1Awinning&sire& 9/10&–&Irish/French&bred& 8/10&–&Top&3&in&the&betting& 7/10&–&Ran&2&or&3&times&over&hurdles& 7/10&–&Rated&140&or&higher& 7/10&–&Won&last&time&out& 6/10&–&Ran&on&the&flat&previously&


'

Verdict$ At&the&start&of&the&season&I&thought&this&race&would&be&one&of&the&weakest& renewals&in&years&but&I&couldn’t&have&been&more&wrong&and&I&actually&think&it’s& one&of&the&most&intriguing/competitive&races&over&the&four&days.&Apple’s& Shakira&has&looked&very&good&in&three&wins&this&season&but&I’d&have&liked&her& to&get&into&a&battle&heading&into&the&festival.&She&deserves&at&the&top&of&the& betting&for&this&race&and&gets&7lb&from&the&boys&but&I’m&not&sure&she&should&be& as&short&as&she&is&currently,&so&I’m&happy&to&take&her&on.&Stormy&Ireland&and& Saldier&both&looked&very&good&on&their&respective&debuts&but&with&only&one& run&to&their&name&they&might&just&lack&the&experience&to&win&this&contest.& Willie&Mullins&also&saddles&Grade&1&winner&Mr&Adjudicator&that&looks&a&very& smart&prospect&in&the&making&but&he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&in&this&race.&I&have& been&blown&away&by&REDICEAN&this&season&and&his&win&in&the&Adonis&last& time&was&breathAtaking&and&I&think&that&form&is&by&far&the&best&we’ve&seen& from&any&juvenile&this&season.&Alan&King&does&well&with&his&juveniles&and&I’m& hoping&this&horse&is&another&Katchit,&who&landed&this&race&in&2007.&We&Have&A& Dream&is&another&horse&I&like&and&I&actually&had&an&anteApost&out&on&him&at& 16/1&earlier&in&the&season.&He’s&a&solid&horse&and&he&keeps&improving&and&I& think&he&also&has&a&good&chance&of&grabbing&a&place.&Farclas&has&a&decent& future&ahead&of&him&and&I&can&see&if&running&a&nice&race&here.&He&should&have& learnt&plenty&from&his&latest&outing&and&I&can&see&him&reversing&that&running& with&Mr&Adjudicator.&& & Selection:&REDICEAN$(5/1)' '


'

County$Handicap$Hurdle$ Winner:'£56,950' Distance:'2m$179y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Arctic$Fire$

$ A$HARE$BREATH$ Ben&Pauling& Mrs&S&N&J&Embiricos/Mr&S&N&J&Embiricos& A&Heart&Breath&has&been&a&useful&horse&for&connections&and&he&already&has&a& win&in&a&2m&handicap&at&Cheltenham&on&his&CV&but&he’s&progressed&well&since& that&victory.&He& was&no&match&for& Altior&in&the&Arkle& Chase&last&season& and&I&thought&he& looked&very&good& last&time&at& Sandown& switched&back&to& hurdles&last&time.& He’s&a&horse&that& runs&his&best&races&when&fresh&and&I’m&sure&the&plan&was&to&give&him&a&break& since&that&win.&He&looks&to&have&a&big&chance&here&for&Ben&Pauling.&& &

$ BLEU$ET$ROUGE$ W&P&Mullins& John&P&McManus& Bleu&Et&Rouge&has&entries&in&both&the&Coral&Cup&and&County&Hurdle.&At&this& stage&I&think&connections&will&opt&for&the&Coral&Cup&over&the&longer&trip&but&if& the&grounded&came&up&soft&this&race&could&come&into&play.&I&think&the& handicapper&has&seriously&overreacted&giving&him&an&8lb&hike&in&the&weights& for&finishing&4&lengths&behind&Kalashnikov&in&the&Betfair&Hurdle&in&antirational& conditions&at&Newbury.&His&new&mark&makes&life&tough&and&I&couldn’t&be& backer&here.$


$ CALL$ME$LORD$ Nicky&Henderson& Simon&Munir&&&Isaac&Souede! Call&Me&Lord&bolted&up&on&his&British&debut&last&season&for&Nicky&Henderson& and&he&looked&a&horse&with&a&real&future&that&day.&He&built&on&his&below&par& return&to&win&again&at&Sandown&in&January,&again&looking&a&very&bright& prospect.&He&actually&didn’t&run&too&bad&when&fancied&for&a&Grade&2&last&time& at&Wicanton&but&it&did&end&his&hopes&of&a&tilt&at&the&Champion&Hurdle.&He’s& interesting&in&this&back&in&a&handicap&and&I’m&not&sure&he&has&much&in&hand&of& the&handicapper&at&present.&& & &

DIVIN$BERE$ Paul&Nicholls& Chris&Giles& Divin&Bere&is&very&closely&matched&with&Flying&Tiger&on&their&run&in&the&Fred& Winter&Juvenile&Handicap&Hurdle&last&season&and&will&meet&that&rival&on&4lb& better&terms&here.&He&hasn’t&been&in&the&best&form&this&season&but&he’s&the& type&of&horse&that&could&bounce&back&to&form&returned&to&this&track&on&spring& ground&and&his&handicap&mark&gives&him&every&chance&of&running&a&nice&race& here.$

' $ DUCA$DE$THAIX$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Duca&De&Thaix&built&on&an&eyeAcatching&effort&at&Naas&at&the&start&of&the& season&to&land&a&Grade&3&on&his&next&outing&in&good&style&over&Christmas.&He& wasn’t&in&the&same&form&last&time&under&a&penalty&but&that&has&ensured&is& handicap&rating&hasn’t&changed&and&he&could&potentially&be&thrown&in&here&off& his&current&mark.&He’s&a&horse&that&seems&pretty&versatile&when&it&comes&to& ground&conditions&and&he&needs&consideration&for&top&connections.& &


$ FLYING$TIGER$ Nick&Williams& The&Macaroni&Beach$ Flying&Tiger&was&a&game&winner&of&the&Fred&Winter&Juvenile&Handicap&Hurdle& last&season&but&hasn’t&got&his&head&in&front&since.&&I&thought&he&ran&an&eyeA catching&race&behind&some&superior&rated&rivals&in&the&Grade&2&Kingwell&Hurdle& at&Wicanton&on&ground&conditions&far&softer&than&ideal.&I&think&a&return&to& scene&of&his&big&win&last&season&and&better&ground&will&see&this&horse&in&a& better&light&and&he&looks&potentially&well&treated.& &

' HUNTERS$CALL$ Olly&Murphy& Holloway,&Clarke,&Black& Hunter’s&Call&has&been&all&the&rage&for&this&race&from&an&anteApost&perspective& and&he&represents&a&trainer&looking&for&a&Cheltenham&Festival&success&in&his& first&season&training.&This&horse&was&a&very&impressive&winner&of&a&competitive& Grade&3&handicap&hurdle&at&Ascot&when&we&last&seen&him&and&the&form&of&that& contest&has&worked&out&very&well.&He&was&undoubtedly&very&well&handicapped& going&into&that&race&and&I&think&a&9lb&rise&is&very&fair.&I&think&he&has&a&big&chance& in&this&for&Olly&Murphy.$

' $ IVANOVICH$GORBATOV$ Joseph&Patrick&O’Brien& John&P&McManus& Ivanovich&Gorbatov&was&a&very&good&winner&of&the&Triumph&Hurdle&in&2016& and&it’s&unbelievable&that&he&hasn’t&got&his&head&in&front&since.&He&did&run&a& nice&race&in&this&last&season&off&a&5lb&higher&mark&and&decent&ground& conditions&is&clearly&very&important&to&this&son&of&Montjeu.&Like&I&said,&he’s&off& a&5lb&lower&mark&this&season,&which&is&very&fair&considering&he’s&been&running& on&ground&conditions&simply&too&soft&for&him.&I&can&see&him&running&a&big&race& here.!


$

JENKINS$ Nicky&Henderson& Pump&&&Plant&Services&Ltd& Jenkins&looked&to&be&going&the&right&way&with&two&good&wins&in&the&space&of& seven&days&before&putting&in&an&effort&to&badly&to&be&true&last&time&in&the& Betfair&Hurdle.&I&can&easily&out&a&line&through&that&form&that&run,&it&would&have& been&his&third&race&in&four&weeks&and&the&ground&that&day&was&horrific.&His& mark&is&high&enough&but&you’d&be&a&fool&to&rule&out&more&improvement&from& him.&I&think&this&horse&might&be&better&suited&to&the&Coral&Cup&over&the&longer& trip&on&day&two&of&the&Cheltenham&Festival.$

$ $ $

MAX$DYNAMITE$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci& Max&Dynamite&has&been&anteApost&favourite&for&this&race&since&the&markets& formed&and&he’s&a&horse&that&turned&into&a&113Arated&flat&performer&since&we& last&seen&him&over&hurdles.&He&come’s&into&this&race&on&a&mark&of&141,&which&is& very&appealing&based&on&his&flat&exploits.&He’s&a&very&interesting&contender&but& he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&here&but&I&can&see&what&all&the&fuss&is&about.& &

$ WHATSWRONGWITHYOU$ Nicky&Henderson& 5&Hertford&Street&Racing&Club& Whatswrongwithyou&has&been&progressing&nicely&over&hurdles&this&season&and& has&won&his&last&two&outings&in&the&style&of&a&horse&going&places.&He&won&well& at&Kempton&on&his&penultimate&start&with&his&very&useful&stable&companion&Ok& Corral&back&in&second.&He&won&very&easily&last&time&at&Newbury&on&ground& conditions&probably&far&softer&than&ideal&and&he’s&already&shown&he&handles& better&ground&well.&This&horse&holds&and&entry&in&the&Imperial&Cup&at&Sandown& before&the&festival&and&we&all&know&there’s&a&bonus&if&you&win&that&race&and&go& onto&land&any&race&at&the&festival&and&I’m&sure&that&will&be&on&connections& agenda&if&he&wins&there.&


$ Key$Trends$ • • • • •

9/10&–&Officially&rated&between&132&&&139! 8/10&–&No&previous&Cheltenham&Festival&form! 8/10&–&Carried&no&more&than&11st&1lb! 8/10&–&Ran&no&more&than&12&times&over&hurdles! 7/10&–&Aged&5&or&6!

! Verdict! Max&Dynamite&has&been&the&longAterm&anteApost&favourite&for&this&race&and&if& he&can&translate&his&flat&performances&over&hurdles&he’d&have&a&serious&chance& of&landing&this&prize.&I&think&he’s&a&little&short&in&the&betting&for&a&horse&that& hasn’t&been&seen&over&hurdles&in&a&while&and&he&didn’t&exactly&look&thrown&in& that&day.&It’s&easy&to&see&why&so&many&have&latched&onto&him&for&this&race&but& there’s&plenty&of&others&better&priced&in&the&field&to&take&him&on&here.&Hunters& Call&was&very&good&when&landing&a&decent&pot&at&Ascot&last&time&and&it’s&no& surprise&to&see&he’s&been&heavily&backed&for&this&race&in&recent&weeks.&Olly& Murphy&has&had&a&fantastic&debut&season&already&and&a&Cheltenham&Festival& winner&really&would&put&the&cherry&on&top.&I&think&he&has&an&excellent&chance& here&off&a&nice&racing&weight.&A&Hare&Breath&isn’t&getting&any&younger&but&he’s& been&a&very&good&horse&for&Ben&Pauling&in&recent&seasons&and&it&was&good&to& see&him&get&his&head&back&in&front&last&time.&That&form&gives&him&every&chance& here&and&he&shows&his&best&form&when&fresh.&I&think&Flying&Tiger&and&Divin& Bere&look&very&closely&matched&on&form&and&the&later&is&4lb&better&off& compared&to&their&running&at&this&meeting&last&season.&I’m&going&to&side&with& former&Triumph&Hurdle&winner&IVANOVICH$GORBATOV&here&and&I&think& he&looks&very&well&treated&on&his&best&form.&It’s&no&secret&but&I&think&spring& ground&is&important&to&him&and&if&he&gets&that&here&it’s&hard&not&to&see&him& bang&there&at&the&business&end.&I&think&Duca&De&Thaix&looks&well&handicapped& based&on&his&Limerick&victory&earlier&in&the&season&and&could&run&a&nice&race& for&Gordon&Elliott.& & Selection:&IVANOVICH$GORBATOV$(20/1)' ' '


&

Albert$Bartlett$Novices’$Hurdle$(Grade'1)' Winner:'£71,118' Distance:'2m7f$213y$ Last'Year’s'Winner:'Penhill$

$ BALLYWARD$ W&P&Mullins& Andrea&&&Graham&Wylie& Ballyward&won&a&Bumper&at&Leopardstown&over&2m4f&last&year&before& suffering&a&few&minor&setbacks&that&ruled&him&out&of&the&Champion&Bumper.& He&built&on&his&promising&debut&over&hurdles&in&December&before&staying&on& well&to&win&a&Naas&the&following&month.&This&horse&only&has&a&Maiden&Hurdle& win&to&his&name&and&life&will&be&tough&here&but&he’s&a&likeable&horse&that&will& make&a&very&smart&staying&chaser.&

& & CHEF$DES$OBEAUX$ Nicky&Henderson& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited& I’ve&been&very&impressed&with&this&horse&this&season&and&he&looked&a&very& good&horse&in&the&making.&He&was&no&match&for&Santini&on&his&hurdling&debut& at&Newbury&but&has&done&nothing&but&improve&since&that&race.&He&thrashed& some&useful&rivals&last&time&at&Haydock&in&a&Grade&2&and&that&puts&his&name& firmly&in&the&mix&for&this&contest.&

$ $ $ $ $ $


$ CHRIS’S$DREAM$ Henry&De&Bromhead& Robcour& Chris’s&Dream&made&a&very&impressive&stable&debut&for&Henry&De&Bromhead& last&time&at&Clonmel&when&winning&by&64&lengths.&That&was&probably&one&of& the&weakest&Grade&3&races&you’re&likely&to&see&but&I&think&any&horse&that&can& win&by&that&distance&has&a&fair&engine.&He&seemed&to&relish&the&step&up&in&trip& that&day&and&is&clearly&still&improving.&Chris’s&Dream&is&very&much&the&unknown& quantity&in&this&field&and&needs&monitoring&closely.& & &

DUC$DES$GENIEVRES$ W&P&Mullins& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited$ Duc&Des&Genievres&looks&a&very&smart&horse&in&the&making&but&is&actually&a& pretty&difficult&horse&to&write&about&and&one&that&unless&you’re&in&the&know,&I& wouldn’t&advise&anyone&to&back&for&any&race&until&we&know&where&he’s&going.& He&has&six&festival&entries&to&his&name&(which&is&shocking&but&that’s&a& discussion&for&another&time!)&and&he&looks&a&horse&to&keep&a&good&eye&on.&He& was&no&match&for&Samcro&and&Next&Destination&on&both&his&runs&this&season& for&Willie&Mullins&but&is&a&very&interesting&runner&wherever&that&maybe.&

$ &

MR$WHIPPED$ Nicky&Henderson& Grech&&&Parkin& Mr&Whipped&had&looked&a&very&smart&horse&in&the&making&and&won&his&first& three&starts&over&hurdles,&including&a&Grade&2&at&Warwick.&He&failed&to&live&up& to&market&expecatations&last&time&under&a&penalty&at&Musselburgh&but&I&don’t& think&that&was&his&track&and&he’s&a&much&better&horse&than&he&showed&that& day.&I&think&this&C&D&will&suit&him&much&better&and&he&could&be&the&dark&horse& in&the&field.$ '

'


$ NEXT$DESTINATION$ W&P&Mullins& Malcolm&C&Denmark& I&like&this&horse&and&I&think&he’s&tailor&made&for&this&race.&He’s&looked&very& good&in&three&outings&over&hurdles&this&season&including&a&Grade&1&win&at&Naas& despite&probably&not&being&at&his&best.&Next&Destination&holds&entries&in&this& and&the&Ballymore&Novices’&Hurdle&and&connections&had&been&favouring&the& later&in&the&buildAup&to&this&race&but&with&anteApost&favourite&Cracking&Smart& missing&the&race,&that&could&prompt&connections&to&avoid&Samcro&and&run&here& but&I’m&sure&ground&conditions&will&dictate&where&he&ends&up.&!

' $ RED$RIVER$ Kim&Bailey& The&Red&River&Syndicate& Red&River&has&looked&a&very&promising&horse&in&the&making&for&Kim&Bailey&and& landed&the&Albert&Bartlett&Scottish&Trial&Novices’&Hurdle&last&time&at& Musselburgh&on&his&first&start&since&undergoing&windAsurgery.&He&had&the& useful&Mr&Whipped&over&2&lengths&back&in&second&that&day&and&I&think&he&could& confirm&that&running&here&with&further&improvement&likely.&& $ $

SANTINI$ Nicky&Henderson& Mr&&&Mrs&R&KelvinAHughes& Santini&has&looked&pretty&smart&in&two&racecourse&appearances&to&date&and& strikes&me&as&the&type&that&will&relish&the&step&up&in&trip&here.&He&easily&beat& Chef&Des&Obeaux&on&his&hurdling&debut&at&Newbury&before&staying&on& powerfully&to&land&a&decent&enough&Grade&2&here&on&his&last&outing.&The& reports&in&recent&weeks&about&this&horse&have&been&very&positive&and&he&looks& to&have&a&leading&chance&for&Nicky&Henderson,&who&seems&to&have&a&very&good& hand&in&this&contest.&&&

!


$

Key$Trends$ • • • • •

10/10&–&Ran&3&or&more&runs&over&hurdles& 10/10&–&Ran&in&a&Class&1&or&2&last&time& 10/10&–&Break&of&more&than&30&days& 9/10&–&Won&over&at&least&2m5f& 8/10&–&Aged&6&or&7&

! Verdict$ Nicky&Henderson&and&Willie&Mullins&seem&to&be&dominating&this&race&looking& at&the&entries&and&it’ll&be&somewhat&of&a&surprise&if&this&doesn’t&go&to&one&of& the&pair.&Duc&Des&Genievres&could&be&the&joker&in&the&pack&here&and&if&he&gets& the&green&light&to&run&in&this&race&he’s&likely&to&be&towards&the&top&of&the& betting.&He’s&run&two&nice&races&for&Willie&Mullins&this&season&and&stayed&on& encouragingly&behind&Next&Destination&on&his&stable&debut&at&Naas.&He& finished&a&decent&second&last&time&behind&Samcro&and&looked&as&if&a&step&up&in& trip&would&suit.&I&think&ground&conditions&on&the&day&will&dictate&where&this& horse&runs.&Mr&Whipped&needs&to&up&his&game&if&he’s&going&to&land&a&real&blow& here&and&might&just&lack&the&class&of&a&few&of&these.&Similar&comments&apply&to& Chris’s&Dream,&who&looked&very&good&on&his&debut&for&Henry&De&Bromhead& last&time.&He&clearly&has&plenty&of&ability&but&this&could&be&a&step&too&far.& Ballyward&is&going&the&right&way&but&he’ll&need&to&improve&dramatically&to&win& this&at&this&point&in&his&career.&He’ll&make&a&very&nice&staying&chaser&one&day& but&he&wouldn’t&be&for&me&in&this.&I’ve&had&NEXT$DESTINATION&in&mind&for& this&since&the&start&of&the&season&and&I’m&praying&Willie&Mullins&runs&him&here& instead&of&the&Ballymore&Novices’&over&the&slightly&shorter&trip&on&day&two&of& the&festival.&He’s&the&type&of&horse&that&you&need&to&win&this&race&and&I&think&a& step&up&to&3m&on&a&sounder&surface&will&end&up&being&his&optimum&conditions.& Santini&and&Chef&Des&Obeaux&are&two&horses&I&respect&greatly&and&if&Next& Destination&doesn’t&show&up&here&they’d&be&my&two&to&pick&from&on&the&day.& Santini&looked&a&very&nice&stayer&in&the&making&last&time&and&will&appreciate& better&ground&at&the&festival.&Chef&Des&Obeaux&looks&a&very&nice&horse&in&the& making&and&if&the&ground&comes&up&on&the&soft&side&he’ll&like&have&a&big&say&on& matters&here.& Selection:&NEXT$DESTINATION$(6/1)' ' & '


''

Timico$Cheltenham$Gold$Cup'(Grade'1)$ Winner:'£355,938' Distance:'3m2f$70y' Last'Year’s'Winner:$Sizing$John$ This&year’s&Gold&Cup&is&far&from&a&vintage&renewal&but&it&does&look&a&very&wideA open&race&with&many&improvers&aiming&to&land&the&Cheltenham&Festival’s&blue& ribbon&event.&It’s&crazy&how&much&changes&in&12Amonths&and&who’d&have& thought&2017&winner&Sizing&John&would&come&into&the&2018&renewal&a&general& 7/1&shot.&He&needs&to&answer&a&few&questions&this&year&and&no&horse&has& landed&backAtoAback&Gold&Cup’s&since&Best&Mate&in&2003.&Might&Bite&bids&to& emulate&recent&Gold&Cup&winners&Denman,&Bobs&Worth&and&Lord&Windermere& by&winning&the&RSA&then&landing&the&Gold&Cup&a&year&later.&His&class&is&not&in& doubt&but&he&will&need&to&show&a&strongly&run&3m2f&suits.&Native&River&had&a& brilliant&season&in&2017&that&included&victory&in&the&Hennessy&and&Welsh& National&before&finishing&a&game&third&in&last&year’s&Gold&Cup.&He&comes&into& this&season’s&race&a&fresh&horse&and&looked&very&good&when&winning&the& Denman&Chase&at&Newbury&on&his&return.&Cotswold&Chase&winner&Definitly& Red&continues&to&impress&and&there&seems&to&be&no&end&to&his&improvement.& Brian&Ellison&has&done&a&fantastic&job&with&him&and&he’s&established&himself&as& a&genuine&contender.&Jessica&Harrington&doesn’t&just&have&last&year’s&winner& Sizing&John&in&the&lineAup,&Our&Duke&is&another&potential&improver&that&looks& made&for&a&race&of&this&nature.&He&impressed&many&with&his&victory&last&time& giving&weight&away&to&a&very&smart&Novice.&& $ $

DEFINITLY$RED$$ Brian&Ellison& Phil&&&Julie&Martin& Definitly&Red&keeps&on&improving&through&the&ranks&and&he’s&established& himself&into&a&serious&Cheltenham&Gold&Cup&contender.&Cloudy&Dream&might& not&be&the&most&resolute&but&he’s&still&a&very&decent&yardstick&and&Definitly& Red&brushed&him&aside&in&the&same&manner&as&leading&fancy&Native&River&did& in&the&Denman&Chase.&Brian&Elloson’s&stable&star&was&awesome&in&the& Cotswold&Chase&last&time&when&beating&American&and&Bristol&De&Mai.&He&left& the&impression&there’s&plenty&more&to&come&and&I&think&he’ll&be&even&better&on& better&ground.&


' EDWULF$' Joseph&Patrick&O’Brien& John&P&McManus& I&was&at&Cheltenham&last&season&when&this&horse&collapsed&in&front&of&the& Grandstand&and&it’s&fair&to&say&it’s&somewhat&of&a&miracle&he’s&still&with&us.&I& genuinely&never&thought&he’d&step&foot&on&a&racecourse&again,&so&you&can& imagine&how&I&felt&and&everyone&that&was&at&Cheltenham&that&day&felt&when& Edwulf&landed&the&Grade&1&Irish&Gold&Cup&at&Leopardstown.&It&really&was&an& incredible&training&performance&and&he’s&a&horse&with&a&lot&of&heart.&He’s& booked&his&ticket&for&the&Gold&Cup&and&I’m&sure&there&won’t&be&a&dry&eye&in&the& house&if&he&managed&to&win.&! ! !

KILLULTAGH$VIC$! W&P&Mullins& Rose&Boyd/&J&B&Anderson&/&M&J&Armstrong& I’ve&never&hidden&my&appreciation&of&this&horse&and&I&strongly&believe&if&he& hadn’t&of&missed&nearly&twoAyears&through&injury&he’d&have&already&won&the& Cheltenham&Gold&Cup.&He&looked&the&most&likely&winner&of&the&Irish&Gold&Cup& last&time&before&falling&at&the&last&fence&when&hitting&the&front.&I’m&sure&that& will&have&left&it’s&mark&on&him&but&he’s&a&very&highAclass&horse&and&it&will&be&no& shock&to&me&if&he&was&to&win&this.&& & &

MIGHT$BITE$& Nicky&Henderson& The&Knot&Again&Partnership& Might&Bite&is&a&very&classy&individual&and&was&a&dramatic&winner&of&the&RSA& Chase&at&the&festival&last&year.&He’s&looked&very&well&in&two&starts&this&season& including&a&game&win&in&the&King&George&VI&Chase&at&Kempton&on&Boxing&Day.& He’s&been&kept&fresh&since&by&Nicky&Henderson,&which&potentially&could&be&a& very&good&move&with&many&of&his&other&rivals&already&tackled&hard&races&this& season.&My&only&worry&with&Might&Bite&would&be&the&distance&but&if&he&stays& there’s&no&doubt&he’ll&be&very&hard&to&beat.& &


' 'NATIVE$RIVER

'

Colin&Tizzard& Brocade&Racing& Native&River&enters&this&year’s&Cheltenham&Gold&Cup&a&fresh&horse,&unlike&last& season&where&he’d&already&encountered&hard&races&in&the&Hennessy&and& Welsh&National&before&running&a&brave&third&in&the&Gold&Cup.&I&thought&he& looked&very&good&when&landing&the&Denman&Chase&on&his&belated&seasonal& debut&last&time&and&I&think&that&was&probably&his&best&performance&to&date.&He& handles&Good&ground&well&enough&but&if&the&ground&came&up&soft&I&think&he’ll& be&very&difficult&to&beat.& & &

OUR$DUKE& Mrs&John&Harrington& Cooper&Family&Syndicate& Our&Duke&was&a&very&good&winner&of&the&Irish&Grand&National&last&season&and& left&the&firm&impression&a&Cheltenham&Gold&Cup&was&made&for&him.&He&was& bitterly&disappointing&on&his&comeback&run&in&the&JNWine.com&Champion& Chase&at&Down&Royal&but&a&subsequent&back&problem&came&to&light&in&the& aftermath&of&that&race,&which&connections&quickly&resolved.&He&got&back&on& track&last&time&when&winning&a&Grade&2&over&a&trip&shorter&than&ideal& conceding&7lb&to&leading&RSA&Chase&fancy&Presenting.&He&will&need&to&jump& better&to&win&a&Gold&Cup&for&me.& & &

ROAD$TO$RESPECT$& Noel&Meade& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Road&To&Respect&was&one&of&the&most&visual&impressive&winners&at&last&year’s& festival&when&he&landed&the&2m5f&handicap&chase&easily&by&six&lengths&and&he’s& gone&from&strength&to&strength&since.&He&was&very&good&when&winning&the& Grade&1&Christmas&Chase&(Lexus)&last&time&and&left&the&impression&there’s& more&to&come.&He’s&an&intriguing&runner&in&this&year’s&Gold&Cup&and&could& surprise&a&few.!


''

SIZING$JOHN$$ Mrs&John&Harrington& Ann&&&Alan&Potts&Limited& Sizing&John&was&awesome&when&he&landed&this&last&season&and&many&thought& he’d&be&a&very&short&price&to&make&it&backAtoAback&wins&in&the&race&this&year.& He&looked&brilliant&when&winning&the&John&Durkan&on&his&comeback&before& putting&in&a&shocker&in&the&Christmas&Chase&when&we&last&seen&him.&He&clearly& wasn’t&100%&that&day&and&I’m&sure&he’ll&be&back&to&his&best&in&this.&& &

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Key$Trends& 16/16&–&Grade&1&winners& 15/15&–&Aged&9&or&younger& 14/15&–&Raced&within&the&last&3&months& 14/15&–&Started&in&the&Top&3&in&the&betting&(Lord&Windermere&the&only& horse&that&didn’t&in&the&last&15&renewals)& • 13/15&–&Top&2&finish&last&time&out&(11/15&won&last&time&out)& • 13/15&–&Rated&166&or&above& • 11/15&–&Had&won&or&finished&second&at&the&Cheltenham&Festival&previously& (13/15&had&run&over&fences&at&Cheltenham)& • • • •


$ Verdict$ Intriguing&renewal&of&the&Timico&Cheltenham&Gold&Cup&with&many&horses& improving&and&some&looking&to&recapture&their&form.&Our&Duke&looks&tailorA made&for&this&race&and&I’m&sure&he’ll&be&popular&amongst&punters&after&his& pleasing&return&to&form&last&time.&He&will&need&to&jump&a&lot&better&for&me&to& win&this&with&and&I’m&sure&others&will&put&his&jumping&under&real&pressure& throughout.&Road&To&Respect&is&improving&and&already&has&a&strong&piece&of& Cheltenham&Festival&form&to&his&name.&Noel&Meade’s&runner&will&need&to& improve&to&land&a&real&blow&but&he&holds&strong&place&claims.&Nicky&Henderson& has&freshened&Might&Bite&up&since&his&win&on&Boxing&Day&but&I’m&not&entirely& convinced&a&stamina&zapping&3m2f&around&here&is&what&he&wants&but&there’s& not&doubt&he&posses&a&lot&of&class.&I’m&a&huge&NATIVE$RIVER&fan&and&I& strongly&believe&he&has&what&it&takes&to&land&this&prestigious&prize.&He&comes& into&this&race&in&good&form&and&should&improve&physically&and&mentally&for&his& comeback&effort.&Any&rain&would&harden&his&claims&here&but&I’m&hopeful&of&a& bold&show&from&the&flashy&chestnut.&The&horse&I&fear&the&most&is&undoubtedly& the&Brian&Ellison&trained&Definitly&Red,&who&seems&to&improving&with&each& outing.&I&thought&he&looked&brilliant&last&time&and&put&down&a&real&marker&for& this&race&in&the&process.&I&can’t&believe&he’s&still&a&general&16/1&shot&and&I’m& sure&if&he&was&trained&by&Nick&Henderson&or&Willie&Mullins&he’d&be&half&that& price&here.&A&back&to&form&Sizing&John&would&be&very&difficult&to&beat&and&a& return&to&better&ground&might&see&him&in&better&light&after&a&shortAbreak.&He’s& entitled&to&plenty&of&respect&here&in&a&bid&to&emulate&Best&Mate&by&becoming&a& backAtoAback&winner&of&the&Cheltenham&Gold&Cup.& & Selection:&NATIVE$RIVER'(6/1)' ' &


&

St.$James’s$Place$Foxhunter$Chase$(Class'2)' Winner:'£26,982' Distance:'3m2f$70y' Last'year’s'winner:$Pacha$Du$Polder$

$ BALNASLOW$ Graham&John&McKeever& Exors&of&the&Lates&Mrs&M&E&Hagan& Balnaslow&finished&fifth&in&this&race&last&season&before&going&onto&land&the& Punchestown&equivalent&a&month&later.&He&seems&to&relish&decent&ground& conditions&and&needs&respect&here.$

$ $ BURNING$AMBITION$ Pierce&Michael&Power& Tynan,&MacLennan,&Shanahan,&Magnier& This&horse&has&been&a&bit&of&a&talking&horse&from&Ireland&and&he&looks&to&have&a& serious&chance&on&form.&He’s&been&dominating&the&pointAtoApoint&scene&of&late& and&bolted&up&on&his&penultimate&outing&before&finishing&a&good&second& behind&Gilgamboa&when&we&last&month.&He&deserves&his&place&at&the&top&of& the&betting&and&looks&the&leading&hope&of&Ireland.$

$ $ CAID$DU$BERLAIS$ Mrs&Rose&Loxton& Donlon,&Doyle,&Macdonald,&C&Barber& Caid&Du&Berlais&won&the&Paddy&Power&Gold&Cup&in&2014&for&Paul&Nicholls&and& has&some&serious&Cheltenham&form&to&his&name.&He’s&recorded&three&wins&in& Open&pointAtoApoints&recently&and&comes&into&this&with&a&realistic&chance&but& he’s&not&a&guaranteed&stayer.$


$ FOXROCK$ Alan&Fleming& Barry&Connell$ Foxrock&was&a&revelation&in&Hunter&Chases&last&season&but&he&wasn’t&able&to& run&in&this&race&as&he’d&earned&too&much&prize&money&the&following&season.&He& ran&a&decent&enough&race&on&his&seasonal/stable&debut&last&time&at&Thurles& behind&Gilgamboa&and&that&should&put&him&spot&on&for&a&tilt&at&this&race.& &

' PACHA$DU$POLDER$ Paul&Nicholls& The&Stewart&Family& Pacha&Du&Polder&was&a&good&winner&of&this&race&last&season&under&than& amateur,&Bryony&Frost.&He&ran&a&nice&enough&race&on&his&return&from&a&321A day&break&and&he&should&be&spot&on&in&a&bid&to&a&make&it&backAtoAback&wins&in& this&race.$

$ $ WONDERFUL$CHARM$ Paul&Nicholls& Rjh&Geffen,&Sir&J&Ritblat,&R&WaleyACohen& Wonderful&Charm&finished&an&agonisingly&close&second&behind&Pacha&Du& Polder&in&this&race&last&season.&He&made&an&encourage&return&to&action&last& month&at&Musselburgh.&He&holds&a&strong&chance&on&form&and&should&put&up& another&bold&display.& & & & & &


&

VIRAK$ Paul&Nicholls& Hills&Of&Ledbury&(Aga)& Virak&has&begun&to&lose&his&way&but&a&switch&to&Hunter&Chases&has&sparked&a& small&revival&from&this&9AyAo.&He&won&well&at&Ludlow&in&January&before& handling&the&Heavy&ground&conditions&best&at&Haydock&last&time.&He’s&another& trained&by&Paul&Nicholls&that&has&a&good&shout.$

'

Key$Trends$ • • • • •

10/10&–&Ran&less&than&3&times&that&season& 9/10&–&Won&over&at&least&3m& 9/10&–&Ran&in&the&last&50&days&& 8/10&–&Top&3&finish&last&time&out& 6/10&–&Aged&7&to&9&

$ Verdict$ The&Foxhunter&Chase&isn’t&a&race&I&usually&have&a&strong&opinion&on&and&I& wouldn’t&be&backing&anything&until&the&day&of&the&race.&Paul&Nicholls&landed& this&race&last&season&with&Pacha&Du&Polder&and&he&has&another&strong&hand& again.&Pacha&Du&Polder&is&back&for&more&and&should&improve&for&his&recent& pipe&opener.&He’s&been&there,&done&it&and&bought&the&tAshirt&and&he&should& use&his&experience&of&the&occasion&to&good&use&here.&Virak&has&been&a&useful& horse&over&the&years&for&connections&and&he&seems&the&type&to&do&well&in&this& sphere&but&my&only&concern&would&be&that&he&looks&best&suited&to&flat&tracks.&& Wonderful&Charm&looks&his&strongest&chance&this&season&and&is&fancied&to&go& one&better&than&he&did&last&season.&He&will&need&very&decent&ground&to&be&at& his&best&here&but&I&think&he’s&the&one&to&beat.&I&personally&like&FOXROCK$ here&and&I&think&he’s&the&type&to&excel&in&this&race.&He&moped&up&these&Hunter& Chases&in&Ireland&last&season&and&that&form&gives&him&a&huge&chance&here&and& he&looks&the&best&value&at&the&current&prices.&Burning&Ambition&has&been&the& talking&horse&for&this&race&for&a&while&and&I&thought&he&ran&a&nice&race&last&time& behind&Gilgamboa&but&this&is&a&different&test&altogether&here.&

$ Selection:$FOXROCK$(8/1)$


Martin$Pipe$Conditional$Jockeys’$ Handicap$Hurdle' Winner:'£43,792' Distance:'2m4f$56y'

Last'Year’s'Winner:'Champagne$Classic$ $ BASTIEN$ Alan&King& The&Sandy&Lodge&Syndicate& Bastien&was&a&good&winner&at&Towcester&at&the&start&of&the&season&before& falling&when&looking&set&for&third&at&Wicanton&in&Heavy&ground&conditions.&I& was&there&at&Newbury&when&he&last&ran&and&I&thought&he&ran&an&eyeAcatching& race&there&and&just&got&tired&over&the&trip&in&testing&ground&conditions.&I&can& see&the&drop&back&in&trip&on&better&suiting&him&and&he&still&looks&on&a&workable& mark.$

$ $ BEN$DUNDEE$ Gordon&Elliott& C&Jones& Ben&Dundee&looks&a&progressive&type&that&should&do&well&in&a&race&of&this& nature.&I&think&this&horse&has&been&crying&out&for&some&better&ground&this& season&and&he&should&improve&further&if&he&gets&there&here.&He&brings&some& nice&form&to&the&table&from&Ireland&here&and&looks&a&key&player.$

$ $ COEUR$DE$LION$ Alan&King& The&Barbury&Lions&2& Coeur&De&Lion&beat&the&useful&Rather&Be&in&a&Novice&Hurdle&last&season&before& going&onto&run&well&in&the&Triumph&Hurdle&at&the&festival.&He&won&well&in&his& prep&run&for&this&race&on&the&flat&recently&and&he&could&be&on&a&workable&mark& here&returned&to&better&ground&conditions.&$


$ DEAL$D’ESTRUVAL$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci$ Deal&D’Estruval&ran&some&nice&races&in&France&before&being&bought&by&Rich& Ricci&and&he’s&looked&a&decent&purchase&at&this&stage.&He&won&well&on&his& stable&debut&at&Tramore&in&January&before&chasing&home&a&seriously&wellA handicapped&horse&trained&by&Charles&Byrnes&last&time&in&a&very&competitive& handicap&at&Leoparstown.&That&form&gives&him&a&big&chance&here&and&he&looks& to&have&a&strong&chance&for&top&connections.&&

$ $ DIESE$DES$BIEFFES$ Nicky&Henderson& Sullivan&Bloodstock&Limited& I&like&this&horse&and&I&thought&he&looked&in&two&novice&hurdles&earlier&in&the& season&before&chasing&home&the&very&smart&If&The&Cap&Fits&at&Kempton&over& 2m&on&Boxing&Day.&He&ran&a&nice&race&in&the&Lanzarote&Hurdle&for&such&an& inexperienced&horse&and&looked&in&need&of&more&of&a&stamina&test.&The&form& of&that&race&has&worked&out&very&well&since&and&he&looks&to&have&a&leading& form&chance&based&on&that&effort.& &

DORTMUND$PARK$ Gordon&Elliott& Gigginstown&House&Stud& Dortmund&Park&represents&last&seasons&winning&connections&and&looks&to&have& a&pretty&similar&profile.&I&thought&he&looked&very&good&when&thrashing&a& decent&horse&at&Thurles&on&his&penultimate&start&before&probably&failing&to&see& out&the&distance&on&the&ground&last&time&in&a&messy&Grade&1&at&Leopardstown.& I&think&he’ll&appreciate&some&better&ground&here&and&could&bee&on&a&workable& mark.$

$ &


$ FLAWLESS$ESCAPE$ Gordon&Elliott& T&O’Driscoll& Firstly,&this&horse&is&going&to&make&a&serious&chaser&next&season&and&he’s&going& to&be&worth&following&throughout&the&campaign.&He&won&a&Maiden&hurdle&at& Leopardstown&in&December&that&produced&a&Grade&1&winner&in&the&shape&of& Tower&Bridge&before&running&a&very&good&race&last&time&behind&Total&Recall& over&3m.&I&thought&he&shaped&as&if&a&drop&back&in&trip&would&suit&that&day&and& he&comes&into&this&race&well&fancied&by&his&connections.&My&only&worry&with& this&horse&would&be&the&ground.&If&the&ground&ends&up&on&the&soft&side&it’ll& take&something&special&to&beat&him&here.&$ & &

LOUGH$DERG$SPIRIT$ Nicky&Henderson& Grech&&&Parkin& I&think&this&horse&has&a&big&prize&in&him&at&some&point&and&he’s&more&than& capable&of&winning&this&race&of&his&current&mark.&I&actually&thought&he&ran&a& nice&race&last&time&in&the&Betfair&Hurdle&considering&he&would&hated&to&ground& and&he&showed&a&decent&attitude&to&plug&on.&He&will&relish&better&ground&and&a& return&to&this&sort&of&distance&will&bring&out&more&improvement.&$ &

$ MELROSE$BOY$ Harry&Fry& Paul&&&Clare&Rooney& Melrose&Boy&fairly&bolted&up&on&his&seasonal&reappearance&over&this&C&D& under&Kieran&Edgar&and&has&ran&well&in&a&few&starts&since,&including&when& second&in&a&Grade&3&Handicap&Hurdle&behind&Topofthegame&last&time.&He’s& only&up&2lb&for&that&success,&which&I&feel&is&very&lenient&and&I&think&the&drop& back&to&2m5f&here&will&help&his&cause.&$

$ &


&

RED$INDIAN$ Ben&Pauling& Preston&Lodge&Stud& I’ve&always&been&a&fan&of&this&horse&and&I&think&he’s&more&than&capable&of& going&well&in&a&race&like&this.&He&gave&9lb&to&subsequent&147&rated&Golden& Birthday&in&a&handicap&hurdle&last&May&and&a&return&to&that&sort&of&level&would& see&him&run&a&big&race&here&for&Ben&Pauling.&Red&Indian&ran&a&decent&race&in& third&over&this&C&D&is&ground&softer&than&ideal&earlier&in&the&season&before& finishing&an&excellent&third&in&the&Lanzarote&Hurdle&at&Kempton.&I&think&a& return&to&better&ground&over&this&distance&will&bring&out&further&improvement& in&this&horse&and&it&will&be&no&surprise&to&see&him&go&close&here.$

&

$ Key$Trends$ • • • • • &

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

8/8&–&Officially&rated&133A143& 8/8&–&Aged&5&or&6& 7/8&–&Top&3&finish&in&at&least&one&of&last&two&starts& 7/8&–&No&more&than&8&hurdle&runs& 6/8&–&Had&won&that&season&


$ Verdict$ I&think&Flawless&Escape&is&a&very&smart&horse&in&the&making&and&he&looks&the& one&to&beat&here&off&his&current&mark&for&last&years&winning&trainer.&He&ran&an& excellent&race&last&time&behind&a&very&well&handicapped&Total&Recall&and& shaped&as&if&a&drop&in&trip&would&suit.&If&there’s&any&rain&about&he’ll&take&some& beating&here.&Gordon&Elliott&also&has&Ben&Dundee&and&Dortmund&Park&entered& here&and&both&look&to&have&good&chances&on&their&best&form&this&season&and& need&plenty&of&respect.&Lough&Derg&Spirit&is&a&horse&I&like&a&lot&and&he’s& undoubtedly&got&races&in&him&off&his&current&mark.&He&will&appreciate&a& sounder&surface&here&with&the&step&up&in&trip&also&suiting.&Melrose&Boy&was& very&good&here&in&November&and&still&could&be&well&treated&off&his&current& mark.&He&ran&a&nice&race&last&time&behind&two&wellAhandicapped&horses&and&I& think&the&drop&back&in&trip&here&looks&a&good&move.&I’m&going&to&stick&with&the& Lanzarote&Hurdle&form&here&and&I’m&taking&two&against&the&field.&DIESE$DES$ BIEFFES&ran&a&very&good&race&that&day&for&a&horse&with&minimal&experience& and&he&can&only&improve&further.&He&should&enjoy&this&stiffer&stamina&test&and& could&be&very&well&handicapped&off&his&current&mark.&The&other&I&like&is&the&Ben& Pauling&trained&RED$INDIAN,&who&finished&third&behind&William&Henry&at& Kempton&and&shapes&as&if&better&ground&over&this&distance&will&be&the&winning& combination&and&at&his&current&price&he&could&be&a&decent&eachAway&bet.& Bastien&would&be&my&pick&of&the&Alan&King&trained&runners&here&and&he’s& another&in&the&field&that&will&appreciate&the&return&to&better&ground&here.&& & Selection:&DIESE$DES$BIEFFES&(14/1)&&&RED$INDIAN&(33/1)& & & & & & & & '' '


$ Grand$Annual$Handicap$Chase$' Winner:'£62,645$ Distance:$2m$62y' Last'Year’s'Winner:'Rock$The$World$

' AMERICAN$TOM$ W&P&Mullins& Mrs&S&Ricci$ American&Tom&is&still&totally&unexposed&here&and&there’s&no&doubt&we&haven’t& seen&the&best&of&him&yet.&He’s&been&running&decent&enough&races&in&Grade&3& races&in&Ireland&this&season&but&he&looks&the&type&that&could&improve&further&in& a&race&of&this&nature&on&better&ground&here.&He’s&had&his&issues&in&the&past&and& if&he’s&over&them&we&could&see&a&career&best&from&this&horse&at&the&festival.&& &

' CHARBEL$ Kim&Bailey& Mrs&Julie&Martin&And&David&R&Martin& Charbel&is&a&smart&horse&on&his&day&and&he&was&in&the&process&of&running&a& career&best&when&falling&in&the&Arkle&Chase&last&season&and&looked&to&be&giving& Altiot&something&to&think&about&but&he&hasn’t&looked&the&same&horse&in&three& racecourse&appearances&since&that&fall.&A&return&to&that&sort&of&form&would&see& him&go&close&here&but&he&comes&with&risks&attached.& & & & &

$ & &


$ DIEGO$DU$CHARMIL$ Paul&Nicholls& Mrs&Johnny&de&la&Hey& Diego&Du&Charmil&has&already&tasted&Cheltenham&Festival&success&in&his&career& when&lifting&the&Fred&Winter&Juvenile&Handicap&Hurdle&here&in&2016&for&Paul& Nicholls&and&Sam&TwistonADavies.&He&won&well&on&his&chase&debut&earlier&in& the&season&before&tasting&defeat&the&last&twice.&He&was&no&match&for&the& brilliant&Saint&Calvados&last&time&at&Warwick&but&he&did&pull&nicely&clear&of&the& rest&of&the&field&on&ground&softer&than&ideal.&He’s&still&only&a&novice&over&fences& but&he&does&have&valuable&festival&experience&on&his&side.& & &

DANDRIDGE$ A&L&T&Moore& R&A&Bartlett& Dandridge&has&run&well&in&this&race&at&the&last&two&Cheltenham&Festival’s&and&I& can&see&any&reason&why&he&shouldn’t&go&close&again&this&year.&He&looks&to&have& laid&out&for&this&race&by&his&connections&with&a&few&belowApar&efforts&this& season&and&will&come&into&this&year’s&on&a&6lb&lower&mark&compared&to&last& season.&I&think&he&has&an&excellent&chance&here&and&it’s&hard&to&see&him&out&of& the&places.& & &

DON’T$TOUCH$IT$ Mrs&John&Harrington& John&P&McManus& Don’t&Touch&It&is&a&very&smart&chaser&on&his&day&but&he’s&been&badly&out&of& sorts&in&a&handful&of&runs&this&season.&I&think&the&ground&has&a&big&part&to&play& in&that&and&he’s&clearly&a&much&better&horse&on&better&ground&and&if&he&gets& that&here&I&think&we’ll&see&a&totally&different&horse.&He&represents&last&years& winning&trainer&here&and&I&can&see&him&running&a&career&best.& & &


$ NORTH$HILL$HARVEY$ Dan&Skelton& Mrs&G&Widdowson&&&Mrs&R&KelvinAHughes$ North&Hill&Harvey&is&only&a&novice&but&he&has&plenty&of&experience&over&hurdles& to&his&name.&He&beat&Arkle&Chase&contender&Sceau&Royal&here&in&October& before&running&away&with&a&C&D&Grade&2&a&month&later&in&soft&ground.&He& hasn’t&been&in&the&same&from&in&two&starts&since&but&he’s&more&than&capable& of&bouncing&back&and&he’s&a&horse&that&handles&any&ground.&I&don’t&think&he’s& particularly&well&handicapped&off&150&but&he’s&likely&to&run&his&race&here.& & &

ORDINARY$WORLD$ Henry&De&Bromhead& C&Jones& Ordinary&World&has&been&highly&tried&over&fences&in&the&past&but&has&come&up& short&on&each&occasion.&He&was&tailed&off&behind&Min&when&we&last&seen&him& at&Leopardstown&and&has&been&giving&a&rating&of&157&by&the&British& handicapper,&which&I&feel&is&pretty&shocking&based&on&what&he’s&achieved.&That& mark&makes&him&top&weight&here&and&he&could&be&the&worst&handicapped& horse&amongst&the&entries.&&

$ &

ROCK$THE$WORLD$ Mrs&John&Harrington& John&P&McManus& Rock&The&World&was&a&good&winner&of&this&contest&last&season&for&Jessica& Harrington&and&Robbie&Power&but&he&hasn’t&been&in&the&same&form&in&a& handful&of&runs&since.&He’s&slowly&come&down&to&a&more&workable&mark&now& and&should&be&suited&by&a&return&to&this&C&D.&He’s&6lb&higher&than&last&season& but&as&we&all&know,&festival&form&can&be&crucial&and&he’s&one&that&could& bounce&back&in&this&contest.&$ &


&

THEINVAL$ Nicky&Henderson& Mr&&&Mrs&Sandy&Orr& This&race&would&have&been&the&plan&for&this&horse&as&soon&after&he&finished&a& decent&third&in&this&race&last&season&behind&Rock&The&World.&He’s&slowly& dropped&down&the&weights&after&finishing&second&in&a&Grade&2&at&Ayr&last&April& and&now&comes&into&this&race&on&the&same&mark&as&he&did&last&year.&He&should& appreciate&a&return&to&better&ground&and&if&he&gets&that&here&he’ll&put&in& anther&bold&show.&&

$ &

VANITEUX$ David&Pipe& Alexander,&Drew,&Tracey& Vaniteux&has&been&a&bit&of&a&‘nearly’&horse&over&the&year’s&and&I&think&we’d&all& hoped&he’d&be&a&bit&better&than&he&actually&is.&He&hasn’t&done&much&in&a& handful&of&outings&since&joining&David&Pipe&but&the&return&to&better&ground& around&Cheltenham&could&see&him&in&a&better&light&but&he&wouldn’t&be&my&cup& of&tea&at&the&current&prices&here.$

$

Key$Trends$ • • • • • • •

! ! !

10/10&–&Distance&winner0tfxd∂fs& 9/10&–&No&more&than&12&runs&over&fences& Aged&9&or&younger& 8/10&–&Top&3&finish&in&at&least&one&of&last&two&starts& 8/10&–&Carried&no&more&than&11st&0lb& 8/10&–&Officially&rated&129&to&143& 7/10&–&Had&run&at&previous&Cheltenham&Festival&


! Verdict! I&think&this&looks&another&difficult&handicap&to&work&out&and&you&can&make& claims&for&plenty.&Don’t&Touch&It&could&be&on&a&workable&mark&if&he&gets&some& decent&ground&here&and&he&has&to&enter&the&reckoning&here.&His&connections& also&have&last&year’s&winner&Rock&The&World,&who&is&only&6lb&higher&than&when& he&won&last&season.&He’s&more&than&capable&of&going&well&again&and&seems&to& come&alive&this&time&of&the&year.&North&Hill&Harvey&doesn’t&exactly&look&thrown& in&off&his&current&mark&but&he&does&have&a&Grade&2&success&over&this&C&D&to& his&name&and&that&entitles&him&to&plenty&of&respect&here.&I&think$THEINVAL& is&a&fascinating&runner&here&and&he&should&be&bang&there&at&the&finish&again& after&his&decent&third&last&season.&He&was&still&a&novice&when&he&ran&in&this&last& season&and&he&now&has&more&experience&on&his&side&and&there’s&no&doubt&this& has&been&the&target&all&season.&He&should&appreciate&some&better&ground&here& and&I&can&see&him&running&a&big&race.&I’ve&backed&DANDRIDGE&for&the&last& two&renewals&of&this&race&and&he’s&more&than&capable&of&going&well&again&off&a& 6lb&lower&mark&to&last&season.&He&will&also&appreciate&some&better&ground&and& I’d&be&hopeful&he&could&make&the&frame.&Vaniteux&wouldn’t&be&for&me&in&this& contest.&He’s&currently&at&the&top&of&the&market&and&I&think&the&two&I& mentioned&are&much&better&value&currently.& & Selection:!THEINVAL$(12/1)$&$DANDRIDGE$(16/1)!

! ' ''

' '

Cheltenham Festival Preview 2018  
Cheltenham Festival Preview 2018  
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