Cheltenham Festival runners.

Supreme Novice Hurdle

A belting renewal of the Supreme and possibly one for the ages with so many obvious future chasers among the market principles. I don’t think we’ve seen Chantry House out of 3rd gear at this point and he could be a monster in the making. The value has been smashed out of Asterion Forlonge, but I would still have him over Shishkin who I could see travelling well but lacking racecraft at the death.

Bets: Chantry House Win

Arkle Novice Chase

There seems to be no confidence behind the Irish challenge here and I’m delighted with a significant ante-post position on Esprit Du Large – an authoritative Grade 1 winner that seems to have had an ideal preparation. Brewinupastorm is respected having posted two nice introductory wins when his stable were struggling for winners, these are my two against the field.

Bets: Brewin’upastorm Win & Esprit Du Large E/W

Ultima Handicap Chase

Interesting that No Comment comes here rather than to the Kim Muir, he has clearly been laid out for this meeting and I really like the chance of Kildisart, but the ground may be soft enough and the value has gone. The Conditional has a nice racing weight and brings rock-solid course form to the table he must be a solid each-way bet. Quarenta finished with a wet sail over Christmas when his stable wasn’t right and never went a yard at Donny last time, he could be an interesting rag. Favourite Vinndication is held by Kildisart on last season’s JLT form.

Bet: Kildisart E/W

Champion Hurdle

Again the Irish hand looks unusually weak and it could go 4-0 to the home team with stable specialist Nicky Henderson bringing easily the strongest hand to the table. Epatante’s Christmas Hurdle win makes her a deserving favourite and Pentland Hills could easily make it a hat-trick of 2nd this season. I’m not really seeing a bet, but with something to recommend all 4 why not combine the Nicky Henderson quartet into some forecasts and tricasts, would anybody really be surprised to see a clean sweep?

Bet: Pentland Hills Win

Mares Hurdle

Honeysuckle looks a really special mare and the discrepancy in price between her and Benie Des Dieux appears much too vast now, she looks well worth a dabble, much as Apples Jade was to beat the older Vroum Vroum Mag. Roksana might have learnt a bit from tackling the boys earlier this campaign and could easily get involved again.

Bet: Honeysuckle Win

Novice Handicap Chase

Galvin has been my idea of the winner of this since his last run and I am happy with my view but at the prices, Lord Schnitzel makes all sorts of appeal. He posted some good efforts behind high-grade types in the autumn and ran a lot better than the placings suggest when gaining further valuable experience in the Thyestes Chase. He arrives battle-hardened, fairly-handicapped and posted much his best hurdles effort at this time last year. Espoir De Guye has obviously been saved for this and could be the best of the home challenge.

Bet: Galvin Win

National Hunt Chase

I fancied Champagne Classic for this, but in his absence, the favourite Carefully Selected looks ever so hard to beat. Cherry-picked for this at the start of the season by Willie Mullins, he has scared away most meaningful opposition and though his jumping has been novicey you’d expect him to do better in a more competitive company. Newtide looks a big, gangly plodder but I think he is the type who could run on into a place.

Bet: Carefully Selected Win


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