1.30 – Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Similarly to the Supreme on Tuesday, this race is as much a guide for the future as anything given the previous point to point form of the principles and the obvious scope of Envoi Allen. He looks to be very tough to beat and I can see him once again finding enough in the finish to repel his dangers. Sporting John is highly regarded and the money for him has been understandable, but this looks all about the jolly with his form franked in the Supreme.
Bet – Envoi Allen Win
2.10 – RSA Insurance Novices Chase
Willie Mullins reported both Allaho and Easy Game as on target for the Marsh Chase during his major Stable Tour prior to Cheltenham; instead, they find themselves declared for the RSA Chase and although Allaho might struggle to reverse hurdles form with Minella Indo I could see Easy Game having a say at a double-figure price. He has been doing all his best work at the death over shorter trips the last twice and has formed a good partnership with his jockey. His poor effort at the meeting 12 months ago came after a contrasting prep and is highly forgivable.
Bet – Easy Game
2.50 – Coral Plus Handicap Hurdle
A fascinating race and a strong hand for JP McManus. The presence of Mark Walsh aboard suggests Top Moon may be higher up the pecking order than the betting would suggest and he may yet reverse earlier form with Alfa Mix. Willie Mullins has a strong hand and you’d expect to see a bit of a plunge for the stable’s first choice (whichever that may be), but Traffic Fluide looks the most tempting bet at a big price having looked likely to claim Grade 1 glory at Ascot last time on his first run back from an absence. If he can get near this level of form over hurdles around here, he could easily have a big say.
Bets – Traffic Fluide, Top Moon
3.30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
So Altior misses D-day and that leaves the race looking a match race in all but name. The wraps are now fully off Chacun Pour Soi and he might be ridden aggressively to make his slick jumping pay dividends, he is still thoroughly unexposed and is highly regarded by a trainer that very seldom gets his affections wrong. Defi De Seuil brings solid festival form in and can strike if Chacun does too much in front.
4.10 – Glenfarclas Chase
Tiger Roll arrived here a year ago on the back of a ready win rather than a tired 5th in the Boyne Hurdle and though he’s obviously training well he faces his toughest opponent over these fences here and I couldn’t back him at the prices. Easysland is the best French cross-country practitioner for about a decade and though his jumping isn’t perfect, he gets the job done and unlike favourite Tiger Roll doesn’t have a much more lucrative target around the corner. I could honestly see Tiger Roll running his best race over these fences and still getting beat.
Bet – Easysland
4.50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
He seems to have slipped beneath the radar here, but I really like the chances of Blacko in this. He has seen off solid yardsticks in winning both races since arriving from France with plenty in hand and seems to have a really good attitude under the strongest pressure. Tronodor is one of the few Irish handicap hurdlers to have been given an over-generous mark and he will be tighter here with headgear apparently producing improvement in his homework. Paul Nicholls has lined up a couple for this and Mick Pastor would have been a live runner in the Triumph Hurdle.
Bets – Blacko & Tronador
5.30 – Weathersby Champion Bumper
The Mullins dogs are barking in unison for the talents of Appreciate It – he certainly brings rock-solid form to the table and deserves his elevated market position. You couldn’t back him at the current prices however and I’d rather take a flyer on Ask A Honey Bee who carried a treble penalty to win easily in a good contest at Wetherby last time. He represents a yard having a huge breakthrough season and brings proven toughness to the table.