14:50 Cheltenham Wed 14 March 2018
Driven out to take this contest by 1¼L from Long House Hall in 2016, and returns off a similar mark having seemingly not taken to fences. Warmed up for this over hurdles at Punchestown on New Years Eve, but has plenty on off top-weight.
Had a brief, but aborted start to the season over fences so has switched back to hurdles and took the Lanzarote in January by ¾L from Spiritofthegames. Up 6lb but effective here as a novice with form figures of 221 and gets first-time cheekpieces.
Back over hurdles in the Lanzarote at Kempton in January and beaten just under 3L by William Henry. Scored from a 3lb higher mark at Sandown next time in the manner of a strong stayer (2m7f+) so massively respected despite a further 8lb rise.
Raced just the once since finishing last of 16 in the World (Stayers) Hurdle at the 2015 Festival, so fully entitled to build upon his February Gowran Park fourth to Forge Meadow (2m). Handicapper giving him every possible assistance.
Did reasonably well last term on his first full season for this trainer, winning on three occasions, including most readily at Kempton in February 2017 (2m5f good). Not so strong this season, and pulled-up in the Lanzarote Hurdle latest.
2m Grade 2 winning novice at Fairyhouse in April 2017 who lacks experience in handicaps. Made just the sole start this term, and that was when finishing 17th of 28 to Off You Go at Leopardstown last month (2m). Stamina concerns.
Finished approximately 8L fourth to Willoughby Court in the 2017 Neptune Novices Hurdle, and back from a brief spell over fences to finish 4½L third to Jenkins at Ascot in January (2m3f+ soft). Unexposed in handicaps, but mark looks high enough.
French recruit who lines up in preference to the same owner's Meri Devie. His better hurdles efforts imply that he needs a trip, but perhaps twice found wanting for stamina over 3m at Leopardstown, so this shorter trip looks a positive move.
3m Grade 1 winning novice chaser (Kauto Star Chase at Kempton), but he's lost his way over fences and was switched back to hurdles in the Grade 2 Relkeel on New Years Day (fifth). Wind surgery a possible solution, but others preferred.
A talented Northern novice hurdler, who enjoyed his day in the limelight when scoring by 49L in the Premier Hurdle at Kelso in March 2017 (heavy). Has experimented with fencing (3m) with mixed results, and appears a shade vulnerable off this mark.
Globetrotter on the Flat, progressing from high class handicaps to the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (2015 winner). Beaten just 3L in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November 2017 (also runner-up in 2016), and equally adept over timber.
Useful performer when on song but unfortunately not so this term. Has had wind surgery and didn't take to chasing, but the pick of his hurdles efforts, including in the 2016 Fred Winter and a Listed success at Compiegne bring him into the reckoning.
A reasonable horse in bumpers/novice/handicap hurdles, but fair to say his fencing career hasn't gone to plan. Reverted to the smaller obstacles at Ascot last month, but didn't get home after leading over 2m3f+ and conditions will be tougher here.
Very lightly raced handicap debutante who could potentially have plenty to offer this trip. Got to within ½L of the Willie Mullins trained Ballyward in a 2m3f Naas maiden latest (soft to heavy), with that pair 25L clear of the remainder.
Beaten 5L by Tikkanbar in a 2m4f+ Listed contest for novices here on New Year's Day, prior to an exercise gallop at Leicester later in the month. Back handicapping from a mark 10lb higher than when a most unlucky loser at Wincanton in November.
The highlight of his novice campaign came with a 9L thrashing of Benatar at Newbury in March 2017 (2m4f). Raced sparingly this term in handicaps, with conditions today not quite as testing as at Aintree in December when beaten 6L by Black Ivory.
Not won since December 2016 (2m soft), but tough to knock for consistency. Beaten 2¾L by William Henry (Topofthegame fourth) in the Lanzarote in January, and whilst raised 5lb since must have a semblance of an each-way chance at least.
Not won since November 2016, but was beaten less than 3L by Let's Dance in the 2m1f Mares Novices Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Chasing not proved her gig, and back over hurdles behind a pair of useful mares at Doncaster (2m+) latest.
Kept on well to down Battleford by 3½L in a 2m4f hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April 2017, and has experimented unsuccessfully with fences this term. Sits on a potentially fair mark back over hurdles with no concerns stamina wise.
Cost a tidy sum (£260,000), but looked like developing into a high-class mare earlier in her career. Never disgraced, and often unlucky in her three previous visits to this track, but her main target might well be back here in April.
Had various trainers, and has had spells in both France and Ireland. His career never took off for Gordon Elliott, but he was a winner on his second start for this trainer at Southwell last month (3m). Up 6lb and with plenty of improvement to find.
The winning sequence was thwarted by the handicapper at Sandown last month, when a well beaten ninth of 17 to Topofthegame (3m soft). Tough, and assured to handle the conditions, but requires a career best effort today.
Won just once in 12 attempts over hurdles and that was in a 2m2f Fairyhouse mares maiden in January 2017; but make no mistake she's useful enough. Runner up at the 2017 Festival (2m1f mares novice) she appears guaranteed to run her usual solid race.
Sits on a mark which is 12lb higher than when last successful in a lesser contest at Towcester in November (2m5f good), and whilst he's demonstrated he's broadly capable since, others appeal as much more leniently treated rivals.
A solid and thoroughly likeable mare who was successful on no fewer than four occasions last term (around 2m3f). Deservedly had her day in the limelight at Ascot in November (2m5f gd/soft), but faces a mammoth task off a 9lb higher mark.
First Reserve - Scarcely ever finishes outside of the frame, and was a 3L runner up to Coole Cody over C&D in November (soft); with Red Indian 3¾L back in third. Races from a lightweight if managing to sneak a run.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Mrs J HarringtonJ: R M Power|
William Henry (8/1), Max Dynamite (8/1), Topofthegame (9/1), Voix Du Reve (10/1), Mount Mews (12/1), Red Indian (14/1), Le Breuil (14/1), Barra (16/1), Fixe Le Kap (16/1), Burbank (18/1), Bleu Berry (20/1), Springtown Lake (20/1), As You Were (20/1), Royal Vacation (22/1), The Organist (25/1), Mischievious Max (25/1), River Frost (25/1), Project Bluebook (25/1), Stowaway Magic (33/1), C'Est Jersey (33/1), Diamond King (33/1), Dusky Legend (33/1), Abbyssial (33/1), Jeannot De Nonant (40/1), Bastien (50/1), Flemcara (66/1), Graceful Legend (66/1)
- As You Were
- William Henry
- Max Dynamite
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