16:50 Cheltenham Wed 14 March 2018
Untested on these shores but proved versatile in terms of underfoot conditions in France and we know he stays very well (2m2f+ winner). Seeking a hat-trick on his UK/stable debut, but if there is to be a surprise winner he appeals as a likely type.
Trainer saddled the winner in 2013 with Flaxen Flare. Arrives as a horse with plenty of hurdles experience in Ireland (4 from 7) with recent defeats coming at the hands of Espoir D'Allen. Impressive latest in Graded company at Fairyhouse (2m soft).
Trainer saddled the winner of this race in 2012 with Une Artiste. Lost his unbeaten UK hurdles record in the Chatteris Fen at Huntingdon in January (2m soft), but this free racing sort should prove much stronger if electing to settle better.
Trainer saddled the winner in 2010, 2015 and 2016. An impressive scorer on debut at Newcastle in December (2m soft), before a disappointing effort at Doncaster. Much more like it at Musselburgh latest, but no match for the thriving We Have a Dream.
Bidding to provide his trainer with successive victories (Flying Tiger the winner in 2017). Made an impressive debut at Exeter in November when scoring by 25L (2m1f soft), but unable to boss his rivals from the front in stronger races since.
Bidding to provide his trainer with successive victories (Flying Tiger the winner in 2017). Improving with hurdles experience, and sprung a shock at Huntingdon in January (2m soft) when downing both Gumball and the disappointing Style De Garde.
Beaten only once since switched to this stable and that was when a 3½L runner up to Apple's Shakira (Triumph favourite) over C&D in December. Sets a reasonably solid benchmark, and won't be troubled at all by the likelihood of deep ground.
Hails from a stable that is respected with juvenile hurdlers; trainer saddled Countrywide Flame to take the Triumph in 2012. No match for Apple's Shakira in the Finesse over C&D in January, and also seemingly held by Act Of Valour on Newcastle form.
French raider who was off the mark at the third attempt over hurdles at Pau last month (2m1f+ heavy) when beating Slim Risk by 4½L. Has subsequently joined the trainer of that runner-up, and makes his UK/stable debut on ground which should suit.
Flat recruit who started off low-key with fairly straightforward victories at Plumpton (2m soft) and Fontwell (2m1f+ heavy), before tackling the Class 2 Victor Ludorum at Haydock (2m heavy) latest, finishing a respectable 2¾L third to Turning Gold.
A very shrewd purchase from low grade AW handicaps and made hay from much lower marks pre-Christmas, winning at Exeter (2m1f) and Taunton (2m3f). Beaten off a 5lb lower mark at Taunton in early January, but arrives fresh, and won't lack for stamina.
Trainer saddled the winner in 2013 with Flaxen Flare. Made a winning hurdles debut at Punchestown on New Years Eve (2m maiden, soft to heavy), accounting for better fancied stablemate Azua Emery, but hasn't really progressed since and this is tough.
Disappointing on his first two starts for this trainer, including when 8L third to Act Of Valour and Look My Way on hurdles debut at Newcastle (2m soft, December). Better latest when an all the way Wincanton winner but that's not strong enough form.
Moved stables since winning over 2m2f at Fontainebleu in November (very soft), beating Enfant Du Large by a head. Arrives fresh off a break and is tough to quantify in a first-time tongue-tie on handicap debut. Ground should suit.
Lost his unbeaten hurdles record when finishing 54L third to Vision Des Flos in a deep ground Listed contest at Exeter (2m1f), and whilst he's likely far better than that showing, his earlier Catterick and Wetherby victories came in modest contests.
A winner on the Flat for Sir Mark Prescott, he flies the flag for an emerging young trainer. Has just a sole Fakenham (2m soft) hurdles success to his name so far, but is broadly reliable enough overall; albeit in a much lower level of competition.
Northern trained representative who is a two-time Saint-Malo hurdles winner (2m good to soft). Finished 2¼L behind the runner up Act Of Valour, when beaten 6¾L in total by We Have A Dream on his UK debut at Musselburgh last month (2m soft).
Progressed from low grade Flat handicaps (turf), and was a ready 28L winner at Uttoxeter (2m gd/sft) on just his second hurdles start in mid-October. Significant improvement to find in order to down old rival Nube Negra, but not a forlorn hope.
Off the mark at the fourth attempt over hurdles at Haydock last month (2m heavy) when gamely rallying to down Cornerstone Lad by a nose; with Lisp a further 2½L back in third. His official rating is 7lb higher today in a stronger race.
A maiden on the Flat, but 2 from 6 over hurdles so far with his Gowran and Naas victories both coming on heavy ground. However, twice beaten by Mitchouka, and whilst closely matched with a few of these rivals, he shouldn't trouble that horse.
Remains a maiden, twice a runner up, but put in his place in contests which were effectively a match based on the betting (Wincanton and Taunton). Not good enough against the Triumph Hurdle bound Redicean at Kempton latest (fourth). Handicap debut.
Beaten 22L when third to Apple's Shakira on his last visit to Cheltenham in November (2m soft), but back from a three month break to score by an eased 11L on handicap bow at Sandown on Saturday. 5lb penalty to carry.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Nick WilliamsJ: R Johnson|
Nube Negra (15/2), Eragon De Chanay (8/1), Look My Way (8/1), Mitchouka (8/1), Lisp (10/1), Style De Garde (12/1), The King Of May (12/1), Act Of Valour (14/1), Oxford Blu (14/1), Esprit De Somoza (16/1), Grand Sancy (16/1), Turning Gold (20/1), Knight Destroyer (20/1), Mastermind (25/1), Casa Tall (25/1), Mercenaire (25/1), Veneer Of Charm (33/1), Padleyourowncanoe (33/1), Embole (33/1), Brave Dancing (33/1), Solo Saxophone (40/1), Eureu Du Boulay (50/1)
- Nube Negra
- Casa Tall
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