13:30 Cheltenham Tue 12 March 2019
Unbeaten in four starts over hurdles progressing rapidly from race to race; striking 3¾L winner of the Grade 3 Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Ascot (2m, good to soft) last month; regular headgear (hood) not declared - will wear ear plugs instead.
Chosen in preference to stablemate Mister Fisher by today's rider Nico de Boinville; 1-2 over hurdles, beating the Paul Nicholls-trained Danny Kirwan by a ready 4½L on debut in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at Ascot (1m7½f, soft) in December.
Ex-German Flat racer; has flourished over hurdles since winning a 2m4f Kilbeggan maiden (good) in August 2018; beat stablemate Sancta Simona by 10L in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown (2m) in December; closely matched with Klassical Dream.
Lightly-raced but remains a maiden and it's very difficult to envisage that changing in Grade 1 company; no problem with soft ground - beaten just under 2L by Winston C at Sandown (2m) in February; lesser fancied stablemate of Elixir De Nutz.
Vastly experienced on the Flat (7-43); sprung a surprise on hurdles/stable debut at Plumpton (2m, soft) when beating Collooney; has backed that up with a further pair of Plumpton victories since (3-3); now tackling much sterner opposition.
Stablemate of Vision D'honneur; disappointing since a demolition job at Galway (2m, maiden) in October until getting back on track more latterly; authoritative 5L winner (made all) of the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer at Punchestown (good) in January.
Never involved when pulled up in the 2018 Fred Winter; has shown improvement this season (4-7), notching a career best with a game ¾L win in Wincanton's Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle; similar claims to Elixir De Nutz; possibly sharpest on a flat track.
Yet to finish outside of the first two places in five career starts (2-3 over hurdles) but equally hasn't competed on ground softer than good; held (beaten 1¼L) by Elixir De Nutz on C&D form from November; stablemate of Thomas Darby.
Resolute ex-French racer; 2-2 for Willie Mullins (who boasts an excellent record in this race); edged out stablemate Aramon (Vision D'honneur third) when taking the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novices' Hurdle at Leopardstown six-weeks ago; key player.
Only a short-head away from an unblemished record over hurdles (2-3); beat a couple of today's rivals and the subsequent Kelso Premier Hurdle winner Rouge Vif when scoring readily at Kempton (2m, good to soft) on Boxing Day; Grade 2 winner since.
Has plenty of experience over hurdles (2-6) with both wins coming on a sound surface (Market Rasen & Musselburgh); finished a well beaten third in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton (2m, good) latest; masses to find with Angels Breath.
Finished 11th of 23 in the 2018 Champion Bumper; kicked off his hurdling career with a couple of low-key wins at Chepstow (good to soft) and Haydock (heavy); made mistakes when coming up short behind Mister Fisher at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Fontwell bumper winner (2m1½f, good to soft) who was well beaten here in the 2018 Champion Bumper - finished 20th of 23 to Relegate; 0-3 over hurdles and readily brushed aside at short odds in a Plumpton maiden latest; likely to struggle.
Ultra-consistent over hurdles, kicking off the season with a C&D maiden win (beat Elixir De Nutz by 3¼L). However, appears to be held by today's rival Mister Fisher based upon Kempton Boxing Day form; the better fancied stablemate of Itchy Feet.
Cost €350,000; bounced back from a debut Leopardstown hurdles defeat to easily take a big-field Punchestown maiden (2m, good); came up short in Grade 1 company latest when beaten by the Mullins-duo Klassical Dream and Aramon; tongue-tie now applied.
Takes up this engagement in preference to the Triumph Hurdle and receives an 8lb 4yo's allowance; 2-2 over timber for Joseph O'Brien; very much looked the part when storming to victory in the Grade 2 Finesse Hurdle here (New Course) in January.
Last Year's Winner
|T: T R GeorgeJ: N D Fehily|
Fakir D'Oudairies (9/2), Al Dancer (9/2), Klassical Dream (6/1), Angels Breath (6/1), Aramon (8/1), Elixir De Nutz (8/1), Felix Desjy (11/1), Vision D'Honneur (12/1), Mister Fisher (14/1), Grand Sancy (14/1), Itchy Feet (25/1), The Big Bite (25/1), Brandon Castle (25/1), Thomas Darby (28/1), Tokay Dokey (50/1), Beaufort West (66/1), Normal Norman (100/1), The Flying Sofa (125/1)
- Klassical Dream
- Mister Fisher
- Fakir D'Oudairies
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