16:50 Cheltenham Tue 12 March 2019
Has won twice already this season and bounced back from two slightly disappointing runs in Graded company with a good second here last time out when stepped up to a similar trip. Up 2lb but jumped well and has solid each-way claims.
Useful over hurdles (sixth in last year's Coral Cup) and made an encouraging start to his chase career on debut for this yard at Ayr. Made a bad error at Kelso (1/5fav) last time when unseating but not one to write off from this opening mark.
Has progressed well over fences since the summer winning five races including a four runner affair at the Showcase Meeting. Career high mark to cope with now and well beaten at Leopardstown last time but interesting that Russell takes the ride.
Listed winner in France over hurdles and he's made a solid start to his chase career, winning a decent beginners' chase at Naas and not beaten far in a Punchestown Grade 3 last time (front two clear). May have been let in lightly by the handicapper.
Two wins from three starts over fences, though three of his four rivals failed to finish when winning by a wide margin at Ludlow last time. Up 7lb and may be capable of further improvement for top yard. Cheekpieces retained.
Won a beginners' chase at Punchestown on second chase start but has failed to finish twice since and tailed off last time out. Has questions to answer at present.
Won a Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown before solid efforts at both this meeting and Aintree Festival last season. Disappointed on first two chase starts but showed plenty more last time; interesting on handicap debut in first-time cheekpieces.
Comes here in fine form having won three of his last four starts but this is plenty tougher than his recent assignments and up 6lb for winning a three-runner race last time; others likely lurking on better handicap marks.
Won a decent looking Grade 3 Handicap at Kempton last time out and looks progressive of late. Drop back in trip could suit and could go well with the yard flying at present; 7lb rise for his latest success is warranted.
Beaten out of site when favourite for a novice chase here at the International Meeting but has won his other two starts over fences and had a bit in hand when winning at Newbury last time. Up 3lb and this plenty tougher.
Justified favouritism at Sandown on chase debut but his jumping has let him down on two subsequent starts and he was well beaten when 11/4fav at Kempton last time. Drops back in trip and others preferred.
14L winner of a nine runner handicap at Naas last time out and rates as the type to carry on improving for this yard. Up 13lb but forecast ground a bigger concern given his recent upturn in form has coincided with a switch to good ground.
Useful hurdler but has struggled to make an impact over fences and has failed to finish on his last three starts. His jumping is sure to be put under plenty of pressure again here and hard to fancy, despite an appealing handicap mark.
Has improved since switching to fences and followed up a respectable effort in a Limerick Grade 1 with a Punchestown success last time. Improvement possible now stepped up in trip but needs to settle better.
Impressive when winning at Newbury earlier this month on his first start since wind surgery. Has a 5lb penalty to carry in a deeper race though and forecast ground seemingly against him here.
Won a 3m1f beginners' chase at Punchestown two starts ago but failed to back that up in a Grade 3 novice event at Naas last time. Drop in trip not certain to suit and handicapper hasn't take any chances with his mark.
Justified favouritism in a novice event at Plumpton but made jumping errors last time when stepped up in class at Kempton. This is tougher again and others rate as more likely winners.
Has run well in some decent staying chases since switched to this yard but still yet to get his head in front in seven starts over fences and it's hard to imagine he's well-handicapped from this mark. Has a bit to prove.
Won on chase debut at Fairyhouse and made it two wins from five starts over fences in a Leopardstown handicap last time. Won't mind some cut in the ground and there could be more to come back up at this trip; interesting player.
Justified favouritism in a novice handicap chase at Huntingdon but well beaten twice since and his best efforts have come on better ground than what he will get here. First-time cheekpieces applied.
Last Year's Winner
|T: M R ChannonJ: B S Hughes|
A Plus Tard (5/1), Tower Bridge (6/1), Riders Onthe Storm (10/1), Springtown Lake (11/1), Shady Operator (12/1), Lough Derg Spirit (12/1), Good Man Pat (12/1), Highway One O One (14/1), Solomn Grundy (14/1), Roaring Bull (16/1), Movewiththetimes (16/1), Red Indian (16/1), Cubomania (16/1), The Russian Doyen (20/1), Quamino (25/1), Walt (25/1), Ben Dundee (33/1), Huntsman Son (33/1), Militarian (50/1), Dell Oro (50/1)
- A Plus Tard
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