Next Race Preview

May 4th

Punchestown (Yielding)

Mares Champion Hurdle (2m4f)
Just five go to post with Willie Mullins saddling three including long odds on favourite Benie Des Dieux (1/4). She was an unlucky loser when falling while in command at the last in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham on her seasonal debut. The eventual winnere Roksana thn ran a blinder to be just touched off in the Stayers at Aintree. Stormy Island and Good Thyne Tara were second and third respectively in the Cheltenham race and if the ground doesn't dry out I can't see them troubling the favourite. With Discretion has won her two starts over hurdles on Soft and Heavy Going. She didn't win in three starts in Points on Good To Yielding so Ground could be a problem while Tintangle has been kept busy since winning her second start of the season and has a lot to find on ratings. Benie Des Dieux is hard to opposes
Selection; Benie Des Dieux
Best Alternative; Stormy Island

Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (2m)
Six go to post for our last Grade 1 of the season and it's a tricky contest. Fusil Raffles won his only start since coming from France, where he won once and was second on his other start, when quickening up impressively from the last to put 9L between himself and the rest in a Grade 2 at Kempton in February and while there doesn't seem to be a lot of depth to the form the performance was impressive. Fakir D'oudairies has been to Cheltenham twice and Aintree once for his last three runs. Having won his Maiden on Soft ground in Cork on his seasonal debut he bolted in by 13L at Cheltenham in a Grade 2. He then finished an 11L fourth behind Klassical Dream in the Supreme before going down by a neck to Pentland Hills at Aintree. French Made won at Clonmel on her first start of the season but was well beaten in the Triumph behind Pentland Hills and then beat Gardens Of Babylon by half a length in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse at Easter. The latter was the impressive winner of a Novice Hurdle at Punchestown this evening. Coko Beach has failed to win in three starts since coming from France. His beat run was at Cheltenham in the Fred Winter when going down by 2L to Band Of Outlaws in receipt of 5LB. Surin won a Bumper at Market Rasen on her only start before being bought by connection for £72,000. She was then beaten half a length by Gardens Of Babylon around here on the inner track before beating the latter a nose on 5LB better terms than there previous meeting and then finishing just over 6L behind the ill fated Sir Erec at Leopardstown. Her four runs have all been on Good Going. Way Back Home has been kept busy but would appear to have a lot to do given he was 19L behind French Made at fairyhouse. I've been flip flopping on this one all day but come down on the side of experience and Fakir D'oudairies
Selection; Fakir D'oudairies
Best Alternative; Surin

May 3rd


Punchestown Champion Hurdle (2m)
Just seven go to post for this Grade 1 and I don't have much confidence about anything in the race. Buveur D'Air has had acouple of setbacks in races this season and having fallen at Cheltenham he went to Aintree where he went down by just over 1L to Supasundae. Having won her first four strats by extended margins this season, Apple's Jade disappointed at Cheltenham. However there appears to have been an excuse for it as her bloods weren't right. She came out again at Aintree but was beaten half a length into third by If The Cap Fits. She's had a long season but the trip back to 2m could suit her style of running if she has got over whatever ailed her. Supasundae won this last year beating Wicklow Brave by over 3L after Melon had fallen three out. After finishing a 15L second behind Espoir D'Allen in the Champion Hurdle, Melon fell in the Aintree race at the third last having taken a keen hold. It's a worry that he has fallen twice in his last five starts. Wicklow Brave fell at Fairyhouse over Easter leading to a memorable comment by Ted Walsh on RTE television. He had a tough race at Cheltenham going down by a short head in the Coral Cup. Prior to that he was beaten just over 2L by Espoir D'Allen at Naas but 39L behind Apple's Jade at Fairyhouse in December. It's hard to fancy Petite Mouchoir on recent form although his run behind Rashaan at Fairyhouse in the Grade 2 Hurdle at Easter showed encouraging signs. Last year's Supreme winner Summerville Boy has had a setback and is best watched. Loots of questions to be answered then but if Apple's Jade is back on form I think condtions will be right up her street and she can resume winning ways.
Selection; Apple's Jade
Best Alternative; Melon

Champion Novice Hurdle (2m4f)
Another tricky contest with twelve going to post and Ballymore winner City Island the clear favourite in Early betting. He's had a nice break since Cheltenham and as he's versatile as to Ground conditions he should put up a good show. Colin Tizzard sends over Reserve Tank who won a corresponding Grade 1 at Aintree beating some decent horses in the process. In the Cheltenham race Brewin'upastorm was almost 6L behind City Island while in Aintree he was just over 3L back in second behind Reserve Tank. Battleoverdoyen was pulled up in the Ballymore where he was never traveling and lost his left fore shoe. Ground may have been a factor as in his previous three starts, which he won, he had Good ground twice and Yielding the other. On the last of those wins he beat Sams Profile by just under 3L at Naas in a Grade 1. The latter ran well for a long way in the Ballymore before a mistake at the second last after which he was soon ridden. Royal Rendeavous hasn't been since since late October when he completed a hat trick of wins, two of them in Bumpers. He had just the four runs over the Summer and it's possible he'll have a summer campaign again. He lacks the experience over hurdles of some pf the others. Tornado Flyer pulled up in the Naas Grade 1 in January having won his maiden hurdle over this course and distance. Dommage Pour Toi beat Zero Ten three parts of a length with Easy Game a neck away third in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse back in April and that form received a boost on Wednesday with Zero Ten winning. As usual Willie Mullins has plenty in the race and Market moves should be noted. However City Island was impressive at Cheltenham and he gets the nod over Reserve Tank.
Selection; City Island
Best Alternative; Reserve Tank

May 2nd

Punchestown (Yielding, Good To Yielding in places Hurdles Course)

Champion Stayers Hurdle(3m)
A tricky race with ten runners going to post. Bapaume wears a tongue tie for the first time and he ran a decent race at Cheltenham in the stayers. He only had two behind him at the top of the hill and had a lot to do and moved up between the last two but his effort petered out in the last 100 yards. He won the 4yo Novice here two years ago on Good To Yielding. Aux Ptits Soins won at Aintree having finished 31L behind Paisley Park at Cheltenham. Bacardys has mixed Hurdling and Chasing without success since winning here in a Grade 1 Novice over 2m4f two years ago. He seems to have lost his way a bit and is best watched. Vision Des Flos returns to the xcene of his Bumper triumph in 2017 after which he was bought €270,000. He's been a disappointment since then although a wind after a Cheltenham run in December seemed to rejuvenate him with three decent runs culminating in a Grade 2 Fontwel win. Beaten a long way at Cheltenham over 2m5f he steps up to 3m for the first time. Not Many Left has improved all season but still has plenty to find on official ratings. Cracking Smart had some useful Novice form last season but was off for over eleven months before reappearing at Leopardstown over Christmas where she was a long way behind Apples Jade and then finished 6L behind Tiger Roll at Navan and then finished 10L behind the winner in the Grade 3 Handicap at Cheltenham. It's hard to fancy Unohatimeanharry on his last three runs. I think if Bapaume is ridden more positively he can win this.
Selection; Bapaume
Best Alternative; Cracking Smart

Ryanair Novice Chase (2m)
Just seven runners declared but a cracking race in store with Duc Des Genievres, the Arkle winner taking on the JLT winner Defi Du Seuil , Maghull winner Ornua, Ryanair Gold Cup winner at Fairyhouse Voix Du Reve, perennial runner up Us And Them and exciting unknown Chacun Pour Soi who won on his Irish debut by 31L. Pick a winner from these if you will. Duc De Genievres has destroyed the fields in his last two races and is obviously is a vastly improved Chaser compared to his hurdling form. Defi Du Seuil is dropping back in trip here in what trainer Philip Hobbs admits is an experiment as to what they do next season. He's not without pace though and is no back  number. Chacun Pour Moi had his first run in three years at Naas in March and romped home by 31L and comes here a fresh horse. Voix De Reve reappears here quickly after his Fairyhouse win but his jumping is always a worry for me. Ornua fell in the Arkle but beat Us And Them by almost 2L at Aintree but stricly on that form those two have a bit to find with Duc De Genievres. Duca De Thaix had a busy and successful time from October to January in six starts but his form in his last three runs seems to have tailed off albeit it was in Graded company. I'm going to take a chance on Chacun Pour Soi.
Selection; Chacun Pour Soi
Best Alternative; Duc Des Genievres

May 1st

Punchestown (Going; Yielding)

Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle (3m)
Thirteen runners go to post and the first three in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham go into battle again. Minella Indo ws the 50/1 surprise winner at Cheltenham with the 4/1 fav Commander In Chief 2L back in second and Allaho a further 7L back in third. On his previous start Minella Indo had failed to give Allaho 3LB and went down by 4L on Good to Yielding. It's possible the softer conditions helped at Cheltenham but it looked a good performance and he travelled strongly in the race. Commander Of Fleet never looked like getting to the winner but it was good performance. His only disappointing run was over an inadequate 2m at Fairythouse in December and he had won his three other starts under rules. Carefully Selected reappeared at Limerick on St. Patrick's Day after being off since this meeting last year when he was third in the Grade 1 Bumper. He had a big blow after that Limerick run and should come on for it. His best form on the track has been with plenty of juice in it athough he won his point on yielding. Defi Bleu is well held on Leopardstown form with Commander In Chief and probably needs a bit more rain. The rest have a lot to find on ratings but as I've said before it's the end of the season and there will probably a few shocks through the week. Allaho might just reverse placings with the others and is the selection.
Selection; Allaho
Best Alternative; Minella Indo

Punchestown Gold Cup (3m120y)
Having suffered interference and fallen at the first in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Kemboy put up an impressive performance when bolting in at Aintree to give him his fifth win from his last six starts. He started of 2018 with a mark of 145 and has now reached 174. That puts him 1LB behind Gold Cup Winner, Al Boum Photo wh was having only his second start of the season having won his reappearance at Tramore on New Years Da and who was very unlucky here last year when involved in that dramatic run out at the last fence. Bellshill was pulled up eary enough in the Gold Cup having made mistakes at three fences (5th, 7th and 8th). Prior to that he had won the Irish Gold Cup at leopardstown by short hed from Road To Respect. He was beaten 9L by Kemboy at Leopardstown at Christmas but that was his seasonal debut havng been off since winning this kast year while the latter had the benefit of a run. Monalee just seems to fall short at this level despte having shown immense promise as a Novice. Definitely Red was brough down at the 1th at Cheltenham and was a late withdrawl at Sandown last Saturday because of the drying ground so will appreciate the rain that has come here. Snow Falcon has a bit to find on ratings while The Storyteller looks held on previous form with Kemboy and Bellshill. In what looks like a really tight affair slight preference is for Al Boum Photo.
Selection; Al Boum Photo
Best Alternative; Kemboy

Champion INH Flat Race for the Conyngham Cup (2m70y)
Just the ten for this Grade 1 Bumper and it is a bit of a puzzle. All ten have won at least once with Cheltenham Festival winner Envoi Allen,  although not a runner here, featuring in a bit of it. Abacadabras wa a 6L fourth in the Festival Bumper. He's still a raw horse and was running a big race at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival when running out through the rail inside the last furlong. Beacon Edge ran on nicely in that Leopardstown race to finish just over three lengths behind Envoi Allen having been held up out the back. He had been bought out of Nick Richards Yard after winning his only other start, at Ayr. Like Abacadabras he's sure to improve. Trainer Phil Kirby sends over December Second from his base in North Yorkshire and it's a quick return having won at Ayr on her racecourse debut eighteen days ago. Embittered is a third runner for Gigginstown and was a 3L third to Envoi Allen in that Dublin Festival Bumper. Prior to that he had won on his racecourse debut around here in December. Fire Away scraped home by three parts of a length at Wexford in March at the third time of asking. The second and third have been well beaten since. Golden Spread has won two of his four Bumper starts and in the last, nine days ago, he beat his highly regarded stablemate Mt Leinster by just over 1L. House Island travel over from England and on his last start won a Listed Bumper at Newbury from previous winner Nobby. Mt Leinster had a break between his run in the Dublin Festival where he was over 7L behind Envoi Allen and resumed at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday  where he got run out of it by stablemate Golden Spread. Patrick Mulins expects him to come on for the run. Colreevy had his first start in almost a year at Fairyhouse the beginning of April and  ran keenly to finish 12L behind the winner. Santa Rossa ran with the choke out at Aintree but was not disgraced to finish a 4L third behind the winner. Prior to that she had won a Grade 3 Bumper at the Leopardstown Dublin Festival. The fourth, Botani, won by 26L at Kilbeggan five days ago. In a wide open race market moves should be noted but Santa Rossa might benefit from the Mare's allowance
Selection; Santa Rossa
Best Alternative; Mt Leinster

April 30th

Punchestown (Going; Yielding)

Champion Novice Hurdle (2m100y)
Willie Mullins saddles four of the six runners for this Festival opener and Cheltenham Supreme Hurdle winner Klassical Dream is an odds on favourite to get the trainer of the mark in what could be a rewarding week for the yard. He's won his three starts this season and was particularly impressive at Cheltenham where he had Felix Desjy and Aramon 11L and 12L behind. The latter had finished a head behind him at Leopardstown on Good ground. Felix Desjy came out and won at Aintree wearing a hood and making the running a tactic (without the hood) that was used around Punchestown in January when he beat Jetez by 5L. Quick Grabim was beaten over 4L by Aramon at Navan and either side of that run had beaten Triplicate, the last one in December.  He's had a few training problems since. Champagne Platinum represents Nicky Henderson and hasn't run since December when winning his his second start over hurdles. Unbeaten in three including a point he's an unknown quantity.  Klassical Dream was very impressive at Cheltenham
Selection; Klassical Dream
Best Alternative; Felix Desjy

Champion Chase (2m)
Min was very impressive at Aintree when he was allowed to go off in front and although that was over 2m4f as was his win here in December he won over 2m1f at Leopardstown in February and apart fom a disappointing showing at Cheltenham has loked very good this season. The ground might not be soft enough for last years winner Un De Sceaux who was over 8L behind Frodon on Good to Soft at Cheltenham. Great Field was unbeaten over fences before this campaign but has fallen on his two starts. He is talented if prone to mistakes and won the Grade 1 Novice here two years ago. He's had his problems and has only started three times since. Castlegrace Paddy wears a tongue tie for the first time but has a lot to do on ratings. It's hard to go against Min
Selection; Min
Next Best; Great Field

Champion Novice Chase (3m120y)
Delta Work won his first three starts over fences before fining Topofthegame just over 2L too good at Cheltenham in the RSA where his jumping was not the best. A Plus Tard was probably a handicap good thing at Cheltenham where he beat Tower Bridge by 16L. He beat Duc Des Genievres at Naas over 2m3f back in December and then was beaten over 2m4f here by Winter Escape in January on Good Ground. Getabird  won his first start over fences beating Articulum over 2m around here in December and on bis second and last start, at Limerick in December a mistake at the last probably cost him as he went down by half a length to Hardline. Chris's Dream has a lot to do at the ratings as does Discorama while Winter Escape has disappointed in his last two starts. Getabird comes here fresh and might sneak it.
Selection; Getabird
Best Alternative; A Plus Tard

April 27th

Sandown (Going; Good)

Oaksey Chase (2m6f164y)
Eight runners are due to go to post for this Grade 2 but with wind forecast for the morning and the possibility of the ground drying out further to Firm there is a possibility that Definitely Red could be taken out according to Trainer Brian Ellison. However we will proceed as if he is starting and he has a great chance of winning this nice pot. He won his first to starts this season beating Black Corton by 2L over 3m at Wetherby. On his third run he was beaten in a two horse race that turned into a messy affair with no pace. He was unlucky to be brought down in the Gold Cup on his last start. Black Corton meets Definitely Red on the same terms as that Wetherby Race so there shouldn't be much between them. Having won eight races as a Novice he's finished runner up in four of his five starts and puled up in the other which was on unsuitably soft ground. Having  won two in the Autumn Charbel has disappointed in his last two runs and was pulled up at Cheltenham. He steps up to this trip for the first time Cobra De Mai won by 13L in a Cheltenham Handicap over 3m2f ten days ago. He did win over 2m4f early in March and if the race doesn't come too son he could be in with a squeak. Go Conquer found the trip to far in the Aintree National where he was pulled up before the third last. He's rated on the same mark as Black Corton which puts him in with a chance if his Aintree exertions haven't taken their toll. San Benedetto has run well around here in the past and is another who could be in the mix. I think there'll be plenty of pace in this race which should suit Definitely Red or if he fails to start Black Corton. But it's not a race to get deeply involved in.
Selection; Definitely Red
Best Alternative; Black Corton

Celebration Chase (1m7f119y)
Just the five runners for this Grade 1 and Altior is as short as 1/4 to run up the hat trick in this event. Unbeaten now in eighteen races he had to work hard to see off Poltilogue who was just under 2L back in second with Sceau Royal, who led over the last, the same distance back in fourth. God's Own was pulled up at Cheltenham and well beaten at Aintree on Soft ground and will prefer the sounder surface here. Diego Du Charmil has been behind Altior in three of his last four races, the first which was here last year, beaten a total of 66L. I thing this track will suit Sceau Royal much better than Cheltenhm where the hill to the finishing line helped Altior and I'll take a sporting chance with him
Selection; Sceau Royal
Best Alternative; God's Own

Select Hurdle (2m5f110y)
A decent field of ten for this Grade 2 with half of them having run in at least one chase this season. Black Op has to carry a penalty for his win at Aintree last season and has disappointed on his two starts since returning to Hurdles. Those two races were over 3m so the drop back in trip should be a help. Younevercall has been lightly raced and is having only his sixth start in three years and his first since December when he finished 21L behind Paisley Park over an extended 3m at Ascot. On his start before that he had won a handicap around Kempton in first time cheekpieces and they're retained here. He's also had a wind op since his last start. On The Blind Side reverts to hurdles having pulled up in the JLT at Cheltenham. He had beaten Talkischeap at Kempton over 3m the run before, his second start over Fences. He was beaten 9L by Black Op at Aintree last year on Soft but won around here over 2m4f in December 2017 on Good To Soft. He had a wind op last summer but was pretty awful in two of his three runs since, both at Cheltenham. If he can return to his Novice form where he won his first three he is a player. Having run well without winning on his first six starts this season Old Guard was very disappointing at Fontwell and the cheek pieces he wore on his last five starts are replaced with blinkers. Mia's Storm won her two starts in the Autumn but was beaten a long way on her return at Aintree after a 131 day break. With Discretion hasn't been seen since winning his two hurdle starts in March/April 2018 while the third Henderson runner, Thomas Campbell, has his first start after a wind op. He did have some decent chase form but jockey bookings suggest On The Blind Side in the stable choice. Jarvey's Plate was a runaway 13L winner over 2m4f at Cheltenham in January having finished 2L behind Elixir De Nutz over 2m1f on his previous start. He's disappointed in two subsequent starts since. I'll take a chance that On The Blind Side can be rejuvenated here.
Selection; On The Blind Side
Best Alternative; Younevercall

April 22nd

Fairyhouse (Going; Good To Yielding)*

Juvenile Hurdle (2m)
Nine going to post for this and Couer Sublime and Gardens Of Babylon who were seperated by almost 4L at Cheltenham when finishing second and third respectively behind Pentland Hills who went and won again at Aintree. French Made was  was over 15L behind the Cheltenham winner on only his second start since last April and like the two above I think they'll improve for quicker ground. However strictly on ratings he has a fair bit to find. Way Back Home is another who has a bit to find on ratings. Three runs ago he finished just over 3L behind Garden Of Babylon and then won his next two around here, the last a Grade 3 over Course and Distance. Hannon finished last of the finishers in the Triumph but had won at Musselburg on Good ground before going down by a nose to Chosen Mate in a Naas Grade 2. The top two seem to have it between them if the bookies are to be believed and preference is for Couer Sublime who apart from an unlucky fall at Leopardstown and scoping badly next time at Gowran loks to have solid form
Selection; Couer Sublime
Best Alternative; Gardens Of Babylon

Keelings Irish Strawbery Hurdle (2m4f)
A disappointing field of seven with some of them having a question mark or two over them. Wicklow Brave has had two terrific runs since finishing a long way behind Apple's Jade here in early December. In January at Naas he was a 2L second to subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D'Allen and then went down by a nose at Cheltenham giving 2LB to Willim Henry. Off You Go has climbed the ratings from 107 at the end of 2017 to 151 following his six runs since then His last run was a 2L second to Tiger Roll over 2m5f at Navan while in the run before that he beat Jezki 1L over 2m. He's obviously been well placed by the shrewd Charles Byrnes. Petite Mouchoir reverted to Hurdles this season. He was well beaten in the Stayers at Cheltenham and having run all his other races at 2m2f or less he's still a bit of an unknown at this disatnce. Not Many Left won a Pretemps qualifier in first time cheekpieces and then ran a cracker in the final going down by just over 1L in the Final at Cheltebham. This is a step up however. Joey Sasa beat Wicklow Brave on his last start back in July but is now 14LB worse off. Tombstone missed Cheltenham and Aintree and won his last start at the beginning of March at Leoprdstown. He was 6L behind Espoir D'Allen in the January Naas race over 2m but has a bit to find on ratings. Rashaan has been disappointing lately. Wicklow Brave might just be good enough.
Selection; Wicklow Brave
Best Alternative; Off You Go

Devenish Chase (2m4f)
Just the six runners for this Grade 2 and Snow Falcon has been installed the 6/4 Favourite. He hasn't been seen since inning a Grade 2 at Down Royal back in November over an extended 2m3f having won over 3m at Listowel on his previous start. Ordinary World was well beaten by Altior at Cheltenham and in his two previous starts finished 6L behind Min In February at Leopardstown and the same distance behind Simply Ned over the same course at Christmas. We have to go back to October 2016 for his last win and in fourteen subsequent starts he's been runner up six times and third three times. He steps up to tgus trip for the first time and maybe at 9yo it's what he needs. The Storyteller was over 12L behind Snow Falcon at Down Royal conceding 7LB and is 5LB better off here. He was beaten in four subsequent Grade 1's, pulling up in the latest at Cheltenham. Doctor Phoenix was pulled up at Gowran last time where he was reported to have broken Blood Vessels. He had run Cadmium to 3L at Naas the run before that but has been dropping down the ratings since a high of 156 last season. Jett has a fair bit to do on ratings while Crosshue Boy has struggled this season. Snow Falcon has won of a long break previously so I'm hoping he can do it again.
Selection; Snow Falcon
Best Alternative; Ordinary World
*I didn't hear any update on the Going at Fairyhouse today and I see watering commenced after the last. If any change we will udate tomorrow AM. 

April 21st

Fairyhouse (Going; Good To Yielding)

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final (2m4f)
Seventeen runners are due to contest what looks like a red hot contest. Honeysuckle has created a big impression winning her point by 15L from Annie Mc and then her subsequent three hurdle races. The form of those looks solid and she is probably a worthy favourite. Willie Mullins runs seven here and Grade 2 Cheltenham surprise winner (50/1) Eglantine Du Seuil is second favourite and the way she stormed home over 2m1f at the Festival suggests she should relish the step up in trip. The latters stablemate Salsaretta beat Felix Desjy at Limerick in December but fell at the second in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown and was well behind Minello Indo over 3m in the Albert Bartlett. Annie Mc was impressive at Newbury last time and got an 11LB hike for it. This is a big step up. Tintangle was just under 2L behind Eglantine Du Seuil at Cheltenham but two runs prior to that had been beaten 17L by Honeysuckle. Black Tears was a neck behind Tintangle at Cheltenham and having won her Bumper over 2m on Soft/Heavy I expect she'll appreciate the step up in trip. Cases can be made for others as well but Honeysuckle comes here fresh having missed Cheltenham and is worth a chance.
Selection; Honeysuckle
Best Alternative; Black Tears

Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase (2m4f)
Just five runners here and it could be a close run affair with four of them between 9/4 and 100/30. Mengli Khan is the early favourite and the step up in trip at Cheltenham and Aintree seemed to bring out improvement in him as he was a 9L third in the JLT behind a couple of smart sorts and then 3L behind Kalshnikov and La BagueAu Roi. The question is how much have those races taken out of him. Real Steel was 18L behind in the JLT having won his two previous starts at Thurles and here at Fairyhouse. Connections believe he is better going right handed and are expecting a big run. Winter Escape hasn't been seen since beaten 9L by La Bague Au Roi at Leopardstown where he was reported to have burst a Blood Vessel but the run before that he beat A Plus Tard at Punchestown and he must have a chance. Voix Du Reve was starting to make a move when unseating Ruby Walsh three out in the JLT. He had fallen on his previous start in the Grade 1 at the Dublin Festival. If he can stay upright he has a chance. Outsider of the five Cubomania is up against it on ratings. If there is no repeat of the burst Blood Vessel, Winter Escape has a chance.
Selection; Winter Escape
Best Alternative; Real Steel

April 17th

Cheltenham (Going; Good)

Silver Trophy Chase (2m4f127y)
I've long advocated for more of these Grade 2 races to be handicaps as it gives more chances for Owners and Trainers to run horses who might otherwise have to carry big weights in minor races for little reward. It also provides for more competitive racing in these Grades with more betting options for punters. Mister Whitaker is 1LB off the top weight here and has won around this course previously which ticks one of the boxes. He was however pulled up on Soft here over 3m1f at the Festival and Cheek Pieces are applied for the first time. He's had just the four runs this season and in the first at Carlisle he beat Cyrname 4L with Rene's Girl a further 8L behind. Cyrname turned the tables by 30L at Ascot in January. Rene's Girl was well beaten by Charbel next time while on her thir and last start, in December, she was 4L behind Lady Buttons. However she is 6LB worse of with Mister Whitaker for that Carlise which is a worry. Wenyerreadyfreddie has some pretty solid form in the first three of his four starts over fences winning two with the second and third in both races winning since. At Ascot in November he beat Kildisart half a length with Azzerti another 2L back in third. The former has won three of his subsequent for starts including beating Highway One O One by 2L around here on Good to soft in January. Wenyerreadyfreddie hasn't run since well beaten at Newbury over Christmas but he is a summer horse who needs Good Ground. Highway One O One was well beaten on Soft here at the Festival which is a worry but a repeat of the January run behind Kildisart would put him in the frame. Kings Monarch got a 13LB hike for a 5L win at Hereford the last day while Imperial Presence is another who has gone up the weights and hasn't run since September. Word is the Cheek Pieces have sharpened up Mister Whitaker's work at home and if we can ignore his last run his previous form around here just swings it for me. 
Selection; Mister Whitaker
Best Alternative; Highway One O One

April 13th

Ayr (Going; Good)

Scottish Champion Hurdle (2m)
Fifteen runners go to post for this Grade 2 Hurdle and is one reason why I would like to see more of this Grade run as Handicaps. Nuba Negra wears tongue tie for the first time and receives weight from a few of his rivals. He was third in last years Fred Winter before being well beaten at Aintree. On his peniltimate start he was brought down when traveling well at Taunton before finishing strongly under pressure to be third in a Handicap at Newbury. Mister Fisher loks to be the pick of the Henderson trio. He was beaten a long way in the supreme at Cheltenham on Soft Ground but had won his previous two including a Grade 2 at Haydock on Good To Soft. He has never run on Good Ground. Verdana Blue disapointed on Soft ground at Cheltenham but has some decent form on a sound surface. However she's has top weight and has had plenty of runs this season and others are preferred. Malaya fell on her first two starts this season before before safely negotiating Ascot's 2m4f and then winning the Imperial Cup under a light weight at Sandown where she survived a mistake at the second last but got a 6LB penalty for that. She was beaten 7L by Redicean in February 2018 when in receipt of 5LB and is 3LB worse off wityh that horse here. Redicean was a useful Juvenile running up a hat trick of wins before disappointing behind Farclas in the Triumph at Cheltenham. He started of this season at Cheltenham in October where he was a 3L runner up to Pearl Of The West who was in receipt 15LB. He was then beaten 16L by Verdana Blue who had If The Cap Fits 2L behind. Redicean is 16LB better off with the winner here. Leoncavallo was third in the Galway Hurdle and has had just two runs since, the latest at cheltenhamin the County Hurdle after a six month break. He ran quite keenly and finished mid field. Pearl Of The West is 5LB worse off with Redicean while Brain Power pulled up in the Champion Hurdle. Dino Velvet has won his last two and could have more improvement. Redicean has run on the all weather for his last four starts, winning two and finishing within 1L and 3L in the other two. His trainer is expecting a big run and he is our selection (Available at 9/1 with Ladbrokes)
Selection; Redicean (9/1 Ladbrokes)
Best Alternative; Dino Velvet (EW)

Future Champions Novices Chase (2m4f110y)
Just seven runners for this Grade 2 and betting suggests it can be narrowed down to two. Ballywood has been a revelation since attacking the larger obstacles after two undistinguished efforts over Hurdles in his first two starts this season. He then won his first two over fences before going down by just over 3L to Dynamite Dollars although he was in receipt of 8LB. He then won a handicap chase at Ludlow where his rider lost his stick but only had to be shaken up to win by three parts of a length and conceding 26LB to the second who went on to win by a wide margin next time. Secret Investor went Chasing in November after winning a Grade 2 Hurdle at Chepstow but came up against a couple of useful sorts in Bags Groove (twice) and OK Corral before winning by a wide margin at Wincanton. The mare Castafiore carries a 5LB penalty for winning a Grade 2 at Haydock in January before finishing a 1L second to Bags Groove with Secret Investor 6L further back and then disappointed at Cheltenham. She is proven over this trip and the course will suit her better than Cheltenham. Monbeg Legend has his first start since October  and while he's only been out of the money once in eleven starts he is a 9yo and there are probably a few younger ones here who have more improvement in them. Lough Deg Spirit has had just the four starts this season but pulled up on Soft Ground at Cheltenham. This will suit him better but jockey bookings suggest he's the stables second string. Ballywood could give trainer Alan King a day to remember.
Selection; Ballywood
Best Alternative; Castafiore

April 7th

Fairyhouse (Going; Good To yielding)

Irish Injured jockeys association Novice Hurdle (2m)
Seven runners for this Grade 2 and it's a tricky little contest the more I look into it. Having won two Bumpers in France Eclair De Beaufeu had to wait until his fifth start in Ireland to get off the mark. He won next time at Fairyhouse before finishing a 3l  fourth in the competitive Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown. On his last start, at Cheltenham in the County Hurdle, he was in second place but probably beaten when unshipping Jack Kennedy at the last. He's pretty exposed at this stage and looks short enough in the betting at 13/8. Mister Blue Sky won four of his fifteen starts on the flat in England before joining Willie Mullinand in his only two starts over hurdles has won a Wexford maiden and finished second in a listed Hurdle at Navan, beaten half a length, by Gallant John Joe who was given a rating of 138 for his efforts. Mister Blue Sky was receiving 3LB from the winner so that puts him on a mark similar to the Favourite here and with expected improvement I think he can go close. Cash Back is the second of three Mullins runners. He failed to win in seven starts in France before winning on his only start for the stable in a Thurles Maiden where he raced keenly. He wears a hood for the first time and should improve for that run having been off for five hundred and nine days. Having finished second in six of his seven starts under rules (he won his point) All For Joy finally got his head in front when making nearly all to win a Naas Maiden. I doubt he'll get a handy lead here having won a Bumper and Maiden Hurdle valdieu was well beaten in two Grade 1's, Leopardstown and Cheltenham, and while this is a drop in class it's hard too see him win here. Roll Again is the third Mullins horse and won his maiden at Down Royal  having failed to score in three Bumpers. Jockey bookings suggest he's third choice. Email Rose cost €150,00 and in his first start he went off favourite in a Cork Maiden. He travelled well to the third last but couldn't quicken and was a back in third when he fell at the last. He next finished 14L behind in a Navan Maiden with Eclair De Beaufeu 10L ahead of him before returning to the flat for a Leopardstown bumper at Christmas where he was a long way behind. He hasn't been seen since and is won to watch. Mister Blue Sky might have more improvement in him and is the selection
Selection; Mister Blue Sky
Best Alternative; Cash Back

Fairyhouse Easter Festival Novice Hurdle (2m4f)
A big field of fifteen runners for this Grade 2 but, while not dismissing the others, it can probably be narrowed down to a handful. Easy Game has to carry a 5LB penalty for a Grade 2 win at Navan in December. His next run was a disappointing one in the Baltimore at Cheltenham. His four wins have come on Good and yielding so a return to a sounder surface here might help. Zero Ten won his Bumper in Galway last July and returned ti the track in September for his next run when demolishing the field in a Maiden Hurdle, winning by 15L. He was off then until the beginning of March in Leopardstown when he hosed home by an eased up 13L. There should be more improvement in him and he could be anything. Gallant John Joe put up a decent effort when beating Mister Blue Sky at Naas last month wearing cheek pieces for the first time and supporters will be hoping the runner up will boost the form in the previous race. Prior to that run he was beaten just over 6L by Commander Of Fleet in a Grade 1 at the Dublin Festival and that one ran a cracking race in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham when finishing second. Harrrie was well beaten by Felix Desjy on Good Ground at Punchestown and fell next time while his other three runs which resulted in a win and two seconds were all on Heavy Ground. School Boy Hours had fallen twice in his previous four starts before winning his maiden at Cork on Soft ground. Milan Native has some decent form but has a bit to find on ratings while Cap York who was a big disappointment at Cheltenham wears cheekpieces for the first time. Zero Ten steps up to this trip for the first time but won over 3m in a point and gets the selection.
Selection; Zero Ten
Best Alternative; Gallant John Joe

April 6th

Aintree (Going; Soft)

Mersey Novices Hurdle (2m4f)                                                                                                                     
Nine go to post for this Grade 1 and it's a tricky affair. Angels Breath got a bit outpaced in the Supreme at cheltenham so the step up in trip should help. Prior to that he had been second to Southfield Theatre at Kempton. The latter was well beaten behind Felix Desjy at Aintree today although at the back end of the season form can get turned over. Brewin'upastorm was 6L behind City Island in the Ballymore at the Festival and the form got a boost with the victory of runner up Champ today. The flat track here should suit him. One For Rosie resumed after a year in November beating Glen Forsa 5L in a Novice hurdle. He won again since and has been placed in his other two starts. Chosen Mate has won two of his three hurdle starts and was second in the other, with all starts ove rthe minimum trip and on Good or Yielding ground. He was pulled up in a point on soft/ heavy ground but won his next point over 3m. Umbrigado has won a bumper and two hurdles, his only starts under rules. Kateson disappointed last time at Haydock over 3m but the run before that had finished just over 3l behind Champ at Newbury over 2m4f with Brewin'upastorm three parts of a length further back. His two wins have come on soft ground. It's a tricky contest with a few unexposed at this level but Kateson who avoided Cheltenham should be fresh and well and might pay for an Each Way bet at 11/1 with William Hill and a few others
Selection; Kateson (half point each way) 11/1 William Hill and others
Best Alternative; Angels Breath

Maghull Novices Chase (1m7f176y)
Can Us And Them finally get his head in front having finished runner up on his last four starts. He was a fair distance behind the winner in the Arkle at the Festival but had Clondaw Castle and Knockanuss behind with Lalor pulled up while Ornua fell. The latter had put up a smart performance the time before that when going down by under 2L to Dynamite Dollars. Lalor won the novice hurdle on Soft ground here last year  and beat Dynamite Dollars on chase debut at Cheltenham in November while connections felt his next run when third over the samre course was down to soft ground. He's probably best watched as there were no excuses for his poor run last day. Destrier has won his last two but this is a step up and the rain will help. Us And Them might just get there.
Selection; Us And Them
Best Alternative; Ornua

The Liverpool Hurdle (3m149y)
Apple's Jade was very disappointing in teh Champion Hurdle but scoped dirty afterwards which probably accounted for the performance. Connections seem positive about er and if she's recovered she should take some beating. Sam Spinner retrned to something like his best in the Cheltenham Stayers finishing 3l behind Paisley Park. If The Cap Fits tries this trip for the firast time and has been running well over shorter distances in his four starts this season. Roksana, whi benefitted from Benie Des Dieux's fall at Cheltenham, was a close second to Santini in the Grade 1 Novice over course and distance last year and has just had the two starts this season. Wholestone was beaten a fair distance on his last two starts, both at Cheltenham, but won over 2m4f here in November while West Approach is another who was disappointing on his last two starts having run Paisley Park to 2L at Ascot in December and the same can be said for some others who have been prominent stayers in recent years. Apple's Jade for me
Selection; Apple's Jade
Best Alternative; Sam Spinner

April 5th

Aintree (Going; Soft)

Top Novices Hurdle (2m103y)
Ground conditions became testing during Thursday's racing with the Going changing to Soft. The forecast is for the rain to stop early Friday. Eight go to post for this Grade 1 and conditions could play a big part. Itchy Feet had plenty of ground to make up at Cheltenham in the Supreme and was closing coming to the last which he he didn't jump well and ended up a 5L third behind Klassical Dream. That was his first run since November and his first on soft ground and it was reported that he bled from the nose. Aramon was over 11L behind the winner in the Supreme (Soft Ground) having ran him to a Head at Leopardstown previously on Good Ground. One who will handle the Going is Precious Cargo who won his Bumper on Heavy last year while on his latest start at the four weeks ago he won a Sandown Novice Hurdle on Soft and while it didn't look the strongest contest he was a very easy 8L winner. Felix Desjy finshed beside Aramon in the Supreme but is inconsistent. Southfield Stone beat Angels Breath on his last start in February. However his wins have all come on a sound surface  which is a worry. Rouge Vif has won three of his last four since wearing a hood but needs further improvement on ratings as does Winston C who has won his last three. Precious Cargo has had just the two runs over Hurdles and should have more improvement in him.
Selection; Precious Cargo
Best Alternative; Southfield Stone

Mildmay Novices Chase (3m210y)
Seven go to post for this test of stamina and Topofthegame is an odds on favourite to follow up his Cheltenham win in the RSA. he had only two other starts this season when finishing second to La Bague Au Roi at Kempton's Christmas fixture and second to Defi Du Seuil over 2mf at Exeter earlier in the month. It reamains to be seen how much the RSA took out of him on Soft Ground. Lostintranlation was runner up to Defi Du Seuil in the JLT at the Festival on Good To Soft. He finished a half length behind Black Op here in a Grade 1 Hurdle on Soft Ground last year. The step up in trip should suit. Henry De Bromhead has his horses in great form and Chris's Dream is one who will appreciate the ground. He jumped well at Navan in February on his last start which he won  and is two from three over fences and although he has a bit to fnd on ratings he should improve further. Drovers Lane has his second start back after a wind op but was a long way behind in the RSA. However that was his first start since December when he beat Le Breuil. However his best form has come on a sound surface. Top Ville Ben and Mr Whipped (cheek pieces for first time) are others who have a bit to find but as I said yesterday it is only three weeks since Cheltenham and shocks are possible. The favourite doesn't appeal at odds on and I'm taking a chance that Chris's Dream could come here fresh and surprise a few.
Selection; Chris's Dream
Best Alernative; Lostintranslation

Melling Chase (2m3f200y)
Another seven runner field for this Grade 1 and Waiting Patiently is the early favourite on the tisue. He's had just two runs this season being badly hampered and unseating at the ninth in the King George. He was disappointing next time at Ascot beaten 17L into second behind Cyrname with Politilogue a further 3L back behind. The latter won this race last year by a neck from Min. He finished runner up to Altior in the Champion Chase at the Festival with Min 9L further back. The latter didn't jump well that day and we might see a change of tactics here with him being ridden more prominently. God's Own won this in 2016 but it's hard o see him winning if the ground remains soft. Waiting Patiently, with the cheekpieces on for the first time, might see a change of luck here.
Selection; Waiting Patiently
Best Alternative; Min

Sefton Novices Hurdle ((3m149y)
Thirteen go to post for this Grade 1 which could become a war of attrition for these novices. Champ will be out to make amends for his defeat at Cheltenham where he wasn't disgraced in finishing a 2L runner up to City Island. Prior to that he had won four on the trot. He steps up to this trip for the first time but his trainer thinks it will not be a problem. Emitom is another who steps up in trip. He's won all five of his starts, two bumpers and three hurdles. His best bit of form was probably back in November at Ffos Las on Soft Ground when he beat subsequent Grade 2 winner Lisnagar Oscar who re-opposes here. Dallas Des Pictons was a bit unlucky to come up against a real good one in Early Doors at Cheltenham in the Martin Pipe. Prior to that he had won two starts and prior to that at Leopardstown over Christmas had gone down by 3L to subsequent Ballymore winner City Island. He's back up in trip here having won over it on his penultimate start and while all his form with Gordon Elliott is on a sound surface he is recorded winning on Heavy in a French Bumper. After winning a Fairyhous Bumper in December 2017 on his first start, Downtown Getaway was bought by current connections for £350,000. He didn't reappear until last December when he was beaten just under 2L by Tidal Flow who was subsequently 9L behind Emitom at Newbury. He then beat Champagne Well a short head over an extended 2m5f at Ascot his only other start. Trainer Nicky Henderson believes the step up in trip and the rain will help him and 11/1 looks a bit generous.Henry De Bromhead's Walk Away won his point and Maiden Hurdle, his only starts. This is a step up and market moves should be noted. The rest appear to have plenty to do. Dallas Des Pictons might be value stepping up in trip.
Selection; Dallas Des Pictons
Best Alternative; Downtown Getaway (EW)

Wetherby's Standard Open National Hunt Race (2m109y)
Six of the last ten winners have started at 12/1 or bigger and the shortest priced winner in that period was Barters Hill at 11/2 so it's a race to thread carefully with. McFabulous is short enough at 5/2. He's had just the three starts winning on debut before being well beaten by Master Debonair at Cheltenham last Novemnber after which he was left off until reappearing at Newbury in March and winning by 6L. Significantly his defeat came on good ground while his wins came on Good To Soft. Santa Rossa has won her two Bumpers including a Grade 2 at The Dublin Festival for which she carries a penalty. Both wins were on Good ground but progeny of her sire Jeremy like a cut in the ground while her dams three half brothers to race all won with plenty of ease in it. She would be a big winner for her under rated Trainer  Dermot McLoughlin, son of Liam who was the first jockey to win on Arkle. Ted Walsh runs the 4yo Dewcup who easily beat the Listed winner Blackhilsofdakota at Thurles two weeks ago and son Ruby takes the mount. Master Debonair won at Cheltenham in November but on his next start in the Champion Bumper at the festival was 21L behind the winner on the soft ground which is a concern. Ebony Jewel won on his second and only start four weeks ago having being bought by current connections for £70,000 after finishing second on Heavy Ground at Haydock in December. Blackhillsofdakota has had two quick runs in the last thirteen days winning the last one but this might come a bit quick. Hazm cost 720,000 guineas as a yearling but never ran and was offloaded for 2,000 guineas. and won his only start a Stratford on Good ground. Hopefully the winner will come from onne of the above but as stated earlier this race can throw up surprises. However I have a bit of a soft spot for Santa Rossa who might buck recent trends.
Selection; Santa Rossa
Best Alternative; Ebony Jewel (EW)

April 4th

Aintree (Going; Good To Soft)

Manifesto Novices Chase (2m3f200y)
A small field of six runners for this Grade 2. Glen Forsa uneated his rider at the fourth fence in the Arkle at Cheltenhm but proir to that had run up a hat trick of wins ncluding a 9L demolition of an under par Kalshnikov who got as far as the sixth in the Arkle before being badly hampered and also unseating. Mengli Khan was 9L behinnd Defi Du Seuil in the JLT at the Festival and had has yet to realise the promise of his early hurdling form. Bags Groove beat Castafiore at Kempton in February over 2m4f and prior to that had been a long way behind La Bague Au Roi over 3m on the same track. The latter went on to win a Grade 1 at the Dublin Festival over 2m5f on her last start in February and connections avoided Cheltenham with a view to this meeting and I think they can be rewarded.
Selection; La Bague Au Roi
Best Alternative; Bags Groove

Doom Bar Anniverasry Juvenile Hurdle (2m209y)
The Fred Winter winner Band Of Outlaws shades favouritism for this having completed a hat trick of wins at the festival where he probably won a bit cosily having been hampered near the last. He travelled well in the race off a frantic pace and it will be interesting to see how this race unfolds. Another impressive winner at the Festival was Pentland Hills who travelled strongly in the Triumph Hurdle and should have plenty more improvement in him having had just the two starts over hurdles. Fakir D'Oudairies was routed to the Supreme at Cheltenham to avoid a clash with the ill fated Sir Erec and finished 11L behind the winner. Prior to that he had been a very impressive winner at the January Chelteham fixture. Christopher Wood has won his two starts over hurdles although they were moderate enough affairs and the runner up on his latest win was beaten a long way by Band Of Outlaws in the Fred Winter. While the rest look to have it all to do, it's just three weeks after Cheltenham and shocks can happen. However the lightly raced Pentland Hills might have enough improvement in him to see off the rest.
Selection; Pentland Hills
Best Alternative; Band Of Outlawas

Betway Bowl Chase (3m210y)
Just the six runners for this Grade 1 but a fascinating race in prospect and again it depends how these horses came out of their Cheltenham engagements.. The Gold Cup was run at a cracking pace on Ground described as Good To Soft but which many of the jockeys describes as soft. Kemboy only got as far as the first in the Gold Cup when losing David Mullins at the first having been squeezed for room but prior to that had been an impresive winner of the Savills Chase at Leoprdstown at Christmas and according to his jockey, Ruby Walsh , he is fresh and well in himself. Bristol De Mai ran a cracking race in the Gold Cup and had every chance at the second last but soon came under pressure and lost second up the hill. He was second in this last year but had had a break from January. Clan Des Obeaux was another who travelled well tracking the leaders but could find nothing from the back of the last and probably didn't get the trip in the ground and was beaten 11L. He was impressive when winning the King George although he did look one paced in this race last year when finishing behind Might Bite and Bristol De Mai. Elegant Escape was behind Clan Des Obeaux at Cheltenham and would probably prefer a longer trip and softer ground. Road To Respect just got run out of it by Frodon in the Ryanair. Prior to that he was beaten a short head in the Irish Gold Cup in February, while in the Savills Chase he was arguably unlucky in running when beaten almost 8L by Kemboy. Slight preference is for Kemboy though I fear Road To Respect.
Selection; Kemboy
Best Alternative; Road To Respect

Aintree Hurdle (2m4f)
All nine runnners for this Grade 1 ran at Cheltenham and the only winner among them was Ch'tibelo who won the County Hurdle on his first run following a wind op. On ratings he's a bit to find and others are preferred. Booies go 5/6 Buveur D'Air  on the tisue 6/1 Faugheen and better the rest shich suggests a one horse race. Buveur D'Air is a slick hurdler but does clip the odd one and that was his downfall at the third in Cheltenham. He had been beaten over 2m by stablemate Verdana Blue at Kempton over Christmas where a blunder three out didn't help. He won this two years ago so going up in trip shouldn't be a problem. Faugheen put up a decent effort in the Stayers at the Festival finishing a 7L third to Paisley Park and was just 2L behind Apple's Jade at Leopardstown over Christmas when coming down at the second last. Melon was beaten a neck by Buveur D'Air in last years Champion and was a 15L runner up this time. Connections think the step up in trip and the track will suit him. Supasundae was beaten 3L by L'Ami Serge in this last year in a season where he put up some notable performances. He hasn't quite reached those heights this year and appeared not to stay the 3m trip in Cheltenham so this might suit him. There are question marks over Verdana Blue and Silver Streak getting the rip while Summerville Boy returns after been absent since mid December. Brain Power pulled up at Cheltenham . The favourite makes no appeal to me at the price and with question marks about the others a small each way on Supasundae might give us a run for our money with Paddy Power offering 10/1 at the moment.
Selection; Supasundae (half point each way 10/1 Paddy Power)
Best Alterbnative; Faugheen (Each Way)

Mares National Hunt Flat Race (2m209y)
A bit of a cavalry charge this with 20 runners going to post for this Grade 2 looking for a bit of Black Type for when they go to the Paddock. Minella Melody is out of a full sister Glens Melody and Glens Harmony among others and has already caught the eye winning her point by 10L before hosing in at Gowran in a 2m2f Bumper by 12L. Patrick Mullins rode her that day and gets the leg up again here. The Glancing Queen finished 7L behind the winner of the Cheltenham Bumper having won around Cheltenham on Good Ground in November and she also won a Point on Yielding To Soft in March last year. Misty Whisky got herself out of trouble the last day to record her second victory from three starts and was second around here back in November on Good ground with her two wins coming on Soft. Daylight Katie got her head in front at the third time of asking in a Bumper at Gowran winning by an impressive 10L and did win a point in October 2017 after which she was bought for £110,000. She's owner ridden which could put some punters off but has been aimed at this race for some time. Miss Heritage has won two of her four starts, on Soft and Heavy Ground, and been runner up on the other two. On er first win she beat Briery Express by 8L. It's not a race to get too involved in but Minella Melody is bred for the job and should give us a run for our money.
Selection; Minella Melody
Best Alternative; The Glancing Queen

March 23rd

Newbury (Going; Good To Soft)

Mares National Hunt Novices Hurdle Series Final (2m4f118y)
Fifteen mares in search of Black Type face the starter for this Grade 2 Limited Handicap. The White Mouse is the early favourite in the back of two wins from three starts. The two wins came over the extended 2m3f while her defeat came at 2M. Her last start was a win at Doncaster in a race that was a qualifier for this and previous winners have a good record in the final. She Mite Bite was brought down when in a challenging position three out the last day over 3m. The time before that she looked a bit one paced when going down by over 4L at Sandown although finishing well clear of the rest. As a point winner she might just need further. Etamine Du Cochet is having her first run back after a wind op. She's had five runs after a previous one where she has won once and been placed three times but was pulled up on soft ground. Sixty's Belle has just had four starts with her best run coming last time when runner up in a Huntingdon maiden. She's obviously progressing and could run well off this mark. Annie Mc was disappointing last time although that was two furlong shorter than here and her best form has come at around 2m4f. She caries top weight here although young JonJo O'Neill claims a valuable 5LB. Following a disappointing run last time Harry Fry fits cheekpieces to Outofthisworld in the hope she can give the great Noel Fehily a winning send of into retirement. She had previously beaten Annie Mc over this trip previously. As a point winner Millarville will appreciate the step up in trip here from her last two starts although she did win one and was placed in the other.
Off The Hook hasn't been out of the first three in seven starts since January 2018, her only victory coming last time out. Her trainer must think she has a chance as it's a long way to travel from Perth. Oscar Rose is 3LB better off with The White Mouse on her last run and was sixth in this race last year. The down side is that she has just one win from fifteen hurdles starts. Our Dot's Baby won over course and distance on her last start back in January. Back in October she was beaten jut under 2L by Etamine Du Cochet over 2m at Ffos Las and is now 10LB worse off with that one. In between those two runs she has fallen and unseated. There may be a springer among the rest but I think the winner will come from these. Dan Skelton, who won this last year, has aimed Etamine Du Cochet at this and she could benefit from the lastest wind op.
Selection; Etamine Du Cochet
Beat Alternative; Outofthisworld

March 15th

Cheltenham (Going; Dood To Soft)

Triumph Hurdle (2m179y)
Fourteen runners go to post for this Hurdle race for 4yo's and it often turns into a cavalry charge. Sir Erec is favourite at Evens and it's 13/2 and better the rest. The favourite was a classy flat horse and was second in a Grade 2 at Ascot behind Stradivarius in October earning him a rating of 109. He went hurdling after that and has won his only two starts beating Tiger Tap Tap a neck into second the first time and having that one over 6L behind when winning a Grade 1 at Leopardstown by 6L from stable companion Gardens of Babylon. Tiger Tap Tap was caught for room going to the last but probably wouldn't have got to the winner. Pic D'Orhy makes his British debut for Paul Nicholls but has but has plenty of experience having won three of his seven starts in France and been runner up in three others. Quel Destin has won his last five starts including a Grade 1 at Christmas where he beat Adjali by a neck. Nicky Henderson has won this race six times and Pentland Hills joins Adjali in trying to improve on that. The former has just had the one run over hurdles having won two from eleven on the flat. He won that Hurdle race by an eased up 14L. Couer Sublime looked like playing a big part before falling at the last in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown at Christmas and then scoped badly after Gowran last month. Hannon probably needs better ground but if it did dry out further he is of interest as that looked a very good run behind Chosen Mate at Navan a few weeks ago. Sir Erec looks short enough at odds on ( has shortened since I started on this) and the ease in the ground, I hope, will give Tiger Tap Tap an edge and he looks each way value at 10/1 (Bet 365)
Selection; Tiger Tap Tap (EW 10/1 with Bet 365)
Best Alternative; Couer Sublime

The Albert Bartlett Spa Novices Hurdle  (2m7f213y)
Twenty go to post for what is a gruelling race for novices. J P McManus had a terrific day on Thursday and Birchdale is the early favourite to continue the good run ffor connections. The horse himself is on a good run having won all three starts. He may have been fortunate the last day as Brewin'upastorm (fourth in the Ballymore on Wednesday) tipped up at the last here and Birchdale went on to a 15L win. Commander Of Fleet has always looked like he needed a trip. His only defeat in four starts under rules coming over 2m behind Quick Grabim at Fairyhouse. He beat Rhinestone last time in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over 2m6f by half a length. Allaho got thrown in athe deep end at Clonmel last month but won the Grade 3 by a comfortable 4L. His Irish debut was a fourth in a Leopardstown Bumper having finished second on his only other start in France. Lisnagar Oscar hosed in by 10L at Haydock last month on Good ground and had scraped home on Good To Soft a Chepstow the time before. He did well around here in Decemebr in the Grade 2 over course and distance finishing a 3L second to Rockpoint. Dickie Diver looks the second choice of the McManus/Henderson team. He's won his point and Maiden Hurdle and went down by a head to Lisnagar Oscar at Chepstow. Dinons had a great Autumn winning five on the trot, most by wide margins. He started joint favourite for a Grade 3 at Navan in November but was badly hampered three out to ruin his chance. He's had a break since then. This is a step up from those easy victories but that's balance out by he experience he's gained. Derrinross has been lightly raced over the last two years. He's won his last two beating Defi Bleu in a Grade 2 at Limerick at Christmas and prior to that getting the better of Sams Profile by 4L in Cork. The latter made a mistake at a crucial time in the Ballymore but stayed on to be fifth. Rhinestone is 2LB better of for that half length defeat to Commander Of Fleet and this step up to 3m should suit him as he has looked a real stayer. There could well be a springer from the remainder but in a wide open race I recommend a half point each way on Derrinross who's available at 12/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
Selection; Derrinross (EW)
Best Alternative; Lisnagar Oscar (EW)

Cheltenham Gold Cup (3m2f70y)
The riddle of Presenting Percy's preparation wrapped up in the enigma that is his trainer Pat Kelly doesn't bother me in the least, umlike some members of the Fourth Estate At the end of the day it is the horse who does the talking on the racecourse. He was very impressive winning the RSA last year from Monalee who ran a solid race behind Frodon in Thursday's Ryanair. He had a warm up for this at Gowran in January where he beat Bapaume in the Galmoy and the latter ran a big race in the Stayers. He also had a spin around Galway left handed with stable mate Mall Dini. Clan Des Obeaux has gone from strength to strength this season winning the King George at Christmas in the process. He probably wouldn't want the ground to get any softer and his trainer is flying at the moment. Last years renewal was a grueling race on soft ground and the winner Native River hasn't hit the height on his two starts since, jumping alarmingly left at Kempton in the King George on his last start. Bellshill beat Road To Respect at leopardstown last month and the latter ran a solid race Thursday. He should have no trouble with the trip and his jumping is a big plus. Kemboy stole the Savills Chase at Christmas under an inspired move from David Mullins with Monalee over 7L back in second. His trainer is worried about the ground but he's won on Good, Soft and Heavy. Might Bite has had wind surgery since disappointing in the King George. It could be that his battle with Native River took it's toll last year. Thistlecrack is 11yo now but he ran Clan Des Obeaux to under 2L in the King George. Al Boum Photo fell in the RSA last year and had a bizarre run out at Punchestown with the race at his mercy. He won his only start this season at Tramore confortably on New Years Day and at 7yo he has more improvement in him. Elegant Escape ran Frodon to three parts of a length on his last start back in January around this course and distance. The more rain the better from him and he's another one who could be an improving 7yo. Anibale Fly was third here last year and Fourth in the Aintree National. He finished second to Monalee over an inadequate trip at Gowran last month. It's hard to believe that Bristol De Mai winner of the Betfred Cup at Haydock is 25/1 but that reflects his form away from that course although he was second in the JLT here in 2016. Shattered Love has had a wind op since her last run. She wouldn't mind more rain and won the JLT last year. Nothing has deterred me from Presenting Percy who is the selection.
Selection; Presenting Percy
Best Alternative; Bellshill

March 14th

Cheltenham (Going; Good To Soft)

JLT Novices Chase (2m3f168y)
On his penultimate Defi Du Seuil wass beaten just over 1L by Lostintranslation, who was in receipt of 3LB over this course and distance. The placings were reversed next tme of level weights at Sandown so there shouldn't be much between them today. The one concern for Lostintranslation is that three rums ago he was jumping right when well beaten at Newbury. Vinndiction's run of success (six in a row) was brought to a halt when he could only manage third in that Sandown race behind Defi Du Seuill. Kildisart won over course and distance here back in January and before that at Ascot. He's obviously progressing and looks a better chaser than he was a hurdler. Willie Mullins, who has won four of the eight runnings of this race, has three and Ruby is on Voix Du Reve who steps up to this trip for the first time over fences but has won over 2m4f on Hurdles. He jumped right at Leopardstown last time when falling at the last and in the Grade 1 won by Le Richebourg and had finished third behind the same horse at Christmas prior to that.. Paul Townend is on Real Steel who has won his last two by 10L each time having fallen on his chaseing debut when in with a chance at the last. Pravlaguna is the third Mullins runner and gets a valuable 7LB Mares allowance. She's won two of her three Chases by wide margins but it's hard t evaluate the form. Mengli Khan steps up in trip having been beaten on his three starts over fences on Good ground. Strictly on form he's a bit to find with Voix Du Reve on Leopardstown form but his best runs as a hurdler have come with ease in the ground. Castafiore has won over this distance and last time was just over 1L behind Bags Grove. She gets the mares allowance  and will enjoy the Ground. Slight preference is for Def Du Seuil
Selection; Defi Du Seuil
Best Alternative; Lostintranslation

Ryanair Chase ( 2m4f127y)
This has the makings of a cracking renewal with plenty of quality in the field. Footpad steps up to this trip for the first time over Fences. There are excuses for his last two runs where he suffered an overreach each time but on last years form he has an outstanding chance. Monalee got back to winning ways last time at Gowran and this trip should suit him better than the Gold Cup as should the ease in the ground. Road To Respect probably doesn't quite get the Gold Cup trip but has won over this course and distance. Frodon likes it around Cheltenham and since having a wind op over the summer has won three of his four starts. He drops back in trip here having won over an extended 3m1f aroind here last time but won over course and distance on his previous start. The 2017 winner Un De Sceaux  has just had the one run this season when 4L behind Altior at Sandown in December. He's reportedly in terrific shape but at 11yo it's a big ask. Last years winner Balko Des Flos has been disappointing since then but a return to an easier surface might help. Terrefort had some terrific form last year but has disappointed this season and now drops back to what is probably his best trip. It's wide open but Road To Respect gets the nod.
Selection; Road To Respect
Best Alternative; Footpad

Stayer's Hurdle (2m7f212)
Paisley Park has been very impressive winning all his four starts this season, particularly the last won which was over todays cours and distance where he trounced the field by 12L. Faugheen has to recover from a crashing fall at Leoprdstown at Christmas. On his only other start this season he was beaten 7L by Sharjah in the Morgiana but did beat Penhill 13L on his previous start last April at Punchestown. Last years runner up in this Supasundae was trashed by 20L on his seasonal debut in the Hattons Grace in December  and againg by the same mare over the shorter 2m at Leopardstown in February. He has a tongue tie fitted for the first time. Bacardy's was running a big race in this last year when falling at the last and reverts to hurdles having had two disappointing starts over fences while Kilbricken Storm, who won the Albert Bartlett here last year, is another reverting to the smaller obstacles. Black Op has 14L to make up on Paisley Park following that race here in January. Bapaume was beaten out of sight by Apple's Jade on his first two starts this season but seemed to run much bettre in the Galmoy at Gowran when going down by just over 1L to Presenting Percy. There are a few others who could be each way value and in a big field of eighteen anything can happen. However Paisley Park is the stand out for me this season and is the selection.
Selection; Paisley Park
Best Alternative; Bapaume (ew)

Dawn Run Hurdle (2m179y)
A huge field of twenty two are due to face the starter here. Epatante was Grade 1 Bumper winner in France prior to joining Nicky Henderson where she's on her two starts comfortable and managing to avoid a penalty which could be vital here. She wears a hood for the first time. Posh Trish has run up a hat trick but has to concede 5LB for winning a listed race. Sinoria also carries a penalty but has won her last two. Willie Mullins runs seven here with My Sister Sarah the choice of Ruby Walsh. She's won two of her three hurdle starts but has never run on Ground with an ease in it. Elusive Belle won her first start for connections impressively but then was to keen next time when beaten over 2L. She has the hood on for the first time. Plenty of others looking for Black Type but Epatante is the selection.
Selection; Epatante
Best Alternative; My Sister Sarah

March 13th


Ballymore Novices Hurdle (2m5f)
Sixteen go to post for this Grade 1 and betting suggests it's a two horse race with Champ and Battleoverdoyen the principles. Champ won the Challow Hurdle last time from Getaway Trump who hardly advertised the form later. Challow winners have a dismal record in this race as do 7yo's so history is against Champ here. Battleoverdoyen has won his two starts over hurdles, sluicing in by a wide margin in his maiden and then beating a useful field over 2m4f at Naas in a Grade 1. Runner up that day was Sams Profile who made a couple of mistakes and was slightly hampered turning in. He finished just under 3L behind the winner with looking threatening. Brewin'Upastorm and Birchdale had the race between them here back in January before the former fell at the last. prior to that he had been 4L behind Champ over an extended 2m4f at Newbury. City Island runs in the colours of the sponsors and would be three from three over hurdles but for being disqualified after Galway. He has looked impressive in his races and capable of stepping up but might not want the conditions too testing. Sams Profile looks like he can go on any ground and prior to his run behind Battleoverdoyen had finished 4L behind the useful Derrinross over 3m on soft ground at Cork. Strictly on a line through Getareason who was beaten 2L by Easy Game in a Grade 2 at Navan in December the latter looks over priced compared to Sams Profile who was 2L ahead of Getareason when finishing second to Battleoverdoyen in Naas. Sams Profile might be a bit of each way value at 12/1 with Paddy Power.
Selection; Sams Profile (EW)
Best Alternative; Battleoverdoyen

RSA Insurance Chase (3m80y)
This test of stamina has attracted twelver starters and what a race it looks like with Delta Work a strong favourite on the back of two impressive performances in Grade 1's at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown in December. He beat Le Richebourg over 2m4f at Leopardstown and won nicely by 8L at Leopardstown. Santini has been under a cloud for the past week  and it was touch and go whether he would get to the races. He's been declared and market moves should be noted. He finished over 3L behind La Bague Au Roi at kempton, a track which may not have suited him, and prior to that had beaten Rocky's Treasure by 4L on his chase debut. Topofthegame split Santini and La Bague Au Roi at Kempton and he's been runner up on his two chase starts the first behind the useful Defi Du Seuil. He'll be popular with the locals and his trainer Paul Nicholls is in great form. On The Blind Side wears cheek pieces for the first time having won his second start over fences . He was beaten a long way over an extended 2m4f here on New Years Day in a Grade 2. Mister Malarkey comes here on the back of two good victories the latter in a a Grade 2 at Ascot last month. On ratings he'll have to find more to be competitive here. Delta Work is generally a sound jumper and can oblige here.
Selection; Delta Work
Best Alternative; Topofthegame

 Queen Mother Champion Chase (1m7f99y)
Altior is odds on to repeat last years victory and extend his unbeaten trun to eighteen. He jumped alarmingly left on his last run at Ascot so the change to left handed here should help.  Min has won his two starts this season to show his well being and the earlier price of 5/1 available looks a bet to nothing as he looks he can at least repeat his runner up run of last year. Politilogue finished a 23L fourth here last year before turning the tables on Min at Aintree. he has disappointed over 2m4f and 3m his last two runs so dropping back here is interesting. He has place posssibilities at best. Saint Calvados wears first time cheekpieces in a bid to eke out some improvement but looks held on his last two runs behind Altior and Min respectively. If it comes up very soft Castlegrace Paddy could be each way value on some bits and pieces of form

Wetherby's Champion Bumper (2m87y)
The Irish look to have a particularly strong hand in this and they have won six of the last ten runnings. The unbeaten Envoi Allen carries the colours of the famous Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket but is trained by Gordon Elliott. He's won his point and three Bumpers and the last one staying on under strong pressure to hold Meticulous by just over 1L. Meticulous had won by a comfortable 9L his debut a Killarney and the third won by a long way next time out reversing placings with the Killarney runner up. Blue Sari has won his only start for the Mullins/McManus combination when easily accounting for the opposition at Gowran in January and should improve. Significantly he s the only Mullins runner in the race. Ask For Glory has won his only Bumper by 13L for Paul Nicholls having been bought for £280,000 after winning his only start in a point in Ireland. Sempo won on his third start when hosing in  by 15L at Thurles last month. Master Debonair won his last start over this course and distance beating Thyme Hill by a neck. There are others with some sort of winning form so market moves should be noted. 

March 12th

The weather isn't looking too promising at the moment with rain forecast from Monday evening up until Tuesday afternoon which will probably leave us on soft ground. 

1.30pm Supreme Novices Hurdle (2m87y)
Eighteen will face the starter and launch the Cheltenham roar for this Grade 1 over the Old Course. Al Dancer has won his four starts this season including one around here on the New Course back in December. He was an impressive winner of a big Handicap at Ascot
last month. However the hood he has worn the last two runs is dispensed with here which is a worry when you consider the atmosphere he'll encounter. His owner Dai Walters also has a share in Angels Breath ho has been talked about for this for a while. He won his point back in April and wasn't seen again until Ascot in December where he only had to jump four flights and came home by 4L from Danny Kirwan. On his only other start seventeen days ago he was beaten into second by Southfield Stone although he reportedly needed the run. Southfield Stone had himself been beaten 4L into third by the winner Elixir De Nutz with Grand Sancy less than a length back in second. Grand Sancy then went on to win a Grade 2 next time. Elixir De Nutz was also successful back in the Autumn twice around Cheltenham which is a big plus. On his seasonal debut he was beaten over 3L by Thomas Darby who himself was 5L back in third behind Mister Fisher in a Novice Hurdle around Kempton at Christmas.. The latter has some terrific form but it has all come on flat tarcks and jockey bookings suggest Angels Breath is the stable choice. Fakir D'oudairies comes here instead of the Triumph and gets an 8LB age allowance.He was impressive around here in January when storming home by 13L in a Juvenile Hurdle. Willie Mullins is doubly represented by Klassical Dream and Aramon who had a terrific battle up the Leopardstown straight in the Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival. Aramon headed his rival briefly but the winner battled back in great style with Vision D'honneur another 6L back in third which was about the same distance the latter finished behind Klassical Dream at Christmas. After that win in the Dublin Racing Festival, Mullins said that Klassical Dream would improve for softer ground. In what looks like an wide open race I'l take a chance that the ground will bring about further improvement in Klassical Dream
Selection; Klassical Dream 1pt win
Best Alternative; Elixir De Nutz

2.10pm Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices Chase (1m7f199y)
Twelve go to post and time will tell how good a renewal it is. Lalor was the talking horse all year and he got his chasing career off to the perfect start beating Dynamite Dollars over course and distance by 7L in a Grade 2 back in November. The latter reversed the form in no uncertain fashion next time beating Ornua by just under 2L with Lalor a further 12L back into third. Connections blamed the soft ground on Lalor's poor effort even though he had won over hurdles on soft. Lalor hasn't been seen since and it looks like the ground will be soft on Tuesday. Glen Forsa has won all his three starts over fences beating Kalshnikov by 19L in the last of them. The latter looked a pale image of the horse who had won his first two chases and chased Dynamite Dollars to 1L at Kempton over Christmas. Duc Des Genievres finally got his head in front when leaving Tower Bridge 15L in his wake at Gowran last month. He'd come up against two hot ones on his previous couple of starts in A Plus Tard and Cilaos Emery. Hardline has been a revelation since going chasing winning three of his five starts including a 10L trashing of Us And Them. The latter subsequently ran secon twice to Le Richebourg beaten 4L and 7L which franks the form given that the latter was favourite for this until injury stopped him. Ornua has plenty of experience only out of the first two once in seven starts, three of which he won. Paloma Blue finished a 3L fourth in the Supreme Last year and won over fences at the second time of asking on his last start at Christmas. Knocknanuss can be a bit of a tearaway and fell at Leopardstown on his last start. On what looks a wide open affair Hardline looks a good each way bet at 6/1 with a number of firms.
Selection; Hardline (1pt EW)
Best Alternative; Ornua (ew)

3.30pm Champion Hurdle (2m87y)
Traditionally Wednesday is lasies day at Cheltenham but it could possibly arrive early with two of the top three in the betting Mares. Apple's Jade has been pretty sensational this season winning all four starts emphatically with the the aggregate distance 73L. She had Melon over 21L behind in the Irish Champion Hurdle and she is a deserved favourite. Two time champion Buveur D'Air beat subsequent winner Vision Des Flos on his last appearance having suffered a shock defeat at the hands of stablemate Verdana Blue at Kempton in December. Laurina is unbeaten in in six hurdle starts including an 18L win in the mares hurdle here last year. She drops back in trip from her last three starts and this is the best field she's come up against. Melon, beaten a neck here last year, has been disappointing this season in his three runs but is apparently being trained specifically with this race in mind. Sharjah beat Supasundae at Leopardstown in December on his last stat and had previously defeated Faugheen in the Morgiana at Punchestown. He was 10L behind the winner in the Supreme on Heavy ground here last year. The ground could be gone for Verdana Blue while Brain Power seemed to relish the return to Hurdles when winning here in December. Espoir D'Allen is interesting having won his three starts this season and had pretty solid juvenile form last season. However 5yo's can sometimes find the step up a bit daunting. Having seen Apple's Jade perform this year it's hard to oppose her while hoping that the issues from last year won't resurface.
Selection; Apple's Jade
Best Alternative; Buveur D'Air

4.10pm The David Nichoson Mares Hurdle (2m3f200y)
It's 10/11 Benie Des Dieux and 6/1 and better the rest with Willie Mullins having the top three in the betting. The favourite is unbeaten in five runs since coming over from France including this race last year. She hasn't run since Punchestown but Mullins has worked the oracle before with Quevega. Limini is next best at 6/1 and finished a couple of lengths behind Presenting Percy in the Galmoy which was an improvement on her previous starts since winning on the flat in September. Stormy Island fell at the last in the Triumph here last year. She's had some useful form since then and if she settles in the race should be in the shake up. Lady Buttons looks a bit of each way value given her recent form when winning twice over fences and twice over hurdles while Roksana has only her second start of the season having finished 11L behind Buveur D'Air. Back in April at Aintree she sinished just over 1L behind Santini over an extended 3m. Mia's Storm has won her last two since reverting to hurdles but probably needs better ground. It's hard to oppose Benie Des Dieux who Ruby Walsh described as his best chance of the week
Selection; Benie Des Dieux
Best Alternative; Lady Buttons (ew)

5.30pm National Hunt Amature Riders Novices' Chase (3m7f147)
A novice chase with Amature Riders. What could go wrong you say. Well it says a lot for the standard of Amature riders in Ireland that most of the British trainers have snapped them up for this race. Ok Corral was staying on when second in the Albert Bartlett here last year. He was probably over the top by the time Aintree came around. He reappeared at Plumpton in December winning a Novice over 3m1f on soft before catching a lot of peoples atention when Deek O'Connor came over to win on him in impressive style at Warwick. Ballyward was left clear at the last at Naas back in January when Discorama crashed out while upsides. Ballyward had finished a 6L fourth in the Albert Bartlett last year while Discorama came from way back to finish a 5L second in the Martin Pipe. Le Breuil will have the assistance of Jamie Codd. His best run in five starts over fences this season was probably when 8L behind Santini over 3m at Newbury on soft. Jerrysback has had jumping issues and this is a trip into the unknown although he did win a 4yo point on Soft ground. Chef Des Obeaux pulled up in the Albert Bartlett last year and behind Santini at Aintree but showed his current well being when winning over 3m2f at Chepstow last time on his third start over fence having unseated rider the time before. Gun Digger wears the tongue tie and cheek pieces for the first time as Gordon Elliott tries to win this for the third time but it would be a leap of faith to wade in on him. Its hard to see anything else getting in the picture but this is Cheltenham. However I've had Ok Corral earmarked for this for a while and Le Breuil might be an each way alternative.
Selection; Ok Corral
Best Alternative; Le Breuil (ew)

March 2nd

Kelso (Going; Good To Soft)

Kelso Novices Hurdle (2m2f)
Just six runners for this Grade 2. Getaway Trump is favourite on the back of some useful form. On his penultimate start he was beaten  just over 2L by Champ in  a Grade 1 at Newbury over an extended 2m4f  2L and then wasn't disgraced when finishing behind Al Dancer in the big handicap hurdle at Ascot two weks ago. He's top rated at 143 just 1LB above Rouge Vif. The latter has won twice and been runner up twice in his last four starts. His runner up spot on his penultimate start was his best form arguably when beaten almost 3L by Mister Fisher who went on to win a Grade 2 next time. Windsor Avenue is another progressive sort although he's rated 9LB behind Getaway Trump. He has won two of his four hurdle starts both over 2m4f, the last one by 15L. He was beaten 2L by Al Dancer on his debut over hurdles back in October over 2m1f. He races prominently so a good pace should ensue though the drop back in trip is a worry. Get Out The Gate didn't show a lot in three runs for Paul Nicholls but the switch to Jim Goldie and better ground seems to have brought about an improvement. However he has a bit to find on the ratings to figure here. The remainder have a lot to do although Fergal O'Brien's Strong Glance runs here first time back from a wind op and with a tongue tie. He won two of his three Bumpers so any market moves should be noted. The pace of the race at Ascot didn't suit Getaway Trump and he should get plenty of it here.
Selection; Getaway Trump
Best Altetrnative; Windsor Avenue 

February 24th

Naas (Going; Good)

Paddy Power Novice Hurdle (2m)
Eight runners for thius Grade 2 and Gordon Elliott has the clear favourite in Chosen Mate. Having won his point last October he was purchased by Elliott for £32,000 and it might prove to be a bargain in time. He was then an impressive winner of his Maiden before going down by under 1L to a useful Mare who was getting 7LB in a Listed Hurdle. Prince D'Aubrelle was 22L behind. The latter has only had two runs since October 2015 and is a 9yo. Connections must believe they can get him back to the form hr showed in 2015 when he ran up a hat trick in Bumpers. He won on his penultimate start in May last year but was then off until that run in at Punchestown. Jetez was very disappointing in a big handicap at Leopardstown thre weeks ago having won and been runner up to Felix Desjy in a Grade 2 on his previous two starts. Milan Native won his Maiden Hurdle having finished a distant third behind Neptune in a Bumper , his only two starts. As a 4yo Hannon gets a lot of weight from the others. He won his maiden on his second start and his trainer should have an idea of his ability having had a Grade 3 winner during the week. Court Maid was well beaten in a handicap hurdle at earlier this month having run up a hat trick prior to that. Two of those wins came at 3m and 2m4f. Chosen Mate is the selection.
Selection; Chosen Mate
Best Alternative; Hannon 

Fontwell (Good To Soft)

National Spirit Hurdle (2m3f)
Seven runners for this Grade 2 and the market is headed by If The Cap Fits. He returned to action after an eleven month break in November going down by just over 2L to Verdana Blue. He then beat Old Guard over an extended 2m3f at Ascot before  finishing a 6L third to Verdana Blue in a Grade 1 at Christmas. Ballymoy has won six of his nine starts over hurdles and probably found the 3m at Sandown on soft ground beyond him the last day. Ground and trip should suit and he is in the mix. The top five in the betting are covered by 5LB in the ratings. Old Guard is the second highest rated with 154 but has been unable to get his head in front in eight starts since winning this race last year. On his third last start he was beaten just over 1L over the extended 2m3f at Ascot by If The Cap Fits who was getting 6LB. There's only 1LB between those two in the ratings. Vision Des Flos backs up last weeks third to Grand Sancy in a Grade 2 where he got tapped for speed over 2m. Prior to that he was a 2L runner up to Buveur D'Air at Sandown although it ha sto be said the latter won in a canter. Nonetheless Vision Des Flos has run some solid races. He gets 4LB from the top two and has a big chance. Lil Rockerfeller won this in 2016 and was runner up last year. He went chasing this year and won his first three before unseating at Cheltenham and then well beaten by Vindication. He returned to hurdles at Cheletenham in January where he was well beaten by Paisley Park. He's had a wind op since. I've always felt Vision Des Flos needed further than 2m and this might be his chance to fulfill some of his early promise.
Selection; Vision Des Flos
Best Alternative; If The Cap Fits

February 23rd

Kempton (Going; Good)

Pendil Novices Chase (2m4f110y)
Just four go to post for this Grade 2 and Bags Grove drops back in trip after a disappointing run behind La Bague Au Roi her at Christmas. Prior to that he had run up a hat trick including beating Secret Investor at Wincanton over this trip on Good Ground. The latter has been runner up on both his chase starts, finishing behind OK Corral over 3m at Warwick last month. Castafiore has won her last two over fences. At Haydock the last time she had some useful hores behind and could be improving. Good Man Pat is another who is improving having won his last start at Plumpton. Bags Grove is the highest rated but Castafiore gets 7LB from him and might cause a surprise.
Selection; Castafiore
Best Alternative; Secret Investor

Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (2m)
Thirteen go to post for this Grade 2 and it's probably a race to watch rather than play in. The fact that it's 9/2 and better the field tells it's own story and the betting market should be watched. Nicky Henderson always has to be respected in these contests and Fusil Raffles has his first start for him here having won once and finished second in two starts in France. Giving Glances has won two of her three starts, both on good ground. All three of her runs have been against her own sex so it's hard to know how she'll fare against the boys. Paul Nicholls has won this twice with Hurdles debutants and Ecco has a similar profile here. He was disappointing in the German Derby on his last run in July and has been gelded since. Nicholls also has Red Force Run who is having his second run back after a wind op. His last start was a nice warm up when finishing second in a flat race at Kempton. Petite Palais won his only start over Hurdles and was bought out of John Gosden's for £26,000. Plenty of others have potential to improve but I 'll take a chance with Red Force One although caution is advised.
Selection; Red Force One
Best Alternative; Fusil Raffles

Dovecote Noices Hurdle (2m)
Angels Breath won his only start in a Point over 3m and then was thrown in at the deep end at Ascot in a Grade 2  over 2m but only had to jump four hurdles when beating Danny Kirwan. Having finished second in this on his Hurdles debut last year, Scarlet Dragon was beaten a long way on soft at Liverpool. He was then kept busy on the Flat and is rated 106. He resumed hurdling at Huntingdon last month and won by over 4L. He took a keen hold that day and made a few mistakes but should be sharper now, The runner up won next time as did the fourth. The above two are clear of the rest in the betting but I wouldn't discount Southfield Stone who won a Bumper and two hurdles before finishing over 3L behind Elixir De Nutz at Sandown. He got beating on his last start over 2m3f just over 1L by a horse who was getting 7LB. The drop back in trip here is interesting. Rouge Vif has plenty of experience and has won two and place second twice in his five starts over hurdles. There is plenty of support for Scarlet Dragon but I think Southfield Stone is overpriced at 12/1 (William Hill and Bet 365) and could be a bit of Each Way Value
Selection; Southfield Stone (Each Way)
Best Alternative; Scarlet Dragon