Next Race Preview

February 18th

Navan (Going; Heavy)

Boyne Hurdle (2m5f)
The race has cut up badly with just four declared but in effect it is a match between Bapaume ands Diamond Cauchois. The former looked pretty decent last year when runner up to Mega Fortune and then just 5L behind Defi Du Seuil at Cheltenham before winning a Grade 1 at Punchestown on Good to Yielding. He appeared not to stay the 3m behind Apple's Jade at Leopardstown at Christmas which was his seasonal debut and then disappointed in the Champion Hurdle over 2m at the same course a fortnight ago. Diamond Cauchois has improved no end since joining Gordon Elliott this season and his three runs have yielded one win here at Navan over 2m4f sandwiched in between a couple of third places, the last one behind Presenting Percy at Gowran over 3m on Heavy ground. It's a difficult choice but Bapaume is favoured by the ratings.
Selection; Bapaume
Best Alternative; Diamond Cauchois

Ten Up Novice Chase (3m)
Five go to post for this test of stamina. Monbeg Notorious was thrown into the Thyestes off 10st 2lb and duly obliged by 11L earning a 13LB rise in the ratings from the handicapper. He appeared to enjoy the Heavy surface but back in mid-December he was beaten 18L by Moulin A Vent. The latter can make mistakes but ironically benefited from the fall of Mossback at Naas the last time, quickening up well from the last in first time blinkers to run away from Jury Duty who has been very consistent but maybe finds this trip in heavy ground a bit too far. C'est Jersey has only his second start over the larger obstacles and steps up to this trip for the first time.
Selection; Monbeg Notorious
Best Alternative; Moulin A Vent

February 17th

Ascot (Going; Soft)

Reynoldstown Novices Chase (2m7f180y)
Just four runners with Black Corton, back after a fifty six day break, the top rated horse. Trainer Paul Nicholls says he has left plenty to work on and that he'll improve for the run. He's won seven of his nine starts this season and has improved with every run. Ms Parfois is an improving mare and gets 7LB from Black Corton which puts her close to the latter. She's come in for plenty of support. She jumps and stays well and I think might just be that bit sharper than Black Corton. Mount News was a useful hurdler last season finishing second in a Grade 1 hurdle at Aintree. He has just the two starts over fences winning one and second the other. He could benefit if the top two are not on their game.
Selection; Ms Parfois
Best Alternative; Black Corton

Ascot Chase (2m5f)
Seven runners for what could be a cracking contest. Top Notch is a course and distance winner and acts on the soft ground. He comes here off  nice break and is reported to be in great form. Waiting Patiently is five from five over fences and has had just three other starts over hurdles winning one and second twice. This is just his third start this season and he should improve for his last run. Coney Island was impressive over course and distance after a twelve month break here at Christmas. His previous start eas going down by under a length to Our Duke. Cue Card won this last year and the trainer is very bullish about his chances. However it's hard to be confident and he's beat watched. Frodon is interesting having got a big hike in the ratings after his last run. However, two runs before that he was well beaten by Top Notch. Slight preference is for the battle hardened Top Notch.
Selecion; Top Notch
Best Alternative; Waiting Patiently

Gowran Park (Going; Heavy)

Red Mills Chase (2m4f)
Five runners but an intriguing contest. Our Duke aims to improve on his comeback run following his operation for Kissing spines. He made a bad mistake on that comeback run at Leopardstown and may have been coming to the end of his tether. He's coming here off just a fourteen day break which might be a concern. Presenting Percy is only a novice but he put a field of handicappers to the sword , giving weight to them all, at Fairyhouse in December. He then put in a very good performance over hurdles at Gowran. Bar one run his jumping has been impeccable. A Toi Phil is a course and distance winner on similar ground and is consistent enough. Valseur Lido was disappointing on his second run following a twelve month lay off. He drops back in trip here and is probably best watched as is Ballycasey who won a poor renewal of this last year and has disappointed on his last two runs. I think Presenting Percy can win this with his jumping.
Selection; Presenting Percy
Best Alternative; A Toi Phil

Haydock (Going; Heavy)

Rendlesham Hurdle (2m6f177y)
If the ratings are correct this is Agrapart's to loose. Third to Zarkander last year, beaten 4L on unsuitable ground and giving the winner 8Lb, Agrapart proved his worth around Cheltenham on heavy ground over 3m last time to win a Grade 2. Zarkander is 8LB worse off here and pulled up here back in November on his only start this season. Boite is stepping up to this trip for the first time but will have to improve. No Hassle Hoff has disappointed on his last two runs having won a handicap off top weight he run before.  Donna's Diamond won around here over the distance last time winning by 37Lafter being out for fourteen months.
Selection; Agrapart
Best Alternative; No Hassle Hoff

Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle (Prestige Hurdle) (2m6f177y)
Chef Des Obeaux appreciated the step up in trip last time when romping home by 9L from the useful Secret Investor. On his seasonal debut over 2m4f and first run over hurdles he was beaten 4L by stablemate Santini who is third favourit for the Albert Bartlet at Cheltenham.  Shannon Bridge was beaten a short head last time by Enniscoffey Oscar. He tends to hang left so might be helped on this left handed circuit. Golden Fortune has won three handicaps this season and came off the pace at Sandown two weeks ago to finish second in a Group 3 albeit getting 12LB from the winner. This is a step up. Coole Hall has won three of his four starts this season but this is a big step up.
Selection; Chef Des Obeaux
Best Alternative; Coole Hall

Wincanton (Going; Heavy)

Kingwell Hurdle (1m7f65y)
Ch'Tibello put up a great performance last time at Haydock when going down by jut under a length to The New One. He has won on Heavy ground, at Haydock in November 16 and in his four starts since has run with credit in Graded company. He wears a tongue tie for the first time here. Call Me Lord has had just the three starts since coming from France winning twice and third in the other, all in handicaps. The last win came at Sandown on Heavy ground and coming from Nicky Henderson's has to be respected. Elgin disappointed last time having won a Grade 3 and a listed hurdle on his previous two starts. He has to concede 3LB to the top two. Cliffs Of Dover is six from seven over hurdles but hasn't run since December 2016. All his wins have come on good ground but his handler, Paul Nicholls is desperate to get a run into him before the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. Ch'Tibello is given another chance here.
Selection; Ch'Tibello
Best Alternative; Call Me Lord

February 16th

Sandown (Going; Heavy)

Jane Seymour Mares Novice Hurdle (2m3f173y)
A very trick contest where stamina will be all important. If You Say Run was a 30L runner up to Marai's Benefit over 2m at Taunton last time with All Currencies a further 20L behind. Prior to that If You Say Run had won on heavy over 2m. She was hanging left in the race before that going right handed at Ludlow, which is a concern here, at long odds on having won her three previous starts all on going from Good to Good to Soft. Paul Nicholls her trainer is worried about getting the trip in this ground. All Currencies put that Taunton run behind her with a nice performance when finishing well on top over 2m4f on Soft ground. Melangarie was favourite at Worcester Lback in October but made a mistake tow out when coming to challenge and hung right thereafter finishing 8l behind All Currencies. She steps up in trip for the first time but having won two Bumpers over 2m1f this trip shouldn't be a problem. Midnight Tune bombed out at ascot the last time while on a hat trick. Nothing showed up for that disappointing run and if she returns to her form of the previous two runs she has a chance. Sensulano has just had the five runs the last three at Warwick where she finally got her head in front on her last outing over 2m5f on Heavy Ground. She has a few pound to find to be in the mix but looks to be improving. Oh Michelle had her first start after an absence of three hundred and forty nine days  when wearing a tongue tie for the first time and having her first start over hurdles she was runner up to The Vocalist over 2m4f in Soft ground. She travelled very well in the race so may have needed it and should improve. It's hard to see any of the others being involved. In a difficult race to way up slight preference is for All Currencies.
Selection; All Currencies
Best Alternative; Melangerie

February 10th

Newbury (Going; Soft)

Denman Chase (2m7f86y)
Disappointing field of just three runners for this and one of them an odds on favourite, Native River, who hasn't run since the Gold Cup three hundred and thirty days ago with the outsider of the three Saphir Du Rheu who hasn't run since the Grand National three hundred and eight days ago. The third horse, Cloudy Dream, ran sixty three days ago when the heavy ground at Aintree found his stamina out over 3m1f. That last bit of form was boosted when the winner, Definitely Red won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham. It's not a race to get heavily involved in and in the last three seasons Native River hasn't won on his first start back. Fitness and dropping back in trip might be enough to swing it in Cloudy Dream's favour.
Selection; Cloudy Dream
Best Alternative; Saphir De Rheu

Game Spirit Chase (2m92y)
Another three runner field and an odds on favourite in Altior who hasn't run in two hundred and eighty seven days. Nick Henderson has said he'd like to get a race into Altior who had a wind operation although he also says he's working fantastically and his wind is fantastic. Politilogue has won his three starts this season and on ratings has just 5LB to find with Altior which might not be too hard given his fitness. The third horse Valdez hasn't run since October 2014. It's not a race to play in to much but if you have to then a small wager on Politologue might be better value.
Selection; Politilogue
Best Alternative; Altior

Warwick (Soft)

Kingmaker Novices Chase (2m54y)
Just the four runners and another odds on favourite but this time probably deserved. Saint Calvados has won his two starts since coming over from France having been three from four over hurdles. Both those British wins were in Novice Handicap Chases where he carried top weight. North Hill Harvey who beat Sceau Royal on Good ground at Cheltenham three runs ago was well beaten by the latter at Sandown on his last run sixty three days ago. Diego Du Charmil and Drumcliff have a lot to find at the ratings. If this was a handicap Saint Calvados would be given 2LB to North Hill Harvey but the conditions of the race mean he's getting 7LB from him which swings it in his favour.
Selection; Saint Calvados
Best Alternative; North Hill Harvey

February 4th

Leopardstown (Soft)

Spring Juvenile Hurdle
Six go to post for this and Espoir D'Allen has beaten four of them in previous encounters. Farclas is the one who got closest to him when going down by just over 1L here at Christmas. That was the latter's first start over hurdles and he will definitely improve for that. Mitchouka who was over 4L behind Espoir D'allen at Fairyhouse halved that gap at Christmas in the above race. Mr Adjudicator got off to a winning start over Hurdles for Willie Mullins with an impressive win around here at Christmas and should be in the mix. He's the one horse in the field who hasn't met Espoir D'Allen yet. Joseph O'Brien sprung a surprise in the first race on Saturday and runs Grey Waters who is still a maiden over hurdles. Espoir D'allen hasn't let us down yet and with a strong run race he can go in again.
Selection; Espoir D'Allen
Best Alternative; Farclas

Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2m)
All eyes will be on Samcro to see if he can live up to all the hype generated about him. In firness he's unbeaten in five starts under rules and in his only start in a point. He's won his two hurdle starts by an aggregrate of 27L. On his last start he had Jtz 12L back in second and the latter ran a huge race on Saturday in the Grade 1. Sharjah is one of four Willie Mullins runners. He looked to have the winning of a Grade 1 Novice at Christmas only to fall at the last as did his more favoured stablemate Real Steel. Paul Townend takes the mount here. He's 100/30 second favourite and it's 14/1 bar the first two. Debuchet was a beaten favourite in a maiden hurdle at Christmas going down by 3L on his first start since April. It's interesting that he's pitched in here by Mags Mullins. Early Doors has had some good runs and finished 5L behind Mengli Khan in the Grade 1 Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and 25/1 looks a tempting each way as it does for Paloma Blue who won a Maiden Hurdle here at Christmas.
Selection; Samcroe
Best Alternative; Sharjah

Flogas Novice Chase (2m5f)
A tricky contest where jumping could well be the deciding factor. Good to see eleven runners going to post which offers a bit of each way value. Monalee was very impressive on his chase debut at Punchestown in November but took a horrid fall here at Christmas when looking likely to be involved. Sutton Place got his Novice Chase career off to a good start at Fairyhouse on New Years Day which was his first run since April. He warmed to his task after some iffy jumping early on and won comfortably enough in the end. He was rated 160 over hurdles which suggests he can reach high rang in the Chasing Division. Invitation Only put a fall on his first start over fences behind him when winning his two subsequent races. He was beaten 15L by stablemate Al Boum Photo on his last start over hurdles last April. The latter won on his chasing debut but fell at Limerick with the race at his mercy. His jumping prior to that had been impressive and he travelled beautifully. Snow Falcon had two good efforts behind Mossback and Death Duty before winning around here comprehensively at Christmas. Rated 159 over hurdles he's another who could take high rank over fences. In a wide open race I'm looking for a bit of each way value and Snow Falcon fits the bill
Selection; Snow Falcon (each way)
Best Alternative; Sutton Place 

Irish Gold Cup (3m)
Our Duke is on a recovery mission following his reported problems at Down Royal. You just wonder if Jesse Harrington has him fully wound up for this and woud be happy with a clear round and decent performance. Anibale Fly caused a surprise when winning the big Handicap Chase here at Christmas. He was a decent Novice last season winning two from six and probably put up his best perfromance when running Disko to 5L at Punchestown. Kilulltagh Vic returned after a long absence at Punchestown in December winning a Hurdle race from the useful Ex Patriot. Outlander loves Leopardstown, winning four of his five starts around here including last Season's Lexus. He ran another good race in this years renewal beaten just over 3L by Road To Respect.  Djakadam pulled up in the latter race and maybe it came to soon after  the John Durkan. Valseur Lido's last two races have been the last two runnings of the Lexus Chase. According to connection he's improved for that run. Minella Rocco was just ahead of Valseur Lido in the Leopardston Chase. He's yet to reproduce last season's Gold Cup run where he was just under 3L behind Sizing John. It's hard to see any of the others getting involved. Now that Anibale Fly has stepped up in trip he could progress further.
Selection; Anibale Fly
Best Alternative; Outlander

Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (2m)
On her bare form on the track Colreevy is plenty short in the betting but in her only point she fell when pressing for the lead and the first three have all won since. In this race it may pay to follow the money. Cordovan Brown won on her debut at Punchestown before just going down to subsequent Hurdle winner Crackerdancer at Navan in November. That would put her ahead of Lady Ischia who was a long way behind in the Navan race and whose run behind Rapid Escape was let down by that one's performance on Saturday. Relegate looks to be the second Mullins string but won her only start. Motown Girl has a line with the favourite through Getaway Katie Mai, for whom Nina Carberry has been booked, who she finished second to in a Ballinrobe Bumper last August. Patrick Mullins rode her that day so should have an idea how good the favourite is. Motown Girl was then an easy winner on soft ground at Limerick in December with the second winning her next two starts. Tintangle has yet to run but the Gigginstown/Elliott/O'Neill combination has to be respected.. I think the favourite is no value and Motown Girl appeals as each way value.
Selection; Motown Girl (each way)
Best Alternative; Cordovan Brown

February 3rd

Leopardstown (Soft, Yielding in places on Chase course)

A huge weekend for Racing at the Foxrock venue where some Cheltenham Dreams will be dented while some more combatants are on a redemption  mission

Nathaniel & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (2m6f)
Seven go to post for this Grade 1 and Dortmund Park has been hammered in the betting (now 15/8 fav). He was hugely impressive when winning a good Novice Hurdle at Thurles where he travelled beautifully through the race and powred home to win by 16L. The one concern is that it is only thirteen days since his last run although he gets 2LB from his main rivals. Fabulous Saga has won his last two starts, both over 3m, although it has to be said that his jumping wasn't perfect the last day in Limerick. I just think the trip could be a shade short for him here. Carter McKay was beaten a long way by stablemate Getabird at Punchestown last time over 2m and having won a Bumper over 2m3f at Naas a year ago, staying will be his forte and the going will suit. Dicey O'Reilly takes a step up here although as a point winner the trip shouldn't be a problem. We can ignore his first run over hurdles as he had a problem and he put in a nice performance next time around here over 2m4f winning what could turn out to be a hot maiden. Jetz has come up against a few hotpots and might have to give way here again. In a race where it is difficult to match up the form Dortmund Park gets a slight edge on the basis of the manner of his win last time
Selection; Dortmund Park
Best Alternative; Fabulous Saga

Coral Dublin Chase (2m1f)
Yorkhill drops back in trip in an effort to redeem himself after his latest flop here in the Christmas Chase over 3m  where he weakened quickly after two out. He is quirky but there's no doubt that he is talented having run up a hat trick of wins from 2m to 2m4f last season before throwing The Ryanair Gold Cup away at Fairyhouse where he tried to go out through the wing at the last. His current odds of 4/5 look a bit skinny to me. Stablemate Min couldn't shake off Simply Ned here at Christmas and ended up losing the race in the Stewards Room. I'd be hoping for an improved performance from Min here while Simply Ned,who has always run well around here, could be in the shake up again. The ground is probably not there for Special Tiara who will be looking for a confidence booster after falling at Kempton.
Selection; Min
Best Alternative; Simply Ned

Arkle Novice Chase (2m1f)
Footpad has been electric in his two starts over the larger obstacles and looks hard to beat here holding Any Second Now on the last runaround Course and Distance here at Christmas. Petit Mouchoir has been off with a slight injury since winning on his Chase debut back in October and while he appears to have had the measure of Footpad over hurdles the latter has looked different class over Fences. Demi Sang is an interesting recruit for Mullins/McManus but he and Tycoon Prince would appear to be looking for crumbs.
Selection; Footpad
Best Alternative; Petit Mouchoir

Champion Hurdle (2m)
All eyes will be on Faugheen to see if he can comeback from his inexplicable run here at Christmas. It could well be that he suffered from the dreaded mysterious bounce i.e. when a horse makes a winning return after a long absence and then runs poorly next time. Some might also say that the sands of time are catching up on him but it's worth remembering that Brave Inca won the race as an 11yo while the great Hurricane Fly won it as a 10yo and 11yo. Punters will no doubt be looking for value with Bookies betting without Faugheen who is favourite at 11/10 at the moment. Melon wears a hood for the first time in attempt to get him to settle and his run behind My Tent Or Yours and The New One in Cheltenham seven weeks ago puts him in here with a chance. Defi Du Seuil hoovered up the Juvenile Division last season bu scoped dirty after disappointing on hi seasonal reappearance at Ascot in November. He's been given a break since and is of interest. Mick Jazz benefitted from Faugheen's flop at Christmas but will need something similar to happen here. Supasundae probably needs further while Bapaume and Jezki, the latter fitted with blinkers for the first time, have it all to do. Identity Thief's season fell apart last year and this former winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is on a recovery mission but could run better than his 50/1 price.
Selection; Melon
Best Alternative; Defi Du Seuil

Goffs Future Stars I.N.H. Flat Race (2m)
Rapid Escape looked a serious horse when winning his point a year ago at Tinahealy and he was subsequently bought for £240,000. He hasn't disappointed since winning his last three starts after a promising run in the Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown. It's interesting that Willie Mullins relies on Blackbow as his main hope here. He showed good battling qualities when headed inside the final Furlong here at Christmas to rally and go on and win by almost 4L. He's likely to have improved from that as it was his first run since his only other run which was a winning one in a point in England last March. Rhinestone was a very impressive winner at Thurles in Heavy ground after which his jockey said he would improve for nicer ground. Jockey bookings suggest Minella Encore is second choice for Mullins while Brace Yourself beat a Gordon Elliot Favourite into second place in a Down Royal Bumper at Christmas and could be anything and 12/1 could appeal to followers of the Meade/Carberry combination for Each Way value. On a strict line through the Holy One there's not much between Rapid Escape and Blackbow while Rhinestone looked a lovely prospect at Thurles where he beat a well touted  and odds on Favourite of Willie Mullins.
Selection; Rhinestone
Best Alternative; Blackbow

Sandown (Going; Soft, Good to Soft in places)

Scilly Isles Novices' Chase (2m4f)
Just five go to post for this Grade 1 with the combination of Simon Munir/ Isaac Souede ably assisted by Nicky Hendrson providing the favourite Terrefort who despite winning only twice from ten starts in France started favourite on his UK debut and won impressively. Kalondra put up a smart effort in a four runner Novice at Cheltenham in December when the outsider in the field despite havng won on his chase debut when favourite and finishing runner up to Modus in a Grade 2. Fences seem to have made Cyrname who is two wins and a second from his three starts over the larger obstacles. He beat the useful Shantou Rock in the Grade 2 at Kempton at Christmas drawing steadily away and should relish the conditions here. Colin Tizzard had three winners on Thursday indicating a possible return to form for the yard and runs West Approach here. His best form over fences has come at 2m3f and 2m5f while he has been well beaten twice over 3m. No Comment faces a tough introduction to fences here and is best watched. Nicky Henderson has won three of the last five renewals of the race and the owners of Terrefort have won the last three and may collect again.
Selection; Terrefort
Best Alternative; Cyrname

Wetherby (Going; Heavy, Soft in places)

Towton Novices Chase
Three miles on thus ground will test these novices. Ballyoptic was a highly rated staying hurdler with his best mark 162. He won his first start at Exeter but made a couple of crucial errors next time at Cheltenham and was not fluent at all when beaten out of sight at Kempton. He had a few "F's" in front of his name over hurdles so he comes with a health warning. Vintage Cloud had a tough race in testing conditions at Chepstow four weeks ago. He's another one who has fallen a few times. Ami Desbois was reported to have a breathing problem after pulling up behind Yanworth at Cheltenham in January. He doesn't appear to have had his wind done and although he has won his previous two starts around here they were over shorter trips on better ground than he'll get here. Having fallen in this race last year and disappointed on seasonal return Dan Skelton fitted blinkers to Captain Chaos and they seem to have transformed him as he won his next two starts and there could be more to come. Pearl Royal is taking a step up in class and trip after just one start over fences although he did win on Heavy ground the last day. With question marks about a few slight preference is for Captain Chaos
Selection; Captain Chaos
Best Alternative; Pearl Royale

January 27th

Cheltenham (Going; Soft)

Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (2m179Y)
Just six go to post and Apple's Shakira is long odds on to collect. Her two starts have come here at Cheltenham and she's won both. An interesting newcomer is Elixir De Nutz who won his only start in France. John Quinn doesn't have many jumpers these days but won the Triumph proper in 2012 with Countrywide Flame. He's represented here by Look My Way who was beaten 2L by Act Of Valour at Newcastle before winning a Juvenile Hurdle as he liked at Ludlow. He's worth keeping an eye on. 
Selection; Apple's Shakira
Best Alternative; Elixir De Nutz

Cotswold Chase (3m1f56y)
Excuses were made for Bristol De Mai's poor run in the King George and he was also flattered by the winning margin at Haydock. Add in that he probably needs Heavy ground to be seen at his best and his price 13/8 looks pretty skinny here. American pulled a shoe in the Hennessy and was pulled up but before that had won four of his six starts under rules. He should have a bit more improvement in him. Definitely Red won a Grade 2 at Aintree last time in a four horse race where it's hard to see if the other three lasted home in the heavy ground. The Last Samurai hasn't won in almost two years although lightly raced while Tea For Two ran up to hs career high behind Might Bite in the King George. American looks a bit of value.
Selection; American
Best Alternative Tea For Two

Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle (2m4f56y)
Pacific Baune is the choice of Nico De Boinville over his stablemate Santini. The latter beat another stablemate Chef Des Obeaux on his only start under rules and the latter has come out and won twice since. Pacific De Baune himself was an easy winner of a maiden hurdle at Newbury on his only start under rules having finished second to the useful Knight In Dubai in his only point. Mulcahy's Hill nearly did us a huge favour at Newbury just getting chinned in a Grade 1. He is a lot more battled hardened than some of these which can be an advantage. There is rain forecast which can only help. Black Op wears a tongue tie and the trainer is worried he might prefer a flat track. New tactics and a new bit a mooted for Slate House who pulled too hard the last time. Mulcahy's Hill is worth another chance
Selection; Mulcahy's Hill
Best Alternative; Pacific De Baune

Cleeve Hurdle (2m7f213y)
 Ten go to post and it looks an open contest. Wholestone finally delivered on the promise of last season when winning around here over 2m4f on Heavy going. Prior to that he had disappointed behind Beer Goggles at Newbury. In his favour is his record around Cheltenham, winning four of his six starts and been placed on the other two. Finian's Oscar returns to hurdles after not convincing on his last two starts. He wears a tongue tie for the first time. The Worlds End was well beaten by Sam Spinner on his last two starts. He won a Grade 1 at Aintree last April and seems versatile ground wise. Agrapart ran his best race in a while behind Wholestone last time but is very inconsistent. The tragic death of Richard Wollacott has cast a shadow over racing this week and Beer Goggles runs here with his wife down as trainer. He won at Newbury when not fancied by many although some of the clock watchers had noted his speed figures prior to that. Could it be written in the stars. Colin's Sister and Thomas Campbell will also have their supporters but I'm going with the course specialist Wholestone.
Selection; Wholestone
Best Alternative; Agrapart


Lightening Novices Chase (2m78y)
Just four go to post for this Grade 2 and it looks that Sceau Royal will collect bar a fall. He won his last two starts impressively and is currently second favourite for the Arkle Trophy. Adrien Du Pont drops back in trip but bar a disaster for the favourite will be battling for the minor honours.
Selection; Sceau Royal
Best Alternative; Adrien Du Pont

River Don Novices Hurdle (3m84y)
Indian Hawk is highly regarded by Nicky Henderson and Davy Russell travels over to take the ride. He won his only start over hurdles with ease having romped home in only his second point. Station Master is the easy winner of two average Novice Hurdles and this is a step up. His trainer Kim Bailey has to be respected. Calett Mad has had a wind op and the soft ground might nit be a help. Samuel Jackson has won his two hurdle starts. He has decent speed figures and could be thereabouts. Enniscoffey Oscar got his head in front at the fourth attempt over hurdles has some decent Bumper form in the book. Nicky Henderson doesn't tilt at windmills so Indian Hawk gets the vote.
Selection; Indian Hawk
Best Alternative; Samuel Jackson

Yorkshire Rose Mares Novices Hurdle (2m128y)
Six go to post and Maria's Benefit is the standout horse. She's bidding for a five timer having hosed in by 30L on her last start at Taunton. Dusky Legend is consistent but frustrating and reverts to hurdling having fallen last time and been placed on her previous six starts. Irish Roe is progressive having won her last two starts over course and distance. Dame Rose had Maria's Benefit behind when winning the Bumper on this card last year and when winning a Grade 2 at Aintree in April and is not out of it.
Selection; Maria's Benefit
Best Alternative; Dame Rose