Cheltenham 12.45 – JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)
ICEO (2/1) very impressive on his British debut scoring by 17 lengths. Although the form has not worked out to anything special, he jumped with fluency and did it very impressively. I think he’s the most probable leader and could go on to score from the front.
Gordon Elliot sends PIED PIPER (11/8) over the Irish Sea after one win in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown. That was his first run over hurdles after what was an above average flat career. However, that was on heavy ground and most of his impressive flat runs were also on slow going. With no rain forecast he will not get his ground.
Gary Moore’s MOULINS CLERMONT (8/1) has been very well backed on both of his runs in England and is held in high regard in the stable. He will need to brush up his jumping if he wants to feature.
INTERNE DE SIVOLA won a good juvenile hurdle here at Cheltenham last time out. The 2nd and 3rd of that race both have come out and won since. They went a crawl that day and with Iceo likely to go off at a good gallop I do not think the race will be as easy this time.
Doncaster 1:35 – Lighting Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
THIRD TIME LUCKI (8/13) returns to track after being turned over by the mighty impressive Edwardstone at Sandown in December. He seemed to be going well before finding nothing around the home turn, but he was keen and if he could settle better, he should be able to win a race of this nature.
FOR PLEASURE (7/2) is the likely leader in this 3 runner race. He won nicely from the front beating a nice horse of Gary Moore’s by 37 lengths at Plumpton. He could be well up to taking this if Third Time Lucki doesn’t turn up.
DO YOUR JOB (10/3) rounds up the field who was also stuck behind Edwardstone last time out. Intriguing that all 3 runners have been beaten by Edwardstone at some point this season.
Doncaster 2:10 – Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
MIRANDA (4/5) was ready winner at Ludlow after a fine ride from Angus Cheleda after she planted at the start and was down 10 lengths before getting up on the line. She would prefer it if the ground came up soft and that doesn’t look likely.
John McConnell sends ANNA BUNINA (7/2) after finishing well behind Tommy’s Oscar at Musselburgh. She was impressive in the Scottish champion hurdle before that and return to that kind of form could show her in better light.
WESTERN VICTORY (5/1) had won some good races in Ireland before moving to Emma Lavelle’s yard. She was disappointing on her UK debut but if she still retains her ability, she should be going very close in this. She also gets her desired good ground.
MISS HERITAGE (5/1) & DAZZLING GLORY (18/1) are the other 2 runners and would have to improve significantly to show.
Cheltenham 2:30 – Paddy Power Cotswold Chase (Grade 2)
CHANTRY HOUSE (10/11) is on a mission to get back to winning ways after a very disappointing run in King George after being backed into favoritism. They went off extremely quickly that day and it tested his jumping but with no out and out front runner in this field he should have things go his way.
SIMPLY THE BETTS (11/4) has a good record at Cheltenham but has stamina to prove as he goes over 3M for the first time.
AYE RIGHT (10/3) has been a phenomenon for Harriet Graham winning a listed handicap last time out and placing in major handicaps last year. This is probably too far out of his range but after his last win, why not have a go!
SANTINI (10/1) has completely lost his way since coming 2nd in the Gold Cup and would need a significant step up to feature.
Doncaster 2:45 – Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
UNANSWERED PRAYERS (5/2) heads the field of 7 for trainer Chris Gordon. He won pretty cosily at Wincanton last time beating a good horse of Paul Nicholls. Joshua Moore takes the ride this time and could cut through the field late on to take this.
MY BOBBY DAZZLER (9/2) was a good 4th in a strong Cheltenham handicap. A repeat of that performance could see him go very close.
COOLBANE BOY (5/1) took a big step forward to win last time and would need to do the same if wanting to feature in this.
NOT AT PRESENT (11/2) is on a bid for his 4th consecutive victory but steps up significantly in class.
MAHLER MISSION (6/1) won impressively at Sedgefield last time and with James Bowen who is absolutely flying at the moment could further step up and go close in this.
Cheltenham 3:05 – Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2)
Champ (1/2) is a short priced favourite to follow up his win in the long walk hurdle. He jumped very well and travelled strongly throughout however they went a crawl and he quickened clear. This will be very different and with no established front runner in the race it would not surprise me if Jongo O’Neill Jr controlled the fractions up front.
PAISLEY PARK (7/2) looked good at Ascot behind Champ and with this track to suit him more he could put it up to the jolly.
MCFABULOUS (4/1) tries 3M for just the second time after battling up the hill to run on for second last time in the Relkeel hurdle. Trainer Paul Nicholls has been bullish about his chances for the stayers hurdle at the festival so this would give us a better indication of what he can do!
LISNEGAR OSCAR (22/1) & DANDY MAG (40/1) make up the field of 5.
Cheltenham 3:40 – Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)
HILLCREST (6/4) won impressively over C&D on New Year’s Day making all and I cannot see anything different happening on Saturday. He is unbeaten over hurdles and this huge horse has a massive engine and will be relentless from the front.
BALCO COASTAL (13/8) has won both his starts over hurdles for Nicky Henderso. However, neither run has been that impressive and the form is not anything special. He would have to brush up his jumping if wanting to get close to Henry Daly’s star runner.
NORTH LODGE (6/1) beat a couple of already proven winners on his debut at Aintree and that must not be taken lightly. He should step from that debut effort and Alan King holds the horse in high regard. With only the one run at a racetrack he could find things difficult.
Donald McCain’s A DIFFERNT KIND (17/2) is unbeaten from his 5 starts so far under rules. Saying this, he would need to improve further and may not quite have the quality for this race.
12:45 – Iceo 2/1
2:30 – Chantry House 10/11
3:05 – McFabulous 4/1
3:40 – Hillcrest 6/4
1:35 – Third Time Lucki 8/13
2:10 – Western Victory 5/1
2:45 – Unanswered Prayers 3/1