DIG out your money for one of the bankers of the assembly in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. SIR EREC appears a category act.
Sir Erec seems to have an enormous probability of profitable the Triumph Hurdle
He was a Listed winner on the Flat when educated by Aidan O’Brien and he was solely crushed a pair of lengths by prime stayer Stradivarius on Champions’ Day at Ascot.
There wouldn’t be many better Flat horses to have gone hurdling as a four-year-old. If JP McManus is going to have the ability to decide up such well-bred horses from Coolmore frequently he’ll in all probability land on one other Istabraq sooner or later.
I’m not saying Sir Erec goes to be a Champion Hurdler however he’s seemed very particular since switching to the winter job.
His jumping has been good in profitable both his hurdles begins and it could’t do any hurt that coach Joseph O’Brien gained the Festival’s other juveniles’ prize – the Fred Winter – with Band Of Outlaws on Wednesday.
Stablemate Gardens Of Babylon was runner-up behind Sir Erec at Leopardstown final month. He was crushed six lengths nevertheless it’s far from unattainable that he might fill the forecast spot once more. That just exhibits how dominant the favourite is.
Tiger Tap Faucet ran Sir Erec to a neck on his debut but he was left trailing by his previous rival when only fourth last trip. It’s another pointer to the power of the Irish problem.
Quel Destin has gained his last five races. Those wins came in small fields and his Grade 1 defeat of Adjali by a neck provides him lots of floor to make up on Sir Erec.
Pentland Hills gained nicely at Plumpton. Cheltenham is a great distance from there – physically and metaphorically – and delicate floor needs to be a concern.
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THE drinks are on WHISKEY SOUR in the Randox Well being County Hurdle. He was third behind Mohaayed on this race 12 months ago having landed a Grade 1 novices’ hurdle earlier in the season.
He’s a lot better off at the weights this time and has clearly been saved for a shot at this race.
He ran a high-quality race when sixth in the Ebor on the Flat last summer time earlier than his type tailed off in the autumn. It’s no drawback that he’s not run since November as his best type has come when recent.
Willie Mullins additionally runs Mr Adjudicator in a race he’ gained 4 occasions in the last 9 years. Paul Townend’s mount has been seen since chasing house Espoir D’Allen at Naas in November.
That type doesn’t look too dangerous after the winner went and gained the Champion Hurdle.
Éclair De Beaufeu is fascinating. He wasn’t troubled to comply with up his Limerick win at Fairyhouse in January. The Ladbrokes Hurdle he finished fourth in at Leopardstown’s Irish Festival was pink scorching and it wouldn’t surprise me if he had more enchancment in him.
Monsieur Lecoq is progressing shortly. He gained simply at Sandown on his handicap debut and he returned to that monitor on Saturday to run a screamer when runner-up in the Imperial Cup. The more rain there’s the better his probability is.
Western Ryder is a dependable hurdler. Sadly, that’s his drawback. He’s not quite ok to win a graded hurdle but the handicapper can’t reduce him any slack as a result of his consistency.
Last yr’s winner Mohaayed – pressured to shoulder prime weight – is one other weak to anything much less uncovered.
There’s little question Crooks Peak is a promising horse with a vibrant future. He’s under no circumstances badly weighted but he’ll find this a really totally different check to the races he’s been profitable.
It’s worrying he was last of the finishers in final yr’s Champion Bumper at this meeting. The bottom is certain to be too smooth for last month’s Taunton winner Capitaine.
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DERRINROSS is the boss in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He is the epitome of what you want to win this conflict of a race. He’s obtained more stamina than Pheidippides and has the angle of a gladiator.
It’s in his favour that he did not win in three begins final season because that provides him the experience you want for this brutal contest.
Since stepping up the 3m he’s gained both his begins and this harder check is true up his road.
Lisnagar Oscar seemed good when operating away with a Haydock Grade 2 last month. I’m not convinced the type of that defeat of Ask Ben is especially robust however he might do not more than win as he did. The much softer floor is my largest concern.
Circumstances won’t be ultimate for Dinons, both. He rattled up a five-timer on respectable ground last yr and it may well’t be a coincidence he’s been evaded testing going.
Gordon Elliott has a a lot better probability with Commander Of Fleet. His solely defeat in three starts came to visit 2m and there was rather a lot to love about the ground it out to beat Rhinestone at Leopardstown last month. He’s a hazard.
This can be a race for battle-hardened novices with a lot of expertise so I’m towards Nicky Henderson’s pair Birchdale and Dickie Diver.
Birchdale was slightly fortunate to comply with his Warwick debut win when benefitting from Brewin’upastorm’s final hurdle exit at Cheltenham in January.
That was over 2m4f and, although he shapes as if he’ll haven’t any drawback with the step as much as 3m, that does mean he’s obtained stamina to show immediately.
I’m extra fearful about Dickie Diver lasting the distance. He ran Lisnagar Oscar to a head on his debut and cruised house at Chepstow on his second start. He appears sensible but this can be a race when expertise and guts are more necessary than class.
Allaho is one other in the direction of the prime of the betting with the incorrect profile. He pulled worryingly onerous when profitable on his hurdles debut at Clonmel last month and it’s troublesome to see him getting house if he does that once more.
Elegant Escape is my Gold Cup guess
GO for the nice Escape in the Magners Gold Cup. I used to be booed off stage in several Cheltenham Festival preview nights after placing up ELEGANT ESCAPE to land the prime prize of the week.
That hasn’t put me off as I feel he’s acquired a high-quality probability of causing an upset. Right here’s why.
He carried 11st 8lbs to win the Welsh National over Christmas. The only horses have carried that kind of weight to Chepstow glory have been his stablemate Native River, Synchronised, Grasp Oats and Carvill’s Hill.
That’s three subsequent Gold Cup winners and one who was greater than ok to carry one.
The way of his Welsh Nationwide success was additionally spectacular. He seemed in control the entire means round and it was solely the drop to 3m1f on respectable ground that caught him out when runner-up behind Frodon in the Cotswold Chase here in January.
Stamina – not velocity – wins most Gold Cups and Tom O’Brien’s mount has acquired it by the truck load. Any extra rain can be a bonus however the circumstances will go well with him regardless.
His third in final yr’s RSA Chase provides him floor to make up on Presenting Percy. I’ve little question he’s a greater horse this yr and his preparation has been wonderful, while Percy’s hasn’t.
He’s solely been seen once – and that was over hurdles. I can’t consider he hasn’t had issues but who is aware of?
His trainer gained’t maintain punters in the loop. Silence all the time breeds suspicion and I simply can’t advise backing a horse with so many unknowns buzzing around him.
Clan Des Obeaux is extra of a menace. He’s the young improver having run away with the King George when Thistlecrack, Native River and May Chew have been amongst those in behind.
He has to show he can repeat that effort over a longer trip and on a unique monitor but there’s little question he’s acquired the class for the job.
Native River might easily turn out to be the first dual winner since Kauto Star. I’m simply nervous his titanic battle with May Chew 12 months ago may need left a mark on him. It definitely has May Chew.
Templegate’s prime ideas for Gold Cup day
FOLLOW the Ber in the St James’s Place Foxhunters. CAID DU BERLAIS was an in depth fifth behind Pacha Du Polder in this race 12 months ago but that was on horrible floor. Immediately’s circumstances gained’t be that dangerous and it provides him an excellent probability of choosing up this prestigious trophy.
He was a sensible chaser when educated by Paul Nicholls. Rose Loxton – a long-time member of Nicholls’ employees – now has this 10-year-old.
He went over to win the equal race at Punchestown by a country mile final spring. This time period he’s solely had one race but that point-to-point success was a nice win prep for as we speak. His jockey Will Biddick is one of the prime amateurs so Caid Du Berlais has lots in his favour.
Pacha Du Polder – nonetheless educated by Nicholls – goes for his third win in this prize. Harriet Tucker acquired him house last yr regardless of dislocating her shoulder so it’s onerous to assume he hasn’t obtained an opportunity.
He was crushed a country mile at Haydock on his sole begin of this season however he didn’t look like in a lot type when arriving at the Festival 12 months in the past.
Irish coach Enda Bolger gained this twice with On The Fringe in recent times and his Stand Up And Struggle. He gained nicely at Down Royal over Christmas but was crushed in a point-to-point last outing. I’m unsure he deserves to be favorite.
Ucello Conti has stronger claims. He was nonetheless in with a shout when unseating 4 from residence in final yr’s Grand National and he’s appeared good since switching to hunter chases.
Prolific level winner Hazel Hill has been in advantageous type and is another to think about.
Shantou Flyer was only crushed a neck underneath heavy weight in final yr’s Ultima Chase at this meeting.
He’s bossed small fields to win his last two starts however he’s clearly received no drawback with the calls for of a race like this. If he’s in the temper he ought to go nicely.
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He was touched off in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby over Christmas and continues to be properly weighted on his best type for Paul Nicholls.
He’s now with Dan Skelton and he’s steadily been working his means back to type. The respectable tempo will go well with him nicely and he’s received a superb document at Cheltenham.
Magic Saint has carried out nicely in three begins since joining Nicholls from France. His Wincanton win in a five-runner was accomplished in the method of a sensible two-miler however there needs to be a doubt about whether he’ll cope as properly with the rigours of this contest.
Not Another Muddle is enhancing quick. He’s taken rather well to fences and the means he gained at Sandown last month suggests he’s as much as a race like this. The possible robust tempo will help and he’s a horse with a vibrant future.
Final yr’s winner Le Prezien is simply a pound larger in the weights this time. Paul Nicholls’ hope would obviously be very fascinating on that type however his jumping fell apart when properly crushed at Sandown final month.
Brelan D’As has seemed good since dropping to 2m. He’s properly weighted on his Fakenham defeat of Whatswrongwithyou loves it delicate. He may need gained a bit too far when taking aside a small subject at Fontwell three weeks ago however he has the potential to take a race likes this.
I might have fancied Caid Du Lin on better ground. If it does dry out this morning he must have a chance on his Ascot success in November.
The robust pace will help and he’s not been handicapped out of it.
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Gordon Elliott can land the lucky last
GORDON ELLIOTT has bagged the Martin Pipe Hurdle for the last two years. I reckon he’s going to get the hat-trick up nevertheless it’s not the most blatant one.
Dallas Des Pictons has to have a leading probability after following his second to Wednesday’s Ballymore winner Metropolis Island with victories at Punchestown and Leopardstown.
I’m anticipating him to go nicely however, maybe, not fairly in addition to DEFI BLEU.
My fancy ran properly in Grade 2 hurdles before bombing out when upped to the prime degree behind Commander Of Fleet at Leopardstown. That doesn’t hassle me as he sat too near a scorching tempo and it means he’s sat on a nice weight right now.
Early Doors was third behind Blow By Blow in this race 12 months in the past. He’s not been in the similar type this time but that’s hardly shocking.
Joseph O’Brien has thrown him into Grade 1s towards Apple’s Jade this term and he’s not been disgraced. The return to a handicap – regardless of shouldering prime weight – makes him a player.
Acapella Bourgeois is the fascinating one. He hasn’t run for greater than a yr but that’s never stopped Willie Mullins training Festival winners.
He’s a sensible chaser but had lots of hurdles type a couple of years in the past. The handicapper has given him a right probability and I anticipate him to be in the thick of things.
Pym is another possible contender in the similar colours as Altior. He only scrambled residence at Kemtpon final time however the greater area will assist him.