13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase
Mighty Potter is many people’s banker but I’m going to take him on with Appreciate It, who’s been crying out for a step up in trip. He has excelled over 2 miles, winning a Supreme Novices’ in impressive fashion a few years ago. Okay he’s a 9yo, so not your typical novice chaser. However I just feel the last day at Leopardstown it was very apparent that a step up in trip would be right up his street. That was obviously behind Tuesday’s Arkle winner, El Fabiolo. I just think he’s open to more improvement, and I’d be more interested in him at the prices. Mighty Potter hasn’t done anything wrong over fences, but Appreciate It definitely appeals to me at his current price.
Selection: Appreciate It
14:10 Pertemps Final
No surprise to see the JP owned, David Pipe trained Thanksforthehelp favourite for this race. He won the Final Qualifier in good style at Chepstow. He’s now 11Ibs higher and this will obviously be much more competitive, although he did win as he liked that day. However I’m going to go for another English trained horse, Walking On Air of Nicky Henderson’s. They thought an awful lot of this horse as a novice last year, but it just didn’t seem to work out for him. I remember him running in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Aintree last year behind Might I, so they held him in high regard. And as ever with these Cheltenham Festival handicaps you’re looking for potential graded performers.
He runs off 138 and won the Exeter Qualifier that we won with Unowhatimeanharry a few years ago prior to him being successful in Albert Bartlett. So from our own experience it’s proved to be a good route. He won well at Exeter and only went up 5Ibs. He a 6yo who is still open to plenty of improvement, so I’d be siding with him in what is going to be another hugely competitive handicap.
Selection: Walking On Air
14:50 Ryanair Chase
Shishkin is a short price, a shade of odds on in fact, but is by no means a penalty kick. Okay he was very impressive at Ascot and if he turns up in that sort of form he’s going to be hard to beat. He’s very talented but I’d be nervous about taking an odds on price with him. So I’d be inclined to take him on and I’m more interested in Blue Lord. Although he disappointed at Leopardstown the last day, that was over two miles and I think the ground may have been too quick for him. He did though win over this trip, when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase and that was on soft ground. He has plenty of pace, but I think we’ll see a better Blue Lord over this trip and at 11/2, I think that represents decent value.
Selection: Blue Lord
15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle
Teahupoo is only one of two horses to have beaten Honeysuckle, when beating her in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. He then won very impressively at Gowran and he’s only a 6yo. There’s quite a few in the line-up who have been there and done it, but arguably some of their best days at now behind them. Imagine if Paisley Park was to get in on the act this week, that would almost be an Oscar worthy script! As much as you’d love to see a horse like him winning, it’s going to be a tall order. Blazing Khal is expected to go off favourite, however his participation was in the balance a week ago and that hinged on a final piece of work. They’re obviously happy with him, otherwise he wouldn’t be running, but it’s not ideal and wouldn’t fill you with confidence. Whereas Teahupoo is clearly on an upward curve, and I was very impressed with the way he won the Galmoy Hurdle and he’s my idea of the winner.
16:10 Plate Handicap Chase
In these handicaps you’re looking for the more unexposed, progressive types and So Scottish certainly fits that bill. He’s been wrapped up since running behind Boothill back in November. And when you think Boothill has finished 2nd in a Grade 1, won a Grade 2 and was 2nd and 3rd in two other Grade 2s since defeating So Scottish. Boothill has proved he’s a graded horse and the two miles was probably on the sharp side for So Scottish that day at Ascot, so he’s understandably favourite. In fact I would expect him to start a shorter price than he is now.
Selection: So Scottish
16:50 Mares Novices’ Hurdle
Luccia has looked seriously impressive in all her wins. The first time I saw her was at Sandown when she won the Listed Mares’ Bumper. The fact that they were toying with the idea of running her in the Supreme Novices’ just shows you how highly they regard her. I think she’s going to be very hard to beat. Jamie Snowdon’s Youwearitwell is interesting, her only defeat of the season was behind Hermes Allen in the Challow Hurdle, but that form wasn’t franked earlier today. However I just think Luccia is in a different category altogether. There’s none of these that you’d consider for a second running against geldings in the Supreme or the Ballymore and the fact that Luccia was under consideration tells you all you need to know.
17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase
We’ll be at Cheltenham on Thursday as my sister-in-law, Aine O’Connor, is having her first ever ride at the Cheltenham Festival. She’s riding Fontaine Collonges for Venetia Williams. She quite a big price, but it would be fantastic to see her going well and she’ll definitely like the soft ground. Beauport is interesting. He beat Boothill last year over two and half miles at Uttoxeter on soft ground. He was 4th in The Dipper the last day behind The Real Whacker who certainly bolstered the form of that race when winning earlier today. He’s a novice running in a handicap, but the new trip will definitely suit Beauport as he’s always looked like a potential stayer and Nigel Twiston-Davies normally gets in on the act at the Cheltenham Festival. So this might be the one for him this year.
Best of luck,