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Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time. Wolverhampton Declaring Love. This came on his favoured soft ground officially heavy , and giving the current RSA favourite 7lb and a beating is no mean feat on paper.
It at least sees him firmly back on the right path. First and foremost, that looks an extremely skinny price, for several reasons. So much of his form has come on proper soft ground, I worry will he be taken out of his comfort zone on a faster surface? He also looks short on class in a competitive Gold Cup. Having been held-up in the race, he possibly ran on past beaten horses and was ultimately flattered. The fact he struggles for consistency is another concern.
The former is a top-class horse on his day, despite lacking the desired victories on his CV. Maybe this was down to the lacklustre gallop in which he set.? He has looked a different horse this season — his two wins at Thurles and Tramore coming in great style. While the case, this would be a significant step up in class over an unknown trip. He may improve again for better ground, but this contest could come as a shock to the system compared to the slowly-run Grade 1 he won last time out.
There is even an argument that his King George effort could be marked up given how wide he was for the near entire duration of the race. There is also a chance he is flattered to get as close to Might Bite, but the price discrepancy is too big given 1 length separated them at the line. He was also closer to the good gallop than most. On this run alone, he looks criminally overpriced. A superbly competitive Gold Cup to look forward to this year, should all the main protagonists make March 16 th.
So many horses are coming into the race fresh which potentially reinforces competition. A fresh field of horses has the potential to see many run their races. This is especially the case of those to the fore in the betting. In any race, the ground will prove vital, and this Gold Cup is no different. His tough prep on heavy ground also makes him stand out negatively from the aforementioned fresh crowd.
At the same time, while against him on a quick surface, a soft ground running would make him and Native River the ones to beat, on form. Hardly a bold statement! The better the ground, the better his chance — that old throwaway line applies to him.
Oddly enough, both also wear hoods while racing. Hopefully the Nicholls team go out and ride him like he can win, and just creep their way round down the inner. Both are bold shouts, I appreciate that, but my line of thinking is this; I can back maybe two horses to the front of the betting at fairish prices to win OR I can take a bolder each-way value approach on horses with top-class efforts in the hope of one hitting the frame and getting a similar return. As you can imagine given the course and distance, stamina and class are the two most sought-after assets.
His absence will be missed in what is an open year for staying hurdlers. He was in a better tactical position than most in winning here in , but subsequent form has brought him out of handicap company into Grade 1 races, leaving no doubt to him being flattered in his Festival success. Since March of last year, the son of Galileo has only raced four times, all coming in top-level races.
Next time out, he surprisingly dropped to 2m in the Irish Champion Hurdle. Here, he would beat Faugheen, outstaying him late to be a ready winner. Said campaign has been hit and miss, hence the reason connections have correctly chosen to revert to hurdling. At times he could be brilliant, but he could also be unconvincing — there was just no rhythm or consistency.
While the case, whether he is fully at his best over this 3m trip remains to be seen. Some going in three races! This victory solidified his rise to the top, and while he got the run of the race under Joe Colliver, there was absolutely no fluke about it; he went a nice gallop and maintained it late. Whether or not he is value for his new lofty rating of , remains to be seen.
That puts him right in the mix, in terms of ability, with all those ahead of him in the betting. He was well-beaten there, but that was at the end of a long campaign and is probably not an accurate guide to his endurance limitations. There was maybe a slight suspicion of him picking up the pieces late, but given he travelled much wider than the runner-up Monalee and the third Wholestone throughout, to win like he did, was striking. The former is a talented, but highly quirky horse who needs holding up and delivering late.
Hitting number 1 is probably out of his reach this season, but he does look to have strong each-way claims. He shaped better than the distance beaten of 7 lengths suggests. In his Festival prep in the Cleeve Hurdle over this course and distance, it was very much a similar story. Again, like in the Albert Bartlett, he travelled with great enthusiasm and looked set to go close, but he faltered late.
Elsewhere down the entries, not many really convince for varying reasons. As a seven-year-old, he still has age on his side, so his performances this season have dumbfounded me. He appears to be a stone below his best, for whatever reason. She could well run a career best and finish sixth. This is also true of Yanworth. Softer going brings Sam Spinner into it even further, and should Cheltenham produce taxing conditions, it significantly enhances his chance. That trio, depending on conditions, will hardly contract much further in the betting, should the main protagonists make it to Prestbury Park healthy.
Since its inception back in , the contest has only grown stronger and stronger. On paper, the renewal looks extremely competitive. Given the brisk fractions he set in the early and middle parts of the race, it was natural for him to tie-up a touch close home, but he never looked remotely like getting beaten, his speculator jumping applying further pressure on his rivals. He was just touched off in the Champion Chase before he went on to Aintree and Punchestown to win Grade 1s.
The son of Lando was then asked to back up 17 days later in the King George at Kempton — a race I stupidly backed him in — but this run clearly came too soon after Sandown and he was pulled up. There is more to come, but it would be nice to see it on the track. More positively, the step back up in trip here will be a big plus for him. There is no doubt he can win the Ryanair, but connections must get him back in good order.
His next run saw Grade 2 success in the Christy Chase at Ascot in beating Double Shuffle and Frodon by 8 and 10 lengths, respectively, now looks like top-class form with the former finishing second in the King George and the latter bolting up off in a competitive Cheltenham handicap.
He oozed class at Ascot and simply had too many gears for horses now rated officially rated and Three weeks later he added the Peterborough Chase to his CV although he was workmanlike in doing so. A quick turnaround from a big Ascot effort and slower ground may have been to blame, but even so, his Ascot run marks him down as a bold player for this contest. At the current stage of entries, Willie Mullins has a strong hand. The seven-year-old has raced twice this campaign and won both starts in great style, at Thurles and Tramore.
I really get the feeing there is more to come, but whether he can replicate those efforts on faster ground in more competitive races remains to be seen. Killultagh Vic looks to have maintained a fair amount of his ability despite the serious nature of his past injuries. See what I did there? Ok, I understand Willie Mullins has the race-favourite, but given the number of quality animals in his care, Mullins will simply have to run two of his big names against each other, should they all get to Cheltenham in good order.
All the above was written before Yorkhill flopped at the Dublin Racing Festival. Having taken a big drift in the market before they jumped off, he ran accordingly. The usual hold he gives his rider never really materialised, and in truth, he just looked flat. This does curb the enthusiasm I had. Formerly trained by Malcom Jefferson, who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago, this seven-year-old son of Flemensfirth just looks a quality, young chaser heading firmly in the right direction.
He had some smart novice form last season, beating the likes of Forest Bhian and Politologue, but his latest 8 lengths success in a Kempton novice chase looks a career best in every sense of the word. In form, in style and on the clock, he is getting better. The problem where Cheltenham lay, is Waiting Patiently needs to improve further. To be fair, I think that is certainly on the cards. He appeared to handle decent conditions comfortably at Kempton last time out, but that came against inferior opposition.
There is a good chance of much faster sod come March in unison with him taking on genuine top-class opponents. Trained by the underrated Eddie Harty and owned by JP McManus, this seven-year-old had some top-class novice form last season behind the likes Our Duke. Coney Island would miss the Cheltenham Festival through injury and only made his belated return to action in December at Ascot in winning a conditions race by 9 lengths, hard held.
Maybe Henry de Bromhead gave his inmate a good rest after his summer exploits, and was slowly working him back to full fitness? Proper soft Irish ground is probably also a negative for him now, but back on a firmer surface last time out in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, the seven-year-old son of Balko bounced back to form and produced a career best.
He was fortunate in that he had plenty of space to be accurate at his fences, but he was deadly, and coming to two out, he had plenty of the field cooked. He was just outstayed late by a better horse on the day in Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Road To Respect, but the drop back in trip accompanied with a good gallop, could see him being the ideal Ryanair horse. Frodon too, must get a positive mention on the back of his progressive, high-class handicap form which looks extremely solid.
His latest success in the Crest Nicholson Handicap Chase at Cheltenham was impressive, the 17 lengths he won by telling that story. That did come on heavy ground however, and the handicapper has surely overreacted with his new rating of The question is, can he produce a similar performance against top-class horses on much faster ground? I have my doubts. Last time out in the John Durkan, on ground that was surely way too soft to show him at his best, he took a significant step in the right direction.
At this stage, the renewal of the Ryanair looks as exciting a race as we could have all season, and on the biggest stage. That form is phenomenal. At the prices, given his poor preparation, Fox Norton is easily avoided.
At the start of the season, I thought he was the winner of this contest, but after a good opening pair of efforts to the campaign, his form tailed off and his training has been interrupted. Coney Island and Waiting Patiently could clash at Ascot this weekend, and that will tell us plenty. Neither have Cheltenham Festival experience either, so it makes sense to duck them now. A quick final mention must go to Douvan and Min. The former, the young pretender with an air of Sprinter Sacre about him; the latter, the unofficial king of the division on the comeback trail from injury.
Altior was found to have a wind issue and was subsequently operated on. Nicky Henderson has always said there is a sound chance of Altior making it back for Cheltenham, and he may run in the Game Spirit at Newbury in February. With still so much up in the air concerning that pair, focus should be put on those horses fit and well. He was a horse I was lukewarm on throughout his novice campaign last season.
I knew he was a graded animal, but at no stage did I feel he was top-class. I also had a small doubt about his ability to find off the bridle which is maybe not a surprise given the ease at which he travels. This season however, has proved my analysis of him all wrong.
Because he was being campaigned over the incorrect trip. Two: he idles badly when he hits the front, and three; he finds off the bridle and battles, as we saw in the Tingle Creek in beating Fox Norton. With so many horses struggling to make the track, this progressive seven-year-old must be fully respected. He does everything his peer does, but in excess. On the comeback trail from an injury that ruled him out of the Cheltenham Festival, Min made his eagerly awaited return at Gowran Park.
Much more was expected of him when upped in class to Grade 1 company at Leopardstown over Christmas. He at least travelled well, jumped boldly and battled late. I just get the feeling there is more in the tank and we may see it in his next run which could come at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The fact he disappointed in the King George at Kempton in his last run is also off-putting. The likes of Politologue would eat him up jumping and constantly take lengths out of him. The chestnut son of Presenting has been to Cheltenham twice in March and won both times. Altior and Douvan look a notch or two above the rest of the field at their best, but are by no means guaranteed to run. Special Tiara was the only one of interest, but even that was limited, especially at the age of Reading between the lines, it really does look like Altior is more likely to make the race then Douvan.
Whether he comes to Cheltenham on the back of a prep or straight here is to be decided, but given his wind issues and the likelihood of soft ground at Newbury for the Game Spirit, Nicky Henderson may choose a direct route to the Champion Chase. If the case, I do feel the brilliant son of High Chaparral could be vulnerable. To win a Champion Chase or any race at Cheltenham, you need to be sharp and on your game; there is no room for error.
If this take longer as he gets older? He could be got at. The problem lay in Willie Mullins also having Min and Yorkhill in the race. There could still be a fair bit of juggling done yet, but what is noteworthy is how little faith the Mullins camp have lost in Douvan, despite him currently working his way to full fitness.
Should he not run, Min is likely to sub in for his stablemate, but Yorkhill could also run here. Given how exuberant Min is, it makes sense to keep him to two miles. Yorkhill is better equipped and has shown far more stamina compared to Min, so the Ryanair may end up being his destination. Un De Sceaux is almost certain to line up in the race he won last season, but at the age of 10, Willie Mullins may look to the Ryanair for a two-pronged assault, with Yorkhill.
This leaves us with Min and Politologue as potential bets. Like we discussed earlier, apart from their colour, these two are very similar in how they approach the game, and in ability. Both travel well and both jump accurately. There is a feeling we may have seen the best of Politologue already this season and on his favoured underfoot conditions.
Min on the other hand, still reeks of untapped potential who could prove even better on spring ground. With that being the case, MIN gets the nod. I realise he must bounce back from a disappointing effort at Leopardstown over Christmas, but he disappointed in running to around Min is without doubt a better horse than Charbel, and he could have more to offer. Entries have yet to be revealed for the Unibet Champion Hurdle, January 16 I believe is the date connections must enter, and the public can expect to see those names in the following days.
He returned this season after an enforced day break to win the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle by 16 lengths.
That was a much better effort than the time before at Cheltenham in the Greatwood, although he did have excuses that day with many hurdles omitted from the straight. Old Guard has run with much credit this campaign. No win since February, but has been right in the mix for a place, and only been outside the top three once since April in six outings. That unplaced finish was most recently here at Cheltenham, when Brain Power landed the International Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson - who we will discuss in the common trends section BELOW, has a remarkable record in this race, and saddles Thomas Campbell - who got off the mark over fences at the second time of asking, but failed to land a blow latest to Bags Groove who was a clear winner, and had to settle for best of the rest.
Clyne represents the Evan Williams yard, whilst Colin Tizzard has a runner in the form of Cyrus Darius , who has plenty to find on the basis of his two performances this season. Since , he has had three winners - Zaynar, and Oscar Whisky's double, all ridden by Barry Geraghty.
All bar one of the last fourteen winners was either bred in France five or Ireland eight. Twelve of the last fourteen renewals had been won by a horse that had raced in the last six weeks. One less had raced at Cheltenham before, whereas ten of the last fourteen winners since had won at least four times over hurdles. Six of the last fourteen raced at Cheltenham last time out, with seven more going onto run in a race at the Cheltenham Festival next time - unfortunately, with no winners.
Six winning favourites since is a decent return. The Denman Chase is one of the feature races across the weekend and we have taken a look back at the renewal of the race with winner Clan Des Obeaux looking to land the event Racing Tips. Home news relkeel hurdle guide. Related News. Free bet rewarded as 4 free bets that total first deposit amount.
But the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding made stealthy headway racing down the back straight and eased clear in the end — passing the post with just over two lengths in hand over On The Blind Side. I think Aintree over two and a half would suit him well. We might then look at Sandown on the last day of the season as there is a lovely race for him there over two-five, then we can go chasing in the autumn as that is his job.
I will talk to the boys. I think Aintree would be really good for him. He missed three out, but he was travelling well throughout the race. There was a lot of positives to take out of that.
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