JLT Novices Chase
Another Willie Mullins hotpot heads this year’s JLT in Yorkhill. Winner of last years Neptune beating Yanworth in the process. Despite some questionable jumping in chases this year I think he’ll take the world of beating here, trading at around 13/8. Nicky Hendersons Top Notch is next in the market at a general 4/1, i’m a big fan of Top Notch and I think the market has got it spot on making him the chief threat to Yorkhill. Paul Nicholls Politlogue is an interesting one as he looked superb at Ascot in December but wasn’t overly impressive at Haydock after and Noel Meades Disko is a very consistent performer only finishing out of the top three once. He won a Grade 1 last time out very impressively. These pair are 13/2 and 8/1 respectively. Yorkhill is however my selection.
PERTEMPS FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE
The Pertemps Final this year is headed by a cracking story of a horse in Tobefair. He’s won all seven of his races since moving Deborah Hamer and there’s nothing saying that he can’t take this, trading at a general 11/2 it would be some story if he did go on to win this. Davy Russell has thrown all sorts of verbal abuse Phil Smith’s way after he’s all but ruined Presenting Percys chance in Davy’s words after giving him a high weight. But my fancy for this is a horse i’ve seen win twice this season at Haydock in the Tim Vaughan trained Dadsintrouble. He’s trading at a general 10/1 and I reckon that’s a cracking price for him to get in the frame here.
With Don Poli being ruled out of the Gold Cup it does effect the line up for this years Ryanair as Gordon Elliot may well move second favourite Empire of Dirt over to replace Don Poli there. Willie Mullins Un De Sceaux heads the field at a general 3/1. He has seemed to settle down a lot better lately in particular when winning the Clarence House here very well on trials day. There has been some questions about the 2m 5f trip however connections don’t appear to think that’s an issue as he did win over that distance back in France earlier on in his career. The problem is there’s not much to take him on with here only the horse that came second to him in the Clarence House in Alan Kings Uxizandre. He trades at around 11/2 and I believe he is the chief threat to UDS here having showed a lot of promise in that comeback run, his first run since giving AP McCoy is final festival winner in the 2015 Ryanair beating Don Cossack in the process. That being said I do still fancy Un De Sceaux to take this for Mullins with Uxizandre running him very close in second.
The Stayers this year is headed by an absolute revelation of a horse, a horse that i’ve actually labelled as my current favourite National Hunt horse in Unowhatimeanharry. I tipped him up last year in the Albert Bartlett when he won at 12/1 after following him through his winning run in that campaign and he hasn’t looked back winning every run since. He is an absolute machine and I will truly love it if he takes this as well. He trades at around 6/4 and he thoroughly deserves to be that price. If you haven’t already guessed he is my selection here. His main danger looks to be the legend that is Jessica Harringtons Jezki. He made his comeback in January when winning quite cosily before getting beat on ground he doesn’t like by Tombstone after, he trades at around 6/1. Possibly my each way bet of the festival is Cole Harden in this. He won this race back in 2015 and ran a cracking race behind Unowhatimeanharry in second in the Cleeve here on trials day, he’s a front runner that is a very good each way chance at 9/1. Mullins duo Shaneshill and Clondaw Warrior also have decent each way shouts trading at 8/1 and 14/1 respectively. Mon the harry though!
BROWN ADVISORY PLATE
A tough one now in the Brown Advisory, well they are all tough, but this one in particular. Headed by last years Coral Cup winner, the Gordon Elliot trained Diamond King. He’s a general 6/1 to take this however i’d be looking to take him on with a fairly big priced outside chance. This is Phil Hobbs Village Vic, i’m a big fan of this horse and he loves it round Cheltenham running some big races around here this season. He ran respectably behind Vautour in the Ryanair here last season and I think his front running tactics could see him massively outrun his 16/1 odds here. A great each way price and chance for this.
MARES NOVICE HURDLE
Two impressive Willie Mullins mares look to lock horns here in Lets Dance and Airlie Beach. Lets Dance is the general favourite trading at a general 13/8 and the latter 5/2. I’ve been a huge huge fan of Airlie Beach this season as she’s won all of her starts winning a Grade 1 in his latest start. However I think Lets Dance just edges this encounter as I think she just has that extra bit of class. Carrying the Ricci silks I think Lets Dance will take this for Willie Mullins, she has won her last four starts and was 4th behind Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Triumph here last season so also has a bit of experience on her side. Another one to look out for is Warren Greatrexs La Bague Au Roi she’s won six of her seven starts and Greatrex has been very bullish about this mares chances in this and could be a huge price at 8/1 to get in the frame.