Cheltenham Festival 2020
AUTHOR: JORDAN YATES
ALLMANKIND @ 4/1
Allmankind has made the transition from flat horse to hurdler in pretty emphatic style. He was a decent performer on the level for Michael Bell, but he appears to have come into his own over hurdles and has won all three of his starts for Dan Skelton. He got off the mark at Warwick with a 37 length victory and then followed up with a comfortable success in a Grade 2 here at the November meeting, getting the better of Botox Has by just over two lengths. He was last seen at Chepstow where he once again dominated the race, claiming another Grade 2 victory beating Cerberus by 9 lengths. I love a front runner and he looks an exciting recruit to this sphere, this requires another sizeable step up but it would be no shock if he was more than up for the challenge.
Paul Nicholls’ Solo burst onto the scene with a 13 length victory over the smart Fujimoto Flyer at Kempton in a Grade 2 last month. That was his first start for Ditcheat since coming over from France and he looked a seriously useful recruit. It remains to be seen the limit of his ability however if he turns up in that kind of form again he could be very difficult to beat.
CIEL DE NIEGE @ 8/1 (Each Way)
Ciel De Niege represents powerful connections in the form of JP McManus and Willie Mullins. He was an impressive third in the Fred Winter last season behind Band Of Outlaws on what was his first start for Mullins since being recruited from France. He’s still yet to open his account for the yard, however, he’s been unlucky not to do so, and was second last time out in the Betfair Hurdle when well fancied. He’s been knocking on the door in top races and he’s likely to be thereabouts once more here.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle:
THYME HILL @ 4/1
Thyme Hill has quickly become a personal favourite of mine this season, he was a smart bumper horse, finishing third in last year’s Champion Bumper and has took the transition to hurdles in style. So far this term he’s won two Grade 2’s with one of those coming here at the November meeting, as well as winning the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time out. He’s a tough, gutsy performer who’s the perfect partner for champion jockey Richard Johnson and I thoroughly look forward to seeing him take his place here.
Very smart Irish raider for Paul Nolan that got the better of Andy Dufresne within Grade 2 company earlier in the season before claiming a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival. More progression is likely and he’s a big player here.
AL BOUM PHOTO @ 7/2
LOSTINTRANSLATION @ 7/1 (Each Way)
Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo has had two outings since his Cheltenham heroics of last season, finishing second behind Kemboy at Punchestown and then on reappearance this term won the Savills Chase by the best part of 6 lengths. It’s proven that he goes well fresh, and whilst it is no walk in the park winning back to back Gold Cups, I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of him and if turning up in top form he should take some beating.
Lostintranslation is a horse I’ve been a fan of for some time, he had a fine of campaign novice chasing last season, beating Defi Du Seuil here on New Year’s Day last year before finishing second to the same rival at The Festival. This term he opened his account with a Listed win at Carlisle before going onto lower the colours of Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase. He was disappointed when pulled up in the King George, however, that wasn’t his true running and if back to form here he’s got to have a shout.
LISP @ 7/1 (Each Way)
BRELAN D’AS @ 12/1 (Each Way)
Lisp was a smart hurdler last season and has won one of his three starts over fences so far which came at Plumpton in Decemeber when winning by 19 lengths at very short odds. He was tried in Grade 2 company at Doncaster following that when last seen where he went on to finish third behind Marsh Chase hopeful Mister Fisher. Despite this being an extremely competitive race it is a slight ease in grade for him and he’s still a progressive sort with a lot of ability. A bold bid would be no real shock.
Paul Nicholls’ nine-year-old Brelan D’As is no stranger to Cheltenham, in fact all three of his runs have come here this season. He was disappointing on his last outing when finishing eighth in the Caspian Caviar Gold however the time before that he ran a blinder here in the BetVictor Gold Cup when narrowly denied in second by Happy Diva. If returning to that level of form he’ll be bang there with a chance in this particular affair.
Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle:
FRONT VIEW @ 4/1
This is an additional punt on the day of racing. At the time of writing the Preview I wasn’t sure who Jonjo Jr was riding, and now he’s selected Front View I think this horse has an even bigger chance. He’s very unexploded and represents last year’s winning connections, he sits at the top of the market, but I think there will be a lot worse 4/1 shots.
ILIKEDWAYURTHINKIN @ 6/1 (Each Way)
Gavin Cromwell won’t have too many runners at The Festival however in Ilikedwayurthinkin he’s certainly got a runner with a sound chance. He won two races at Galway in the summer and has since gone on to contest a couple of hot handicaps in the winter where he finished a solid fifth on his most run at Leopardstown. That was enough to get him in here and I think he’s every chance of making the frame again in what will be another testing handicap.