1.30 Cheltenham – Jewson Novices´ Chase
A race that revolves around David Pipe’s classy grey, Dynaste. One of the festival big talking horses, there was much debate about where he was to run. He ditched the RSA to run here and it was the right call for me.
With the defection of the three time champion Big Bucks due to injury, we have the most open looking World Hurdle in years. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2006 when Alan King’s My Way De Solzen scored to get any resemblance of an open looking Stayer’s Hurdle. This year’s race is shaping up to be the most competitive renewal in a decade.
The Ryanair Chase was added to the festival back in 2005 and the race has been a welcome addition for me. The intermediate trip of two miles five furlongs gives top class chasers, who find two miles too sharp and three miles plus too taxing, an out in a quality event.
The presence of Sprinter Sacre means eight other entries have been received for the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase. Odds of 2-7, best priced, can be obtained about the “Black Aeroplane” while he’s as short as 1-5 with a number of bookmakers. Those prices tell you all you need to know about Nicky Henderson’s sexy stable star.
The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle has a pristine roll of honour that includes some of the greats of National Hunt racing. A race for young, up and coming types it’s been a stepping stone on to bigger and better things, for hurdlers and chasers.
A mouth-watering race is once again in store in the 2013 Arkle Novice Chase. A race down the years, on paper, has always delivered. In action, it’s rarely disappointed. No better sight in jumps racing will you see than top two mile chasers, racing at speed jumping proper fences.
Here’s hoping, but it’s already shaping up to be a superior Champion Hurdle this coming March than the previous year. A number of horses look to have returned to form, some are back from injury and as ever, we have the young pretenders hoping to step-up and challenge their elders.
The four day festival bonanza, as ever, will kick off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the Tuesday. Historically a hugely competitive race finding the winner in the opener is tough, but if nabbed it could be the start of an excellent four days. A big field is nearly guaranteed which should add to the tension and action.
A horse who was written off by plenty coming into the season, but bounced right back to form when winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup off 159. It was a huge performance in one of the year’s most competitive handicaps. He gave the 2012 RSA fifth, Walk On, 14 pounds and a three length beating. It was a monster effort. Last season started off in good style winning a Grade Two at Cheltenham before winning the Grade One King Henry VIII at Sandown, beating For Non Stop (distance flattered the second) who has given the form a solid look.
Art Of Logistics
I’m very much still learning in this game and so may be wrong here, but I’m not sure I’ve heard Dessie Hughes ever really talk-up a horse of his in bold terms. He did with this well-bred son of Exit To Nowhere however, when the four-year-old won his bumper at the small track of Roscommon.
1.30 Cheltenham – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
As ever the Supreme will be met by the famous Cheltenham roar as these two mile novices kick off the four day festival. A current theme in recent years has been short priced favourites being turned over so many will be out to get the 2013 hotpot, My Tent Or Yours. That said very few favourites have come into the race with as high a rating as him. All his form has been on flat tracks, but I see no reason why this classy sort shouldn’t handle Cheltenham.