Arkle 2013 Preview Cheltenham Festival

This year’s Racing Post Arkle seemingly holds the perfect balance of talent and rivalry as the two unbeaten market leaders, Simonsig and Overturn, go head-to-head for 2m novice supremacy.
Both have been foot-perfect this season with has created a rivalry that has created a number of opinions from a range of trainers and punters.
Bookmakers however remain reluctant to take on Simonsig and whilst he currently stands best price 8/11 with Coral, he may go off close to last year’s winner and stablemate Sprinter Sacre’s 8/13 price with money continuing to come in for him.

Overturn however is 11/4 with the majority of firms and many punters are looking to this race for an upset on a day of red hot favourites.
Both have won their respected races this season very easily which in both cases is down to both their talent and maybe the lack of opposition against them.
Overturn’s three victories have accumulated a total of 68 lengths whilst Simonsig’s two races accumulated a whopping 84 lengths. Their superiority is the main reason why this race is dubbed a two horse race.

Overturn’s ability to gallop strongly has been there for all to see on the flats and hurdles and he has managed to keep that speed when taking to the fences.

What is even more impressive about the Donald McCain trained 9-year-old is the accuracy in which he has jumped this year and he will undoubtedly be the first to test Simonsig come the Arkle.
However, when you spin it round, Simonsig will be the first to test Overturn this year and will he manage the jumping at such speeds when put under pressure?

The duo’s closest rival in the betting is Irish trained Arvika Ligeonniere (9/1 Ladbrokes) whose preparations were dealt a blow when he fell in a three horse race last out leaving outsider Benneficient to score from Oscars Well.
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However the fall would concern me less than his lack of fluidity even in races that he’s won.

His races have been run against just as little as Simonsig and Overturn yet he has failed to win as convincingly as his rivals and has a big ‘F’ next to his name whilst the others ring ‘1s’.
With the betting very much dominated by the top two, there could be some good each way prices out there and Module at 40/1 with SkyBet is the one that catches my eye but in truth he is most likely to be some distance behind Simonsig and Overturn.

VERDICT

It would seem in the betting that the race is Simonsig’s to lose and I would have to agree with that. He will undoubtedly be given a test by Overturn but I have a feeling that ‘that test’ may come in a similar form to that of Sanctuaire’s efforts to conqueror Sprinter Sacre in the Tingle Creek this year.

Overturn will give a strong gallop but I sense he may be surprised when Simonsig simply goes with him. That will leave it to the final couple of fences and I think it will be here when we see how good Simonsig actually is.

He will kick on from then and if Overturn manages to go with him and get him off the bridle then racing fans are in for a treat coming up the hill. However, if he doesn’t get Simonsig off the bridle, he will be well beaten. That said, whether we are witness to yet another Nicky Henderson Arkle onslaught or a tight thriller, I believe Simonsig will still win and most probably go on to better things.

Win: Simonsig (4/6 Coral)

Each Way: Module (40/1 NRNB SkyBet)

    Supreme Novice’s Hurdle 2013 Preview Cheltenham

    My Tent or YoursRacing fans are now counting down the days before that mighty ‘roar’ runs around Cheltenham Racecourse and what better way to start to than with what looks to be the strongest runWilliam Hill Supreme Novices´ Hurdle in years.
    The festival’s opening blockbuster is headed by My Tent Or Yours who shot to favouritism after a superb victory in the Betfair Hurdle last month earlier this month.
    Bookmakers reacted to his classy romp by slashing him from 12/1 to 6/4 favouritism and with AP McCoy looking to have even more left in the tank, you can understand why the bookies took evasive action.
    That said, in a race that traditionally doesn’t favour the favourites, 6/4 is an awfully short price for a horse that yes was impressive latest, but tasted defeat to stablemate Chatterbox.
    There are others in the race that go into the race unbeaten this season however few have come out on top in the size of field the My Tent Or Yours, something that will boast well for the Nicky Henderson trained 6-year-old considering the large field that will contest the race.

    Jezki
    JezkiMy Tent Or Yours owner JP McManus’s chances of winning the race are boosted even further with his new acquisition and second favourite Jezki (4/1).
    The electrifying hurdler caught the eye of everyone with some pulsating performances in Ireland hence McManus’ decision to pay big money for the impressive five-year-old.
    A loss in his maiden run in early October did little to derail his season as he simply bounced back with four wins with the scalps of Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever and Waheeb the standout victims.
    However Champagne Fever has not been the hurdler we thought he would be and his form over Waheeb was weakened when Waheeb was beaten into third earlier this week despite going off as short as 1/5.

    Dodging Bullets
    Dodging BulletsApart from My Tent Or Yours, the big market mover has been Dodging Bullets moving from 16’s to 10’s this week. The Paul Nicholls trained five-year-old was a beaten 4th in last year’s Triumph Hurdle but has some impressive form to his name including a respectable third behind the late Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle as well as two Cheltenham victories over River Maigue and Hi Note.
    For a horse so young to already have a love for winning at Cheltenham bodes well for him and punters will be looking to snap up 10/1 as an each way bet, especially with the likelihood of Ruby Walsh being in the saddle.
    Melodic Rendezvous is the standout bet for people looking at an each way bet to oppose the favourite.
    With a grade 1 victory already to his name as well as an impressive victory over market rival Puffin Billy he is very much a contender for this race.
    He is no less consistent than any of his rivals leading up to the race and gives off the impression that he is improving for every run he has.
    Pique Sous could yet be the forgotten horse in this race and with the ground looking set to be good, he could be a real player despite been kept in cotton wool by trainer Willie Mullins.
    His third in last year’s Champion Bumper was impressive and he had a superb season on the flats in the summer with two wins out of four.
    However soft ground has restricted him to only one hurdles race at Thurles way back in October in which he easily dispatched a field of 18 by five lengths. His only other run this year came earlier this month on the all weather which he again won at odds on.
    At 20/1 he is very much the dark horse for the race and will have Ruby Walsh scratching his head even though he is likely to choose Dodging Bullets or Champagne Fever.
    Admittedly his preparation is not ideal but Mullins insists he is still a force and there are not many 20/1 shots that boast the form that he does.

    VERDICT

    Many see My Tent Or Yours to be the runaway winner of this race but he would personally be the lay of the week for me. The Supreme Novices’s is always a super competitive race and this year is no different so for a 6/4 shot to be heading the field is ridiculous. However it would be unsurprising to see him win the race as easy as he did the Betfair Hurdle but at 6/4 I will not be taking my chances.
    Melodic Rendezvous is a horse that has really caught my eye this year. He is blessed with the fantastic trait of been able to go when his jockey tells him to. Nick Schofield was awarded his first Grade 1 success aboard this young hurdler and he will be the man who has the privilege of controlling this energetic novice. He just as the horse is young and learning and from what I have seen this season, he looks like the improver in the field.
    Pique Sous is very much the forgotten horse in this race and despite a lack of run outs, Willie Mullins will have him in top nick however should the ground come up the soft side of good, there will be no chance in him running.

    Win: Melodic Rendezvous, 10/1 William Hill

    Each Way: Pique Sous, 20/1 Coral

    Supreme Novice Hurdles Entries

    3-12154 ALLY CASCADE (IRE) 5 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
    1111 ANNIE POWER (IRE) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
    3/-11F ANONIS (GER) 7 Barry Connell Mags Mullins IRE
    32-122 BILLY TWYFORD (IRE) 6 Andy Weller Lawney Hill
    BLACK SPIRIT (USA) 6 Alan Spence Nicky Henderson
    240-13 BRIGHT NEW DAWN (IRE) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Dessie Hughes IRE
    1 BUTHELEZI (USA) 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
    261311 CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) 5 Timeform Betfair Racing Club Ltd Gordon Elliott IRE
    041 CAYMAN ISLANDS 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
    111-123 CHAMPAGNE FEVER (IRE) 6 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
    1 CHAT ROOM 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
    1-1 CHATTERBOX (IRE) 5 The Not Afraid Partnership 2 Nicky Henderson
    211/- CHELTENIAN (FR) 7 Roger Brookhouse Philip Hobbs
    111 CLOSE TOUCH 5 The Queen Nicky Henderson
    214-134 COURT MINSTREL (IRE) 6 Janet Davies Evan Williams
    246-113 DODGING BULLETS 5 Martin Broughton & Friends Paul Nicholls
    5111-1F DON COSSACK (GER) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
    23-141 DUKE OF NAVAN (IRE) 5 David & Nicky Robinson Nicky Richards
    1-213 EDUARD (IRE) 5 Kingdom Taverns Ltd Nicky Richards
    P ELECTROLYSER (IRE) 8 Mr & Mrs P Hargreaves Nicky Henderson
    23(1) FAIR TRADE 6 Raymond Tooth Alan King
    2F1 FATCATINTHEHAT 4 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
    FIRE KING 7 D Steele Philip Hide
    12 FLAXEN FLARE (IRE) 4 Mrs Pat Sloan Gordon Elliott IRE
    FLYING CROSS (IRE) 6 Robin Geffen David Pipe
    114 FORGOTTEN VOICE (IRE) 8 Susan Roy Nicky Henderson
    2110 GOLDEN HOOF (IRE) 5 The Hoof Partnership Nicky Henderson
    10-1P I SHOT THE SHERIFF (IRE) 6 Malcolm Denmark David Pipe
    40-3110 IFANDBUTWHYNOT (IRE) 7 Claire Hollowood & Henry Dean David O’Meara
    112 IRISH SAINT (FR) 4 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
    10-1111 JEZKI (IRE) 5 J P McManus Jessica Harrington IRE
    211(1) KARAZHAN 5 Pump & Plant Services Ltd Nicky Henderson
    1 KING OF DUDES 4 Masterson Holdings Limited Alan King
    6 KUDA HURAA (IRE) 5 Thurloe 53 Alan King
    0-F1 LEGAL EXIT (IRE) 6 Mary Samworth Jim Culloty IRE
    2 LIFE AND SOUL (IRE) 6 Matthew Taylor Donald McCain
    LOOKING ON 5 Irvin Naylor Venetia Williams
    34116 LORD OF HOUSE (GER) 5 Good Lord Partnership Charlie Mann
    14 LORDOFTHEHOUSE (IRE) 5 St Albans Bloodstock LLP Tom George
    12-211 MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 7 Cash For Honours Jeremy Scott
    61P MINELLA DEFINITELY (IRE) 6 Wellcroomed T/A eyewearoutlet.co.uk Neil Mulholland
    10-3 MINELLA FORFITNESS (IRE) 6 Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson
    2-142 MINSK (IRE) 5 Barry Connell Dessie Hughes IRE
    11/3- MONO MAN (IRE) 7 Bridget Hanbury Nicky Henderson
    242-411 MORNING ROYALTY (IRE) 6 Eileen Milligan James Moffatt
    31114-1 MOSCOW MANNON (IRE) 7 J M Flanagan Brian Hamilton IRE
    2/1213-1 MOZOLTOV 7 Martin Lynch Willie Mullins IRE
    3-4511 MR WATSON (IRE) 6 Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill
    122-121 MY TENT OR YOURS (IRE) 6 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
    2-121 NED BUNTLINE 5 J P McManus Noel Meade IRE
    1120-2 NEW YEAR’S EVE 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
    333- OFF THE WALL (IRE) 6 Malcolm Denmark David Pipe
    630/0- OSTENTATION 6 Chris Beek Alastair Lidderdale
    31 PINE CREEK 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
    3-31121 PIQUE SOUS (FR) 6 Supreme Horse Racing Club Willie Mullins IRE
    16 POET 8 Tina Cox Clive Cox

      Cheltenham Trials Day Preview 2013

      reve-de-sivola-ascot-2-full_2877196[1]With the likes of Grands Crus, Oscar Whiskey, Imperial Commander and Sprinter Sacre all set to make appearances at Cheltenham this weekend, racing fans are set for an explosive day of racing.
      That is however if the wintery weather holds back after devastating the racing last weekend.
      In one of the most important meetings in terms of festival preparation in the calendar, there are top class races which will give clues for the Gold Cup, Champion Chase and World Hurdle amongst others.
      The biggest race of the day is the Argento Chase which features a whole range of Gold Cup fancies from the Lexus Chase winner Tidal Bay, to the returning 2010 Gold Cup conqueror Imperial Commander.
      Despite the withdrawal of this year Gold Cup favourite Bob’s Worth, the Argento looks set to be a cracker with a star studded field led by Tidal Bay (9/4).
      The resurgent 12-year-old has shown glimpses of class in his early career when winning the Arkle by 13 lengths at the 2007 festival but he has never since shown any consistency. That is however since his move from Howard Johnson’s to Paul Nicholls’ yard last year.
      The champion trainer eased him into the season last year opting to leave out Cheltenham festival and go straight to Aintree where he was a distant 4th behind Big Bucks in the Liverpool Hurdle.
      However that lesson seemed to do him wonders as he followed with a thumping 15 length win in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
      He started this season with a return over hurdles and comfortably saw off Crack Away Jack and odds-on favourite Smad Place at Wetherby.
      A valiant display in the Hennessy Gold Cup when staying on to finish second to Bob’s Worth when given 6lbs to the Gold Cup favourite.
      The best was still to come when he again stayed on superbly in the Lexus Chase against Ireland’s best, to beat First Lieutenant by a head in a superb finish involving Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar.
      The torrid autumn and winter may well have helped Tidal Bay as he seems to love the soft ground but even still his form is tremendous going into this race and is a worthy favourite.
      Nicholls still reiterated even the night before the race that he was only 50/50 to race so should you fancy him, don’t move too early. Nicholls appearance on the Morning Line should give more of an idea whether or not he runs.
      Tidal Bay’s main rivals are Grands Crus (9/2) and the returning Imperial Commander (6/1).
      Grands Crus’ disappointing Paddy Power Gold Cup was followed by a solid performance when finishing 3rd to Long Run in the King George on Boxing Day.
      That run come very soon after a wind pipe operation and he could well improve on that performance.
      There is no doubting Grands Crus’ class but he seems to struggle when the race becomes a battle and the soft ground doesn’t help that but he definitely is in with a big shout.
      Imperial Commander has had a very long layoff through injury and returning at the ripe old age of 12, he has a very difficult task ahead of him.
      However trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has never lost faith in his Gold Cup hero and has always insisted that the old spark is still there and could not be happier with him leading into the race.
      A horse which is blessed with as much talent as Imperial Commander is always a threat and should you fancy him to return with a bang, his ante-post odds for the Gold Cup in March of 50/1 may also appeal as they will be considerably slashed should he bag this race.
      The torrential weather last weekend forced the Victor Chandler Chase to be rescheduled for this meaning fans will get the chance to see the emerging superstar Sprinter Sacre.
      Blessed with class and speed Sprinter Sacre has torn the 2m division apart for a season and a half now and questions are now been asked if he can even be beaten never mind when.
      Priced at 1/5 bookmakers will not be taking any gambles after seemingly holding him too big in the Tingle Creek when he won at odds of 8/13 from Kumbeshwar.
      Never before have I seen such an energetic chaser jump with so much style and accuracy. It is scary to think the level in which Sprinter Sacre could reach.
      Rarely does the 7-year-old make mistakes but should he get too close into a fence for example he simply adjusts himself and gobbles up the rest like a true athlete.
      He leaves jockey Barry Geraghty motionless on almost every run coming off the bridle only a handful of times during his career and tomorrow will no doubt be the same.
      With the race result seen be by many in little doubt, the market of betting without the favourite will most probably be the most popular.
      Sanctuaire is the 13/8 favourite and will probably take the beating providing he doesn’t try to take on Sprinter Sacre on with a gallop again.
      When lining up in the Tingle Creek a lot of punters believed that he could indeed beat the favourite and galloped off early on to draw out a nine length lead on the unbeaten chaser.
      However Sprinter Sacre was simply toying with him and when the railway fences came around the final time he drew him in and Sanctuaire had nothing left when travelling into the final furlong.
      He responded with a gutsy effort in the Desert Orchid at Kempton when looking at one point defeated to reverse the form on Kumbeshwar.
      Somersby (12 win 5/2 without favourite) is making his season return after an up and down season last year concluding with defeat to Sanctuaire at Sandown. On his day he can produce a big performance but lacks any sort of consistency.
      William Wishes (14 and 7/2 without the favourite) produced a fantastic performance despite making a big mistake two out staying on to win by two lengths.
      His form is fantastic bearing in mind the run Champion Court gave in the King George and at 7/2 without the favourite, is an appealing price.
      With the absence of the invincible Big Bucks, the staying hurdling division has been blown wide open and tomorrow will see top two-and-a-half-miler Oscar Whiskey return with another crack at 3m.
      After a very disappointing run in his maiden attempt at 3m in the World Hurdle, trainer Nicky Henderson will hope he can prove he can stay the trip in the Cleeve Hurdle this weekend and is 13/8 to take the Grade 1 race.

        December Gold Cup Preview 2012

        A rain-swept Cheltenham is back in the spot light once again with the December Gold Cup and the International Hurdle taking centre stage.
        This year’s December Gold Cup looks set to be a belter with a number of classy chasers taking part including Paddy Power Gold Cup runner up Walkon.
        The Alan King trained horse is 5/1 joint favourite to go one better over the same course and distance as the Paddy Power but the handicappers handed him a 6lb penalty for that gutsy performance.
        His main rival in the betting is the up and coming Unioniste (5/1) after he followed up his gutsy Aintree win with a decent performance at Cheltenham last month before perishing to RSA favourite Dynaste.
        However the promising Paul Nicholls chaser carries bottom weight of 10-0 and would have being better off still had jockey Harry Dernham been able to reach the handicappers 9-8.
        David Pipe’s Notus De La Tour will make his seasonal reappearance and will hope he can reverse the form from last year when Walkon beat him at Exeter.
        However he was giving away 7lbs to the field that day going off even-money-favourite and it is definitely not past him to take this race. He goes well fresh and has been beaten by some of the best including Sanctuaire and Flemenstar.

        Rock On Ruby

        Notus De La Tour however will not be the most anticipated season returner of the day as Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby looks set to make his reappearance in the International Hurdle.
        He will however have big competition from former stablemate Zarkandar, and the ever promising Grandouet.
        Rock On Ruby (9/4), who landed former trainer Paul Nicholls with his first ever Champion Hurdle, has since moved stables and is now trained by Harry Fry.
        Zarkander (5/4) looked very good last out giving away more than a stone to beat Prospect Wells at Wincanton.
        That was despite a blunder at the last by his stablemate seemingly giving the race to the five-year-old.
        Grandouet (5/2) for the majority of last season was seen as the real threat to Hurricane Fly. Unfortunately for the Nicky Henderson trained five-year-old, his last outing was when defeating the impressing Overturn in this race last year and should the same horse return, he will be the one to beat.
        There is a full card of top racing at Cheltenham this weekend with Oscar Whisky and Our Father both odds-on favourites to take their respected races.
        Our Father was absolutely scintillating when beating Sire Collanges by 20 lengths at the Open Meeting last month and is appealing even as short as 5/6 to take the Novices Chase tomorrow.

        Overall Verdict
        Bet of the day: Our Father (5/6) + Oscar Whiskey (4/9)
        December Gold Cup: Walkon (5/1)
        International Hurdle: Grandouet (5/2)

          Paddy Power Gold Cup Preview 2012


          This year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup is arguably the best line up of this famous race since it was first ran in 1960.
          With the likes of Grands Crus and Al Ferof, the vast majority of this year’s field looks very stylish and we look set for a super competitive race.
          Huntball looks to continue the fairy tale as he takes a real step up in class from last year’s heroics and will bring an army of fans in the process.
          With the retirement of Kauto Star Huntball looks the perfect replacement as the fan’s favourite after moving up the ratings last year, like never before.
          I can’t ever remember seeing a field with such a competitive race between the grey horses.
          With Grands Crus, Al Ferof, Walkon and Divers all around the top of the betting, it would be surprising a grey doesn’t win this race.
          With last year’s winner Great Endeavour also a grey there is a trending factor that surrounds the race.
          The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the first major handicap race of the season and fans will flock in their numbers to see some of the finest chasers on the planet.

          Our review of the leading contenders

          Grands Crus

          Best Price: Coral 9/4
          David Pipes super talented grey had a near-perfect novice season last year, producing some electric performances before disappointing many when finishing 4th in the RSA at the festival.
          Many have tried to understand how Grands Crus lost in such disappointing circumstances in that race. Some have even questioned his stamina, but I find it very hard to believe that a horse that chased home Big Bucks over 3m has stamina issues.
          My theory is the break in which he was given after that thumping victory in the Feltham on Boxing Day.
          He is running fresh again and I think Pipe will have put him through his paces to make sure he is sharp.
          However, bar fitness questions, there is little to oppose Grands Crus.
          He is well in the weights at 11-6 and if he can produce anything close to the form from that Boxing Day romp, he will take all the beating.
          Some people are relating Grands Crus to a similar situation 2 years ago when Long Run went off 2/1 favourite and got beat.
          However, Long Run made a lot of minor jumping mistakes that race, which all builds up in a competitive handicap, but Grands Crus looked a much more consistent jumper than Long Run last season.
          At 2/1 with most bookmakers, Grands Crus is very short for such a competitive race. Very few favourites win this race so it will be interesting if Grands Crus can defy that trend.

          Huntball

          Best Price: Ladbrokes 11/2

          From the favourite to the crowd favourite as Huntball hopes to extend the incredible journey he and eccentric owner Anthony Knott have taken over the last 12 months.
          Starting last season with an official rating of 69 his fairy tale ride meant he ended last season at Aintree off an OR of 154.
          That rise of fame has also led to a rise in the handicaps and he will be going off the same 11-6 that Grands Crus.
          The amount of improvement over the course of last year will be encouraging for fans if he has more in the tank to give.
          He is not as classy as Grands Crus, but has there ever being a horse that has rose to fame over such a short period of time?
          Owner Knott is certain that his 7-year-old is in tip top shape and has also referred Huntball to the “Frankel of the jumps”.
          One things for sure, should Huntball win or lose, there will be large sections of the crowd roaring him up the hill in appreciation of his achievements.

          Al Ferof

          Best Price: Paddy Power 15/2

          Al Ferof had a mixed first season over fences last season, but still looked a very talented chaser.
          A jumping error in the Arkle forced him out of contention in a race which Sprinter Sacre reversed the Supreme Novices form to take very easily.
          He failed to bounce back at Aintree when defeated by Menorah but he is very well thought of by Paul Nicholls and goes well fresh.
          He is given away weight to both Grands Crus and Huntball but could be the dark horse in this race.
          Few thought he would go for this and I can see him going really well however I think he probably needs a bigger trip in the future.

          Walkon

          Best Price: Coral 9/1
          It is hard to understand where Alan King wants to go with this 7-year-old. He had him running 2m for most of the season but then raced him at Ayr in the 4m Scottish National at the end of the season.
          He was quoted as saying this is the best chance he has ever had of winning the prestigious handicap, but if 2m5f is his distance, what on earth was he doing in a 4m last season?
          Alan King still has a fantastic 7-year-old on his hands and is well handicapped at 10-6.
          I expect an improvement on last year and off a good handicap mark, I wouldn’t put it past him taken this but he has a lot of top chasers to beat, chasers much classier than this.

          Best of the rest:

          Divers
          Best Price: Coral 18/1
          Divers has always loved Cheltenham and ran a great race in this race last year. He was very much out of sorts last month at Cheltenham, but it is no secret this grey needs good ground.
          Trainer Ferdy Murphy believes he is very much in contention and is off a very appealing weight at 10-1.
          If the rain holds back, and the ground is good, he could become a very good each way bet at 16/1.

            Cheltenham Open Meeting Day 1 Preview 2012


            The first day of Cheltenham’s Open Meeting is arguably the best Friday meeting in the racing calendar bar the Gold Cup and this year does not disappoint.
            The first race of the meeting The Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ has two brilliant hurdlers going against each other in Fingal Bay and Dynaste.
            Last year saw Grands Crus conquer Cue Card and this year’s duo is equally as competitive.
            Fingal Bay (5/4) was a super stylish hurdler last year until an injury hampered his season, ruling him out of the festival before a disappointing return at Aintree.
            He will be looking to continue his perfect record over fences but will have his work cut out by Dynaste (15/8) and Unioniste (9/2).
            Dynaste’s record on paper is not too impressive but if you take into account he took on the mighty Big Bucks last year three times then two wins from his 11 is not too bad.
            It will be his first race over the bigger obstacles but if his hurdling is anything to go by, he shouldn’t have too much problem adjusting.
            Unioniste ran a very good race in difficult circumstances when winning at Aintree earlier this month.
            Due to a blinding sunset, most of the fences were taken out leaving only 3 to jump.
            That probably didn’t help Unioniste as he seemed to gain a length over every jump. However despite the lack of obstacles, Unioniste stayed on well to win.
            Another Paul Nicholls trained novice runs in the Grade 2 Novices Hurdle at 2.25. Paul Nicholls was full of praise for his 4-year-old after his win at Cheltenham last month and said he had even more to give.