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Cheltenham Festival Fever!

8 Mar 2019

It’s that time of year, the days are getting longer, spring is in the air and, after months of build up and preview evenings, it’s finally time for Cheltenham! I’m a huge fan of the Festival, and jumps racing in general- it’s a week I always look forward to. This year I’m pleased to say I’ll be attending on the Tuesday before racing at Wolverhampton, which promises to be an electric day with a mouthwatering Champion Hurdle definitely the highlight.

Let’s begin with that race. As I said, what a renewal it is! Buveur D’Air goes for his hat-trick in the race. It was slightly disappointing to see him get beat at Kempton, but he obviously loves Cheltenham which is a big plus. You don’t get any better than Nicky Henderson who will have him ripe for this and I could see him landing the hat-trick. Apple’s Jade is a very worthy adversary off the back of a very impressive display in Ireland. I’ve been so impressed with her this season and she deserves to be favourite for the race. Laurina would also not be without a chance, she’s unbeaten in 7 starts and could be anything. She’ll have to show further improvement however to beat the proven performers here.

On Wednesday the Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature. There’s not much to say about this race, as for me, it’s just a case of Altior jumping round and he should have this in the bag. He’s such a high class animal and his record speaks for itself. Simply put, I’d be amazed if he were to be beaten.

It’s really pleasing to see Emma Lavelle saddle the favourite in the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday with Paisley Park. Emma is a family friend of mind, so I’ll be chearing him on. I suppose his most eye-catching rival is Faugheen who on his best form would take a lot of beating. Supersundae hasn’t been quite at his best this year, and I can’t see him being good enough.

On Friday, I would love to see Presenting Percy win the Gold Cup. A lot has been made of his unconventional prep, but I don’t see that being an issue myself.  He ran a superb race to win the RSA Chase last year. He’s a very worthy favourite in my opinion, and it would be great to see a small trainer win a race of this magnitude. Of the others last year’s winner Native River should go well again, especially if we see some of the forecast rain start to fall. But I’ll stick with Davy Russell and Presenting Percy to pick up the big one on Friday.

Nap of the Festival: Envoi Allen Champion Bumper, Wednesday

I couldn’t have been more impressed with the Cheveley Park runner. He has loads of experience and at 7/2 is probably a good price.