13:30 Cheltenham – Soll to put boot into 4m Festival rivals
Soll may be massively short of experience over fences, but in a field seemingly lacking in true quality, he is worth backing at 7/1 to win the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup.
The race historically has not been one to side with the favourites, with Chicago Grey the first market leader since 1992 to triumph last year.
There are signs that as the quality of the race increases, this will better suit those towards the head of the market and this bodes well for Soll.
The manner of his latest win at Down Royal last month whetted the appetite and left the impression that Soll was still capable of far greater improvement.
In this performance he jumped imposingly and showed the type of engine that could have his fellow challengers off the bridle far earlier than they would ideally want to.
The booking of Katie Walsh in the amateur race is also a major bonus, given the Cheltenham Festival success she has previously enjoyed with both Poker De Sivola and Thousand Stars.
Seven of the last ten winners of the 4m contest also arrived at Cheltenham having finished in the first two on their latest start and this statistic also brings in Teaforthree.
Unlike many of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, Teaforthree has experience in top-class company, having tackled the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton in December.
He may have pulled up during the race, but he will have learnt not to set off at such a blistering gallop and if allowed to control the race tempo from the front, he could be a threat at 6/1.
No horse in the race has a major advantage in terms of course appearances as the most any of the runners have raced around Cheltenham is once.
Alfie Spinner could challenge Teaforthree for the early lead and ran with substantial credit on his latest start at Ascot.
He has no stamina issues and a repeat of this display could see him go close at 8/1.