16:00 Cheltenham – Merchant Royal poised for Foxhunter victory
Zemsky was correctly tipped to win the Foxhunter Chase year at 33/1 and we are hoping to secure an impressive double with Merchant Royal at 12/1
Chapoturgeon and Cloudy Lane are among those fighting out favouritism and the pair arguably bring the best Hunter Chase of the season to Cheltenham following their battle at Newbury in January.
It was Chapoturgeon that got the better of the closing stages on this occasion on his debut in this sphere, but he was receiving 7lb from his rival.
Now off level weights, Cloudy Lane could reverse this form, but horses aged over ten hold a poor Foxhunter record.
Looking back at this Newbury contest, the horse to take out of the race could be My Flora, who looked well held in third when falling late on, but she was trying to concede weight to both of the aforementioned duo.
My Flora will instead receive 3lb at Cheltenham and the extra distance could also help, especially if she is prevented from running so enthusiastically early on.
It could certainly be argued that 8/1 in the Cheltenham odds looks solid each-way value.
With the race featuring only amateur jockeys, some would say that Roulez Cool at 14/1 has to have a chance given that Sam Waley-Cohen is on board.
But the same duo flopped in the Foxhunters last year which is a worry, while Waley-Cohen would have only stepped off Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup moments earlier.
Therefore, the search for a winner has concluded with Merchant Royal, who has won all of his last three starts, including both of those from this season.
Interestingly, the fact he carried 12st to victory on his latest start is a plus, alongside the fact that jockey Mr R P McNamara has ridden the horse previously.