What can we expect on a tantaslising Cheltenham Trials Day?
Thistlecrack, Un De Sceaux, Unowhatimeanharry, Defi De Seuil, the list goes on and on. Everywhere you look this Saturday there will be top talent on show at Cheltenham and we can’t wait to see how the action unfolds.
A nine-race bumper card awaits us, with the first off at 12:00 and the lucky last not until 16:35.
That’s because the Trials Day meeting has picked up two additional contests with the re-arranged Cross Country Chase and Clarence House Chase slotting in very nicely.
So, where to begin?
We’ve already mentioned a few of the star names set to appear. Here’s our take on the big potential talking points and what to expect…
Un De Sceaux still the one to be on
The track and line-up may have changed but many will still expect the same outcome when Un De Sceaux bids to land the Clarence House Chase at 13:45.
With last week’s abandoned fixture at Ascot prompting the switch to Prestbury Park, a few new faces have thrown their respective hats into the ring.
The 2015 Ryanair Chase winner Uxizandre holds an entry for this, the handicap preceding the Clarence House and the SkyBet Chase up at Doncaster.
Meanwhile, Henry De Bromhead’s Desert Orchid Chase winner Special Tiara also enters the reckoning with Gary Moore taking the decision to remove Ar Mad.
UDS was a memorable beaten favourite in last year’s Champion Chase. But the previous Arkle winner is likely to remain unbowed by the unique test Cheltenham presents, especially against this type of opposition.
Tasty Triumph rehearsal is a fantastic opener
The Triumph Hurdle Trial battle between Defi De Seuil and Charli Parcs is a fantastic way to start proceedings.
The former has enjoyed two previous trial wins in the Cotswolds and followed that up with an impressive 13-length romp at Chepstow over the festive period.
However, Nicky Henderson’s French import is a more than worthy challenger having bolted up at Kempton on his first UK appearance.
Both are available at single-figure odds for the big showdown in March. But which of the JP McManus-owned pair will further outline their Festival credentials?
Will Thistlecrack strengthen his grip on the Gold Cup market?
King George VI Chase winner and racing superstar Thistlecrack is likely to be the star attraction on Saturday and our traders are taking no chances ahead of his Cotswold Chase assault.
Colin Tizzard’s all-conquering nine-year-old is just 2/5 to add the Grade 2 contest to his growing list of prizes.
However, will he have it all his own way?
His only big blunder over fences so far came at Cheltenham back in November.
And with the Dorset handler now going through a relative dry-run of winners there are some starting to try and find a few chinks in Thistlecrack’s armour.
Last year’s renewal winner Smad Place hasn’t been at his best lately but that won’t put off value-seekers.
Elsewhere, 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds is reported to be as good as ever by trainer Oliver Sherwood.
His taking victory at Aintree certainly displayed that there’s plenty of magic left and the battle between last year’s 1-2 and the 2017 market leader is sure to be unmissable viewing.
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