Bristol hoping to prove cream of JLT crop

Bristol hoping to prove cream of JLT crop

Nigel Twiston-Davies knows a thing or two about what is required to train a Cheltenham Festival winner and he appears very excited about the credentials of Bristol De Mai in the JLT Novices' Chase.
The five-year-old hasn't been out of the first two in six starts over fences this season and heads for Cheltenham on the back of a career-best performance as he took the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown in early February.
That race was billed as a clash with Nick Williams' promising Tea For Three but it was Bristol De Mai in the hands of Daryl Jacob that came readily clear to land the spoils.

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Champion Bumper packed with possibilities

Champion Bumper packed with possibilities

As always, the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper is set to present punters with a stern test of their puzzle-solving credentials.
There are some lofty reputations ready to go on the line, with big things expected from horses representing razor-sharp connections.
David Pipe struck a blow for the British team last March, Moon Racer returning off a long break to execute a perfectly timed run and end a run of three straight wins for Ireland in the Champion Bumper.

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Min to strike early for Supreme team

Min to strike early for Supreme team

The famous Cheltenham roar that greeted the start of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle once stood alone as the one certainty on the opening day of the festival.
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh now appear hell-bent on changing that age-old festival truism.
For three years running Mullins and Walsh have teamed up to land the curtain-raiser in the now-famous pink and green Rich Ricci silks that are becoming such an iconic part of the Cheltenham Festival itself.

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Final call for Ryanair Chase

Final call for Ryanair Chase

The build-up to this year's Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival has all the makings of a Hollywood cliffhanger.
“Will they or won't they” appears to be the key question ahead of the festival's intermediate Grade One chase.
The lure of one of the most eagerly anticipated Cheltenham Gold Cups in recent times is tugging hard at the heartstrings for connections, most of whom are also being forced to consider that some of the most likely Ryanair winners may choose to fly a different route come March.

The build-up to this year's Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival has all the makings of a Hollywood cliffhanger.
“Will they or won't they” appears to be the key question ahead of the festival's intermediate Grade One chase.
The lure of one of the most eagerly anticipated Cheltenham Gold Cups in recent times is tugging hard at the heartstrings for connections, most of whom are also being forced to consider that some of the most likely Ryanair winners may choose to

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Champion Hurdle crown up for grabs

Champion Hurdle crown up for grabs

With Faugheen now unable to defend his crown, a new Champion Hurdler will emerge from the shadows on March 15.
The absence of 'The Machine' certainly casts a shadow on the day one feature event but the misfortune of one is the opportunity for others and a terrific and unpredictable contest now looks to be firmly on the cards.
Within minutes of news breaking that Faugheen was going to miss out, another Rich Ricci-owned runner was thrust into the picture.

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Mullins holding key to crack World Hurdle renewal

Mullins holding key to crack World Hurdle renewal

Having broken the record for the most Cheltenham Festival winners in a single year at 2015’s meeting, Willie Mullins is gearing up for another dominant performance in 2016.
The Irish supremo has a stacked team of talent waiting to descend upon Cleeve Hill come Tuesday 15th March and it is no surprise to find a Mullins-trained runner topping the market in more than ten of the festival's 28 races.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Champion Hurdle remains the only one of the four Championship races at the festival that Mullins has laid claim to.

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Tizzard trump Card the unlikely hero

Tizzard trump Card the unlikely hero

In the space of a couple of months, Cue Card has confounded the critics to plant himself firmly in the picture for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.
Not many pundits would have been willing to pin their hopes of a Triple Crown being landed by Cue Card this season when we started out on the road to Cheltenham.
The revived £1m bonus payout was hastily rolled out in the run-up to Haydock's Betfair Chase and, for most observers, it appeared as something of a dangling carrot to attract the might of Willie Mullins' string to British shores throughout the season.

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Queen Mother to serve up Cheltenham Generation Game

Queen Mother to serve up Cheltenham Generation Game

While the winter talk has largely focused on the potential for a vintage Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is also now hurtling towards being a crackerjack contest.
Last year's Arkle winner, Un De Sceaux, will meet two former winners in Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy with a strong supporting cast in tow.
The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux is the 'new kid on the block'. Despite having won the Arkle imperiously last March, some doubts still linger over his ability to keep it all together among elite Grade One two-mile chasers.

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Cheltenham Countdown

The countdown to the 2016 Cheltenham Festival is on and we’ll be posting big-race previews every week as we build up to the biggest four days in the National Hunt calendar.

Ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival are dominated by Willie Mullins-trained runners and the first of the four-day bonanza looks set to be dominated by the Closutton handler, who saddles no less than four red-hot favourites.

Min, Douvan, Faugheen and Annie Power (or Vroum Vroum Mag) could all have the bookies running for cover and the Mullins’ machine can inflict further damage on the layers when Un De Sceaux lines up for the Queen Mother Champion Chase the following day.

Mullins looks likely to launch a three-pronged attack on Friday’s Gold Cup with Djakadam, Don Poli and Vautour all major players for the showpiece event.