Cheltenham 1.50

The likelihood of heavy overnight rain is likely to strengthen the hand of hot favourite DJAKADAM who ploughed through desperate conditions to land the Thyestes Chase a year ago. He subsequently ran a blinder to chase home Coneygree in the Gold Cup and looked mightily impressive on his return over an inadequate trip at Punchestown (2m4f) so will surely take all the beating in this field.

Last year’s winner Many Clouds (beat Smad Place) was beaten twenty five lengths in the Gold Cup before landing the Grand National. He appears the chief danger but clearly has plenty of ground to make up on Djakadam from their running here in March.
Djakadam - 1pt @ 8/13

Cheltenham 2.25

A fascinating handicap and CHAMPAGNE WEST could be the answer to a tricky puzzle with his yard remaining in red-hot form. Described by rider Richard Johnson as "one of our most exciting, less exposed horses in the yard", he chased home stablemate Village Vic in a strong handicap at this venue before Christmas and should be on the scene again.

Irish Cavalier and Tenor Nivernais both boast plenty of course form and rate big dangers with conditions likely to suit. The former was outclassed in the King George but had previously travelled powerfully before finding disappointingly little in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. His yard were all wrong at that stage of the season and he will relish this drop in class.

Tenor Nivernais copes well with testing ground and has also finished in arrears of Village Vic this term so looks ideal frame material, especially if the forecast rain hits Prestbury Park.
Champagne West - 1pt @ 9/4
Alan King boasts a good record in this race, Ordo Ab Chao (2015) and Batonnier (2012) both won this in recent seasons so Yanworth is obviously respected. Barry Geraghty has always thought today’s trip is within Yanworth’s capabilities and he could prove tough to beat even if a step up in trip on stamina-sapping conditions may not play to his strengths.

Good-ground lover Shantou Village hammered CHAMPERS ON ICE when they met here last November and the form has been boosted by the exploits of the latter. The Pipe stable weren’t in great form when they met for the first time and their gelding could be some value to reverse placings on different ground today.

Deep ground won’t concern Charmix who ploughed through soft conditions at Newbury to score by 17l last time.
Champers On Ice - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1

Cheltenham 3.35

The Cleeve Hurdle could feature an intriguing tactical battle with THISTLECRACK and Camping Ground dominating the market. Victories at Newbury and Ascot have transported Thistlecrack towards the head of the World Hurdle betting and he will be tough to beat providing his rider doesn’t afford Camping Ground too much rope at the head of affairs.

Like Ptit Zig, Camping Ground capsized in the Peterborough Chase, but he redeemed himself in style in a Grade 2 Hurdle at this venue last time. He is yet to tackle three miles but could be a tough horse to pass if allowed to dictate.

In a move often utilised by his stable, Ptit Zig strives to put his campaign back on track after a troubled season over fences. He should enjoy this test a good deal more than recent excursions over the larger obstacles but it is open to question whether he is still good enough to trouble the main protagonists.
Thistlecrack - 1pt @ 4/5

Doncaster 2.05

Morning Run hails from a premier stable, but she needs to leave a sub-standard Leopardstown reappearance behind to dominate a useful field. The Irish raider was much too exuberant over half a mile further that day so the drop back to the minimum trip should help and she is admittedly tough to write off given the strength of her yard.

The doughty Smart Talk was a game scorer at Haydock where she dominated from the front over further, however, she drops in trip here and could be vulnerable to last year’s winner INTENSE TANGO who beat Pass The Time by 3l last year and has warmed up for a repeat bid with two excellent all-weather efforts.

The drying conditions should suit the selection who might just boast a little more natural speed than some of today’s rivals.
Intense Tango - 1pt e/w @ 7/1

Doncaster 2.40

This race looks to provide a terrific duel between BARTERS HILL and Up For Review who will dominate the market and more than likely the race itself. It is tough to separate the duo given they have both excelled over hurdles this term, but there could be even more to come from Barters Hill now he steps up to three miles for the first time.

He is a grinder with speed and may have too much in the closing stages for Up For Review who was admittedly highly impressive at Punchestown (3m) on heavy ground. He is impossible to knock on what he’s achieved over hurdles, especially as the better ground is no issue, and preference between the two can only be marginal.
Barters Hill - 1pt @ 1/1

Doncaster 3.15

Jonjo O’Neill hasn’t enjoyed the most fruitful period since the turn of the year, but the prospect of better ground could ignite his season in the Sky Bet Chase. HOLYWELL often peaks once the Christmas decorations have been banished to the loft and his career figures in months January, February, March and April read an impressive: 3121241111143.

Some may feel he has plenty on with top weight, but he is only conceding 8lb to a 12-year-old in Aachen and, with the exception of Le Mercurey, Ziga Boy and possibly Dolatulo, there appears a lack of well-handicapped rivals in the field.

Le Mercurey could prove a huge threat given he ran creditably in a warm Cheltenham novice chase behind Seeyouatmidnight on New Year’s day, but the trip is a slight concern, while this is a much stiffer examination of Ziga Boy after his course and distance romp here last time.

Although there are 15 runners and three places on offer, the sponsors are happy to lay four places so course stalwart IKORODU ROAD is worthy of a small each-way play bet at 20/1.
Holywell - 1pt @ 9/1
Ikorodu Road - 0.25pt e/w @ 20/1