Paul Townend gives us the inside track to his rides at Cheltenham on Wednesday.
I’m looking forward to getting on Thomas Hobson, he’s a talented horse who deserves his place in a race like this, I’m sure he won’t disgrace himself. His jumping was much better at Warwick and if he gets into a rhythm then I think we’ve got an each-way chance but the drying ground is a bit of a concern and I wouldn’t expect us to beat Yanworth anyway – he looks exceptional.
This looks the right race for Yorkhill who looks more of a two-and-half-mile horse than a two miler, and David Casey, who rides him in all his work, thinks he’s got a great chance, but my feeling is that Yanworth is going to be very hard to beat.
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Yanworth - 1pt @ 6/4
The RSA is a tough race and it’s all about the trip for Shaneshill
– if he gets it then he’s got a definite each-way chance. You can put a line through his Doncaster run, Willie sent three horses over that day and they got a chill on the way. They all ran way below par. I’ve sat on him at home and he is in much better form now. He’s got a bit of class and I’m pretty confident he’ll stay, so we’ve got an each-way squeak for sure.
Shaneshill - 0.5pt e/w @ 22/1
The Coral Cup is a really tough race and Avant Tout
comes into it on the back of a fall over fences, which is far from ideal, but the better ground will really help him. He won a decent race at Punchestown on decent ground last year despite going off a 20-1 chance, so don’t be put off by his price, and I’m pretty sure we’ve not seen the best of him yet over hurdles. My slight concern is that he can be a bit novice with his jumping, and that could cost us if he’s not on his game over the first few. It will be very hard to make the ground back up if we get behind.
I thought Arbre De Vie was the value a couple of weeks ago but Blood Cotil looks the best of Willie’s challengers now, he’s had the best prep for this.
Avant Tout - 0.5pt e/w @ 28/1
I’m really excited about the ride on Felix Yonger in the Champion Chase, I think he’s got a great chance of making the frame at least.
Un De Sceaux is clearly the class horse but if anything happened to him it looks wide open and I’m hoping my fellow can pick up the pieces. He’s a far better horse on good ground so conditions have really come right for him and I’m hoping they go a good gallop which will enable me to sneak round and pounce late. My fellow is a great bet in the ‘without Un De Sceaux’ market.
Felix Yonger - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1
It was a surprise to get the call-up on Augusta Kate
but I’m thrilled because she’s got a cracking chance in receipt of 7lb from the boys.
She’s not the sort of mare that excites you with her homework but she’s a complete different filly on the track and she’s been electric in both starts so far. I think she must have a great chance in what looks a wide open race.
Patrick [Mullins] would have had first choice and he’s gone for Avenir D’Une Vie, but that’s not put me off because he wouldn’t be able to do the weight on Augusta Kate.
We don’t have a lot to go on but Turcagua and Very Much So are two of Willie’s that could run well.
Augusta Kate - 1pt @ 10/1