1.30 Cheltenham

The Irish have saddled 10 of the last 15 winners and 17 of the last 19 had won on their previous start. The much-hyped Min has been fancied for this race since the summer and bids to give his connections an incredible fourth successive win in the race. He can be keen and exuberant early on, but hacked up last time at Punchestown and is an intriguing prospect, however course and distance winner ALTIOR looks a more professional conveyance and he is a strong stayer at the trip. The selection boasts track experience and is reportedly in rude health at home for a yard who are due a win in this race following a number of near misses.
Supasundae was 13l too strong for SILVER CONCORDE on bad ground at Leopardstown, but the latter could get closer if conditions are quicker today.
I was fortunate to speak to Pat Smullen at the races recently and his yard are very optimistic of a bold showing on better ground than he encountered last time.
Altior - 1pt e/w @ 9/2
Silver Concorde - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1

2.10 Cheltenham

DOUVAN has looked a class apart over fences this term, winning three times and it seems as though only a fall can derail his bid to follow up last year’s festival win.
He holds Sizing John courtesy of beating him three times in a year, including in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago, but that line of form could be the key to the race so Henry de Bromhead’s charge could be the one to follow him home.
Vaniteux was beaten 28l in last year’s Champion Hurdle but has won two of his three starts over fences. He has claims even if he has so far looked happier on a flat track.
Sizing John - 1pt @ 2/1

2.50 Cheltenham

Out Sam has been a long-term fancy for this race with his handler believing he remains well handicapped following wins at Catterick and Newbury. He is a threat to all and is only overlooked because of his lack of experience of big fields.
In contrast, Holywell’s festival record reads 114, figures which include a win in this race two years ago and a fine 4th to Coneygree in the Gold Cup last term. He is a better horse in the spring on decent ground so expect him to leave behind some modest runs.
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT has proved a shade disappointing over fences, but this is his handicap debut and his stable is excellent at this meeting with his type. He has faced a couple of stiff tasks this season and may well appreciate the drop in class, likely strong pace and better ground.
The Young Master and Carole’s Destrier represent last year’s winning stable and have claims. The former had his rating protected by running over hurdles last time, while Carole’s Destrier was beaten 7l in the novice handicap last year and looks a better horse stepped up in trip this term.
This is not a lucky race for Paul Nicholls whose record is 0-18, but Southfield Theatre is reported in rude health having started to fire again after an injury sustained in the RSA Chase last year.
Un Temps Pour Tout - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1

3.30 Cheltenham

Even without last year’s first and second Faugheen and Arctic Fire in the field, trainer Willie Mullins still has a strong hand with Annie Power and Nichols Canyon filling the void left by the injured duo. Annie Power can be keen in her races (a hood was used for the first time at Punchestown) and she tackles 2m for the first time since Jan 2014 so could be vulnerable. Her price is a little tight for my liking. Stablemate Nichols Canyon, third in the 2m5f novice last year, was below-par in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time, but would be dangerous to write off given he had impressed over hurdles up to that point.
He beat Identity Thief 2l at Leopardstown over Christmas, a month after the latter had edged out Top Notch in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. However, it may be time for an old favourite in
THE NEW ONE to finally achieve his day of destiny and puncture the hopes of the all-conquering battalions from across the water.
The New One has exhibited frailties in the past and it is well documented he is prone to jump to his right when it matters most. However, his handler is adamant the eight-year-old is in the best form he has been in for two years since finishing an unlucky third in the 2014 running of this race and the drying ground will play to his strengths.
The bad feet and back problems which beset him last season are niggles of the past and, even with those ailments, it’s worth noting he was only beaten eight lengths by Faugheen a year ago. His Prestbury Park record over hurdles stands at an impressive 1211315 and the only time he has finished out of the frame was in last year’s Champion when not at his best.
The New One - 1pt e/w @ 6/1

4.10 Cheltenham

Willie Mullins has won the last seven renewals, including last year when his main hope, Annie Power fell at the last hurdle, but Glens Melody still obliged. Unsurprisingly, Vroum Vroum Mag is a warm order following three comprehensive wins this term, all at odds on.
In all honesty, she hasn’t beaten a great deal as yet, but the manner of her victories are hard to knock.
She is priced accordingly though and, given that POLLY PEACHUM was touched off in this event 12 months ago, she looks a fair each-way alternative, even if she would have been beaten comfortably if Annie Power had jumped the last hurdle. Bitofapuzzle was 3rd that day (Pass The Time 6th) and enters calculations again, while The Govaness is 2-5 at the track and, although beaten 13l by Vroum Vroum Mag at Ascot, the drop back in trip will suit.
Polly Peachum - 1pt e/w @ 13/2