3.20 Down Royal

Although much better known for his exploits over fences of late, COLMS DREAM (best price 10/11) seems to have plenty in hand returning to hurdles based on his recent performances and it would come of something of a surprise if Karl Thorton’s charge fails to take advantage of this open goal. Following two uncharacteristic falls, the son of Beneficial bounced back to form with an authoritative display at Leopardstown last time out and as the time of the race suggested it was an above-average race for the grade, his mark of 94 here compared to his revised one over fences of 139, clearly points towards him being a handicap blot in this weak-looking affair.
Colms Dream - 2pts @ 10/11Won 3.82pts

4.10 Cheltenham

Paul Nicholls got off the mark for the meeting when Diego Du Charmil struck gold for the Ditcheat team here yesterday and in the shape of STILLETTO (best price 10/1), the champion trainer elect has a fine chance of adding to his tally. A real tearaway over hurdles, the combination of a hood and fences appear to have made a man of the Westerner gelding and even though he still remains a keen-going sort, he’s certainly more amenable to restraint than he was in the past. Those strong-travelling tendencies were seen to good effect last time out at Leicester as he sauntered to cosy success in a well-run handicap without being asked for maximum effort and with the likelihood of another sound gallop on the cards, the in-form seven-year-old can breeze into the thick of the action before being asked to extend up the hill in the latter stages.
Stilletto - 0.5pts e/w @ 10/1Lost -1pts

5.30 Cheltenham

Jonjo O’Neill and Derek O’Connor teamed up for memorable success with Minella Roco in the National Hunt Chase on the first day of the meeting and the same combination looks to have every chance of repeating the dose with UPSWING (best price 9/1). Pulled up on his latest outing in the Welsh National on unsuitable heavy ground, the son of Beneficial is best judged on his fine effort when runner-up to Sausalito Sunrise in an ultra-competitive handicap chase at the Paddy Power meeting back in November and sure to have been trained to the minute by his canny handler, 9/1 looks a fair each-way price with trip, track and ground in his favour.
Upswing - 0.5pts e/w @ 9/1Lost -1pts

8.20 Chelmsford

SAVED MY BACON (best price 2/1) certainly didn’t live up to her name when receiving a horrible passage in a rough race here the other night and she’s worth another go to try and gain some compensation for those of us who had our fingers burnt. Coming with what looked a potent threat off the home turn, Chris Dwyer’s inmate had the door well and truly shut in her face at a crucial moment and being there was no time to recover and summon up a counter response, her final finishing position is best ignored. Prior to that unlucky episode, the daughter of Camacho had performed to a decent standard behind the much-improved Bosham and although most of her best recent form has been over the minimum trip, the way she’s been finishing off her races suggests an extra furlong wouldn’t go amiss.
Saved My Bacon - 1pt @ 2/1Lost -1pts