Friday, 25 January 2013

Outstanding day in prospect at Cheltenham

After the disappointment of losing all the top class cards last weekend it looks like Cheltenham have come to the rescue of NH fans starved of top class jumping action with a quite outstanding card with no less than eight highly competitive races headed by the rescheduled Victor Chandler Chase at 1.50 that will feature the brilliant Sprinter Sacre who with a clear round of jumping looks bomb proof to follow up on his breathtaking win in The Tingle Creek Chase Sandown in December.

Even without the addition of the Victor Chandler Chase this would still be as good a card outside the Cheltenham Festival all season and The Argento Chase despite the absence of Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth who was rules out earlier in the week after Nicky Henderson wasn't 100% happy with him will still feature several horses with Gold Cup aspirations of there own in a field of 12 headed by the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander who makes his comeback after almost two years off the track. Tidal Bay a possible for both the Gold Cup and World Hurdle at The Festival will hopefully take his place after a slight setback in the week. Connections will decide in the morning if this popular 12yo will take his place in the line up. Grands Crus will look to build on his excellent 3rd place in The King George after a breathing operation and was a winner on this card two years ago when impressively winning The Cleeve Hurdle thou his suspect stamina will be tested with the potential of very testing conditions.

The Cleeve Hurdle will feature Nicky Henderson's Oscar Whisky who after two easy wins over 2m4f this season steps up to 3m for only the second time and this could decide if he is to have a second crack at the World Hurdle but his stamina will be put to the test be proven stayer's such as the easy Long Walk Hurdle winner Rene De Sivola.

The opening contest the Triumph Hurdle Trial will see the UK trial of french import Rolling Star and Paul Nicholls easy Kempton winner Irish Saint.

The Murphys Group Handicap Chase has high class field of 16 with Cheltenham Gold Cup entries Katenko and Bold Sir Brian but will come up against some very useful opposition in the shape of Alan King's Bless The Wings a course and distance winner in this card 12 months ago and unbeaten this season and Donald McCain has entered Our Mick a highly progressive novice last season and making his seasonal debut here.

Yet another intriguing contest is The Neptune Investment Management Novice Hurdle that will feature Nigel Twiston-Davies very impressive Warwick winner The New One who also boasts two wins at Cheltenham. Coneygree a winner at the track in December and unbeaten over Hurdles looks to boost his Festival claims here and the rapidly improving At Fishers Cross from the Rebecca Curtis stable returns to the track after a success over 3m another winner from the December here.

The remainder of the card is made up of The Timeform Novice Handicap Chase always a good pointer to handicap's at The Festival and the finale a 16 runner 2m Handicap Hurdle could well throw up some clues for the County Hurdle in March.

There will be a 7am inspection but Cheltenham are very confident of racing going ahead as long as the weather forecast is correct and anyone attending this fantastic days racing is without doubt in for a real treat with some of the stars if NH racing strutting there stuff at the home of jump racing.

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