Paul Ferguson has three selections from Cheltenham for us on Saturday; Vasco Du Ronceray ; 12:45; Grands Crus 14:35; Ifandbutwhynot; 15:40 Compare odds and bet.
The high-class Grands Crus (2:35) looks on a fair mark to start his second season over fences and the course specialist is taken to land this afternoon’s Paddy Power Gold Cup.
A winner on his reappearance at this meeting in each of the past two seasons, the seven-year-old quickly developed in to a very smart novice last term, especially when slamming Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth in the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day. The form of that race could hardly have worked out any stronger and he is taken to land this before heading back to Grade 1 company.
The drop back in trip is arguably a positive, given the pace he has shown over both hurdles and fences, and he was available at 5/2 overnight. It is hoped that one of the bookmakers takes him on this morning and pushes him out even further.
Earlier on the card, Paul Nicholls bids for a third straight win in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial and Far West did it nicely at Chepstow on debut, where he beat a subsequent winner, but Vasco Du Ronceray (12:45) could hardly have been more impressive on his British debut at Hereford and he is given the nod.
Nicky Henderson’s son of Al Namix won by 32 lengths and, while the form doesn’t amount to much, he did give 5lbs (taking into account jockey allowances) to a 109-rated juvenile.
Proven on this sort of ground, whereas Far West has only run on soft and runs as though he needs it that way, the selection was available at 2/1 last night.
The concluding novices’ handicap hurdle looks a fiercely competitive contest, but Ifandbutwhynot (3:40) looks reasonably treated and his form was given a big boost yesterday with the victory of Eduard at Newcastle.
David O’Meara’s six-year-old was a smart bumper performer last term and got off the mark at the second time of asking over hurdles. Available at 14/1 with Paddy Power early on Friday evening, he is worth a small each-way interest under Timmy Murphy.
12:45 Cheltenham: Vasco Du Ronceray (2/1 Betfred / Ladbrokes)
2:35 Cheltenham: Grands Crus (5/2 general)
3:40 Cheltenham: Ifandbutwhynot (each-way 14/1 Paddy Power)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)