With no significant rain forecast for Cheltenham between now and the weekend it is no surprise to see My Tent Or Yours introduced at 13/8 with BetVictor for the International Hurdle especially given the news that Alan King’s Yanworth (also in the colours of JP McManus) will miss the race and wait for Kempton and the Xmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.
The conditions of the race suit the horse down to the ground and underfoot conditions will be far more suitable than the soft ground he encountered at Haydock on his reappearance last month.
Tyrell (12.20) was no great shakes on the level but he was nibbled at in the betting at Exeter on debut before finishing fourth to Evening Hush at Exeter, having been hampered at a very early stage in the race. The winner followed up at Aintree in a listed contest last weekend and the selection is entitled to come on for the experience and land the Warwick opener.
The Maiden Hurdle would not look out of place at Cheltenham this weekend with many of the top yards represented including Philip Hobbs whose Westend Story (12.50) gets the vote on his hurdles debut. The selection won a couple of soft ground bumpers before finishing fifth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham back in March and he promises to be well-suited by a decent test over today’s 2m 5f trip.
Reading between the lines Ben Pauling wasn’t too impressed with the ride given to Willoughby Court at Market Rasen last time and he and Altior’s half-brother Silverhow are two of a number of dangers in a cracking contest.
As good as the Maiden Hurdle is the listed Mares Novices’ Chase is better!! The Organist ran all over Tagrita at Huntingdon on debut before, seemingly, race fitness took its toll and the Oliver Sherwood trained mare will be a different proposition this afternoon. That said few horses have impressed me more than Briery Belle (1.20) did at Carlisle on debut and she gets the vote with the excellent Tom O’Brien in the saddle.
Paul Webber has his string in good form and I think Lemon’s Gent (3.00) might surprise a few people despite having run poorly on his last couple of starts. At his best on a sound surface the selection is a good jumper of a fence at his best and he can go well with Highbury High, who needs to be played late, considered the biggest danger.
Hint Of Mint (2.40) hasn’t quite fired in two starts since returning from a lengthy lay-off but he has been dropped 7lbs as a result and could be back down to a winning mark for Harry Fry in the handicap hurdle at Taunton. Recent course winner Clic Work has more to offer for the champion trainer Paul Nicholls but he is 7lbs higher than when scoring over the minimum trip here last month.
At Newcastle Waiting Patiently (12.40) can follow up his recent Sedgefield handicap win in a very hot Novices’ Chase over 2m 4f; the selection could hardly have been more impressive last time but this is a much stiffer examination.
Lyvius has his first start for Rose Dobbin and was the best of these over timber, but he has been off the track for over 600-days and a bigger danger might come from Ash Park who finished second on his chase debut at Carlisle back in October.