The ground has come right for La Bague Au Roi (4:50) who returns from a 110-day lay-off in this afternoon’s Grade 2 Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and Warren Greatrex’s six-year-old looks a viable each-way alternative to the Willie Mullins-trained mares.
A three-times bumper winner, she is three from three over hurdles this season and has been deliberately freshened up over the winter to avoid bad ground. A strict reading of her form leaves her with something to find, but she has scope for considerable improvement on this ground and I expect the extended 2m on the New course to be right up her street. At 9-1, she warrants each-way support.
Last year’s Pertemps winner Mall Dini (5:30) is another to back each-way (7-1 overnight) in the concluding Kim Muir, for Patrick Kelly and Katie Walsh.
Still a maiden over fences, the seven-year-old has been running with promise behind some of the better Irish novices, at times over trips shorter than ideal, and he ought to relish the step up in trip. Racing off just 3lbs higher than when winning at last year’s festival, he looks set to go well.
two selections on day three of the Cheltenham Festival; La Bague Au Roi at 4.50 and Mall Dini at 5.30