The Cheltenham Festival is four days of the best jump racing, and I just can’t wait to sample the unique atmosphere in the Cotswolds.
The opening day on Tuesday looks like being a bonanza for Irish trainer Willie Mullins who could saddle the favourite in most of the seven races.
The feature race is the Champion Hurdle where former champion Hurricane Fly joins stablemate Faugheen to give Mullins a double chance. However I am taking the Irish raiders on with The New One.
This horse was unlucky last year when a fast finishing third but worked well last week and just loves the Cheltenham Hill.
Douvan and Annie Power are two Mullins’ hotshots that look unopposable but his runner in the Arkle will be odds-on so Sgt Reckless looks better value.
Thomas Crapper loves Cheltenham and is my selection in the finale on Tuesday. Very Wood won a hurdle race at this meeting last year and has been laid out for the National Hunt Chase.
The feature race on Wednesday is the Queen Mother Champion Chase which has a really open look about it.
I have a feeling Nicky Henderson has ex-champion Sprinter Sacre back to somewhere near his best which should be good enough against mainly inferior rivals. Mullins has a strong hand on Wednesday and I fancy his Nichols Canyon to land the opener.
He is always well represented in the concluding Bumper but the word from Ireland is that one of his outsiders,
Bellshill, could be the one to be on. Another Mullins horse, Don Poli, also looks worth a bet in the RSA Chase. Any Currency (Cross Country),
All Yours (Fred Winter) and Activial (Coral Cup) are three who could redress the balance for English stables.