Well it has been a very long six months, but for fans of real racing it is a red letter day as the tapes rise on Cheltenham’s opening day of a new season.
Straight away the quality rises with a cracking card, full of promising novices and competitive action that’s a foreshadowing of the drama that awaits in the months ahead.
This first step on the path to Festival heaven used to be fertile ground for the Martin/David Pipe stable. They may not have the weaponry of old, but one of their disciples, former assistant Gordon Elliott has taken up the mantle with his mega-powerful Meath yard making regular raids across the Irish Sea.
His handicap hurdlers are often worth a look and he runs High Expectations in the closing conditional jockeys hurdle.
This horse has reasonably poor hurdles form of late – but it is well worth noting that has been on traditionally deep soft Irish ground. Away from hurdles, he has made hay on the flat this Summer improving over 20lbs with three wins.
Those wins were on better ground, and with ground riding good and potentially quicker by the last race, he should have conditions to suit. Lorcan Murtagh is a typically able Elliott claiming pilot and he should enjoy the steering here,
Favourite Dreamcatching has top weight earned by winning three of his last four. They we on tight tracks and in amidst them was a well-beaten 15th here at the Festival. Quick ground may help but there has to be a course suitability question.
Not too many others look to have secrets from the handicapper, and this is best left to Gordon who rates a confident 2pt choice.
Recommendation: High Expectations, (1730 Cheltenham), 2pts win, 13/2 Bet365
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