The Triumph Hurdle
Traditionally this is a gruelling test for juveniles that favours staying power over speed. With the ground quickening up, this may bring the speed horses back into the fray.
Defi De Seuil has long been favourite here and comes to the race off a long winning run. He is a physical stunner to look at, and his sometimes sloppy late hurdling shouldn’t be an issue on this track with so few jumps late in the race.
Charli Parcs is more of a speed horse. He was very impressive at Kempton in December, but wasn’t as good, looking below par, before crashing out at the same course last month. We don’t like to support a novice off the back of a fall.
Master Blueeyes has a great cruising speed and a turn of foot. He could be a big danger, and Defi Du Seuil will need to strike a long way out to run the finish out of this one.
Mega Fortune may prefer it softer and useful ex-flat horse Landofhopeandglory may well be the better Irish challenger on the faster surface.
Recommendation: Defi Du Seuil, 9/4, generally available
The County Hurdle
A big favourite of Lap Of The Odds, the annual cavalry charge of the County Hurdle throws up it’s usual array of enticing bets.
Mick Jazz heads the list, rejuvenated by the canny Gordon Elliott. He has form behind easy Supreme winner Labaik, and a rating here of 142 looks very workable.
There is money for two course winners, Ivanovich Gorbatov and North Hill Harvey. Both look to have been targeting this all season, but neither appear to have been offered much help by the handicapper.
Tell Us More needs to be watched in the market as he has the hallmarks of a gamble. Renneti has form with Wednesday’s winner Supasundae, but he can be a reluctant starter, and that is just enough to look elsewhere.
Song Light was a close third behind North Hill Harvey and is weighted to finish alongside, but is three times the price. His only run since was another good placing in the Betfair hurdle, and his flat bred pedigree promises better on this quick ground.
Recommendation: Mick Jazz, 8/1 & Song Light, 25/1.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
The Irish won’t hear of defeat for the Gordon Elliott-trained Death Duty. Although most of his form is on soft, he is bred to go on quicker ground. He hasn’t raced beyond 2m4f yet and this will be his stiffest stamina test to date.
Wholestone is a reliable slogger with form over course and distance. He sets a tough standard to beat.
Monalee appeals as one who could be well suited by these race conditions and he has been well backed in recent days.
We like the outsider Amis Debois. This horse ran Wholestone to a length over course and distance but is three times the price here. A front running style can suit this test, and the better ground could bring about improvement.
Recommendation: Amis Debois, 28/1, generally available
The Gold Cup
See our dedicated Gold Cup blog for details
The Foxhunters Chase
On The Fringe looks for a hat-trick in this race, and top amateur Jamie Codd looks for a third winner of the week in this race restricted to amateurs.
This horse is undoubtedly the class hunter chaser of recent times. His record suggests he has been at his best with some cut in the ground. He was a bit laboured winning this last year, and this promises to be quicker ground again.
Conditions should suit Wonderful Charm who was a decent chaser on a sound surface and has been re-fashioned now as a hunter chaser. Katie Walsh is an interesting jockey booking.
Pacha Du Polder and Paint The Clouds were both behind On The Fringe last year, but both would prefer this faster surface and have chances to reverse the form.
Salisfy is a favourite of ours having won this race twice. He may well look to be a light of former years, but there were glimmers last time at Leopardstown and these are his ideal race conditions.
Recommendation: Wonderful Charm, 11/2, widely available.
The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have good records in this race. Willie saddles Battleford who was second in the Bumper here last year. He has been a little disappointing in novice hurdles but that allows for a return to festival conditions off a mark of just 135 in his first handicap. That looks eye-catching.
He also saddles the useful Castello Sforza who has struggled to win in slow run soft ground affairs but could be better suited to a race like this.
Henderson saddles Rather Be, and he has the look of a horse who is hard to assess. The handicapper is guessing and may well have guessed wrongly and he has a good chance.
Runfordave and No Comment are both rightly near the head of the market in a open race, with No Comment’s form in particular having taken a recent boost.
Coo Star Sivola looks very well handicapped on a number of form lines and can go very well from the front for regular rider Lizzie Kelly.
We just prefer Battleford over Coo Star Sivola – dual forecast anyone?
Recommendation: Battleford, 8/1, generally available
The Grand Annual Handicap Chase
It’s the final fling for the 2017 festival, and it is the usual unpredictable blitz around the two mile course.
Le Prezien has a lot going for him as an unexposed novice from connections who now how to win this race. The form of his last Sandown run is working out well, but he will need to brush up his jumping in this field.
Dandridge and Rock the World represent placed form from last year’s race. Both have been heavily supported and both should like the decent ground. Rock The World looks to have had a targeted campaign and the money has been talking.
However, we prefer Dandridge who ran very well for second last year despite a couple of big uncharacteristic jumping errors.
At longer odds, Sizing Platinum promises to run a good race now that he has a better surface, whilst the seasonal and stable debut of Calipto for Venetia Williams needs to be watched in the market.
Recommendation: Dandridge, 8-1, generally available
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