Cheltenham International Meeting preview – Day 1

Cheltenham International meeting gets underway and a dry week has seen a few contenders already pull out and still more likely to drop, but either way, there’s still a lot be excited about.

Below are the best chances for me.

12.10 2m1f Novices Hurdle, Class 3

Angels Breath is the big fav at present, he won his maiden PTP on heavy over 3 miles in Ireland in style and was sold for €85k and since moved to Nicky Henderson’s yard, this however will be a different proposition with a sharp 2m1f trip on fast ground. Preference must go for ELIXIR DE NUTZ, already a Cheltenham winner even if on the old course, he won a Grade 2 with the form looking pretty good with beating Itchy Feet who prior beat Grand Sancy, who since won 2 on the bounce including a Listed, also the 4th bolted up NTO. He does however have a 10lb penalty which isn’t ideal, but with good ground in favour, he should be the one to beat.

12.45 3m1f Novice Chase, Class 2

LIL ROCKERFELLER again is another Cheltenham winner on the old course, he done everything wrong that day, but his stamina proved priceless. The cheek pieces which seen him so well over hurdles in past was applied to his next race which seen a big improvement to his jumping, he didn’t have to beat a lot, but he gave a lot of weight away and did it effortlessly.

1.20 2m1f Handicap Hurdle, Class 3

Possibly the hardest race to predict with many unexposed runners, but even thou A HARES BREATH is the oldest horse in the race, he’s very capable of winning a race like this, he won a tough Listed Handicap off a higher mark around this time last year off top weight, he likes Cheltenham and is 2 from 2 with today’s jockey Nico De Boinville on board.

1.55 2m4f Mares Handicap Chase, Class 3

SKEWIFF has looked like a chaser for a while and impressed on her debut over timber, she did make one mistake at 6th when nodding on landing but apart from that, she jumped beautifully and was given an easy ride, she steps into mares company which will be a huge plus and she’s only 1lb above her last hurdle winning mark, which looks very exploitable and the best bet of the day.

2.30 3m2f Handicap Chase, Grade 3

I expect Cogry to run another big race on his favoured course but hard to back to win off the mark he is. Preference comes for THEATRE TERRITORY, yet to win over fences but her last display says she’s ready, just a length behind Ibis Du Rheu who could boost her form in the 12.45, she looked the winner coming into the final bend until taken at the final flight, but was coming back at the winner, this step up in trip will suit and the step into handicap company see’s her under better circumstances and what looks a big weight advantage.

3.05 3m6f Cross Country Handicap Chase, Class 2

Below was taken from my Great Pretender sire to follow post, which is relevant to this race.

AMAZING COMEDY is French trained, so won’t be the best horse to follow, unless you watch French/worldwide racing. But the new to training David Cottin, who looks to be a future training star himself, he quit the saddle at an early age, but already has tons of experience with nearly 800 winners to his name and being named 3-time champion jockey. He started learning from a young age with his Dad Philippe Cottin being a respectful trainer and has been spending time and learning from some of the best trainers around, from the likes of Andrew Balding, Paul Nicholls & Philip Hobbs. Anyway, back to Amazing Comedy to who a few would recognise his name from running a big run in 5th at a huge price on unfavourable circumstances and on unsuitable ground in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham festival for Phillipe Cottin. He was a recent acquisition from his Dad’s yard and we’ve already witnessed David’s training ability and with the gelding hacking up LTO. Amazing Comedy has an entry in this Friday’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, this time he should be on more suitable ground and in a handicap will see just 9-9 on his back, everything looks good to me.

3.40 3m Handicap Hurdle, Class 2

It’s obvious on jockey choice that Worthy Farm is Paul Nicholls favoured horse, but stablemate THE EAGLEHASLANDED looks to given a big chance by the handicapper, due to go chasing soon, the yard give him one last go over hurdles, not only is he down to last winning mark, worthy 7lb claimer Alexander Thorne takes the reigns and makes him more dangerous, yes he does have to bounce back to form but, ground in favour and a past winner over C&D, there’s no reason why he can’t.

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