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The ITV Racing action on Saturday comes from Kempton and Newcastle. There’s some traditional Cheltenham Festival pointers with the Adonis Hurdle (14:25) which has thrown up a few Triumph Hurdle winners in the past and the Dovecote Hurdle (15:00) that has seen some smart winners also.
Tamarac du Mathan is at the top of the market on the back of a really good run behind the Arkle Chase favourite Shishkin at the track last time. The trip is a little bit of a concern as he has been racing over two miles and on what we have seen of him so far, he does not look a stayer. The ground will be decent and that brings in Jamie Snowden’s Ga Law. He’s the highest rated in the field and is proven on decent ground and ran a good race in third behind Allmankind at Sandown.
Coole Cody may get a little shock on this better ground. He seemed to really enjoy a slow surface when winning the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham’s Open meeting in November, but has form on a quick surface having won in the summer at Newton Abbot. Son Of Camas will like the conditions but needs to up his game from what we have seen so far.
Alan King has won this contest twice in the last five years (as has Paul Nicholls) and this has been Tritonic’s target for some time. He was a very good horse on the Flat and finished second at Royal Ascot in the Golden Gate handicap and also finished a good second at Goodwood and York.
Some of his form is really strong and he was the best of these on the Flat and is fully expected to have improved significantly for his first run when winning at Ascot, where Casa Loupi was just a length behind him.
Honneur D’ajonc was unlucky when falling at the last behind Heross Du Seuil (beaten at Warwick on Friday) at this track over Christmas. He is a likeable sort who could run well. Margaret’s Legacy is interesting coming from France. Ned Curtis who rides him was based with Nicky Henderson and knows what is required in these races. He’s won twice at Cagnes Sur Mer and the runner-up has won since. He could be a value bet in this but Tritonic is the selection.
We don’t have too much form to go on in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle as some of them have not achieved what they should have yet, to win a graded race. Atholl Street is a nice horse on what we have seen of him, though he has won ordinary races very easily and has a high rating because of that.
Emmet Mullins’ Cape Gentleman is a highly-rated Flat horse who won the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh and is a highly-rated Flat horse. He won very nicely at Punchestown first time over obstacles but did bomb out at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Grade One hurdle won by Gaillard Du Mesnil who is now at the head of the Ballymore Hurdle Novices market. I’m willing to give him another chance on Saturday.
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The 11-year-old Crosspark has been so consistent this season (finishing second four times) but unfortunately he is paying the price by creeping up the ratings without winning. He is 15lbs higher now then when winning the race last year.
I still think he will go well though. Champion jockey Brian Hughes rides Cyclop and that’s very eye-catching. These are big fences at Newcastle and I’m not convinced that will suit him.
A win for Salty Boy would be some small compensation for trainer David Bridgewater after the sad death of his stable star The Conditional last weekend. This son of Stowaway will love this marathon trip and I think he’s definitely a value play each-way.
I’ve sided with Sams Adventure for proud Geordie trainer Brian Ellison who would love to win an Eider Chase. He won the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock two starts back but unshipped his rider there last time. He’s up in trip and looks an out-and-out stayer and that’s what you need to win this contest.
Cap du Nord won very nicely at Newbury two runs ago but is a lot higher in the ratings now because of it. His two runs since then were really good also, but he has been kept busy and that is a negative for a race like this. Double Shuffle was seventh in the race last year and has been placed previously also. The one I like though is Clondaw Castle. Tom George’s runner is a strong traveller who will love this type of race. He has form on decent ground and the harder they up front, the better it will suit him. I am expecting to see Johnny Burke arriving on the scene with a double handful.
Cheltenham Festival 2021
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