There are some useful types on show here, but the most exciting horse by far is chasing debutant THE BIG BREAKAWAY. He cost €360,000 after winning his sole start in points, and reached a good level as a novice over hurdles last season, winning his first two starts before running respectably behind Envoi Allen in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival on his final start. The Big Breakaway is very much a chaser on looks, and his raw ability will make him hard to beat now tackling fences.
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An intriguing affair with the vote in favour of seven-year-old CAPTAIN DRAKE. He ended last season with a good second in the Midlands National and posted a career-best display when successful on his return over hurdles at Uttoxeter in October. That will likely have put him spot on for this test back over fences and the cheekpieces go back on today, so everything points to another big run.
This looks a cracking renewal of the Shloer and narrow preference is for the returning DEFI DU SEUIL. He looked the pick of the two-mile chase division last season, winning this race, the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House before disappointing in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his final start. Defi du Seuil has been freshened up since, and is worth chancing to return to form given how promising he looked last season.
An ultra-competitive handicap but there’s every chance it will go to a stable that has won it before, and EDWARDSTONE looks most interesting making his handicap debut for Alan King, who has won two of the last three renewals. He had some solid form last season – he beat Fiddlerontheroof on hurdling debut – and wasn’t disgraced on his final start in the Supreme Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. On that basis, an opening mark of 142 is exploitable, and he makes plenty of appeal in a wide-open race.
THIRD TIME LUCKI was progressive in bumpers last season and has looked a good prospect switched to hurdles, winning both of his starts at Uttoxeter and Wetherby. A slow pace masked his superiority at Wetherby last time, but he still pulled clear with a promising hurdling debutant, and Third Time Lucki has the most potential in this field, while his form is standout, too.
Following a nightmare debut, WESEEKHIMHERE has displayed a useful level of form in winning a brace of Irish bumpers by a total of 20 lengths, and that level of form is superior to anything else in the race. That said, Stage Star looked very good at Chepstow and seems sure to improve, while this stiffer track is bound to suit Grandeur d’Ame, too.
Timeform’s tips for Cheltenham on Sunday
More tips for Cheltenham
- Frank Hickey’s Thinking about 14/1 shot at Cheltenham on Sunday
- A runner-by-runner guide to Sunday’s Greatwood Handicap Hurdle
- Sunday’s best bets on day three of the November Meeting