* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Off to Naas we go and the bets weren’t jumping off the page at me. Cilaos Emery and Gerri Colombe should bookend the card for favourite backers, but both will be too short for my tastes though.
They are couple of bankers for you for Sunday multiples perhaps. The welcome spell of spring weather has arrived too late to make a massive change to the going, so we’re looking at testing conditions.
This valuable novice handicap chase has attracted a smaller field than expected, but it looks a competitive heat though. Home By The Lee is a horse I still hold out hopes for, his jumping failed to pass muster in the Paddy Power over Christmas. He can bounce back and perform better in these calmer waters.
It’s hard to shake the impression that SCHOOL BOY HOURS is the best handicapped horse in this race and he rates the selection. He has run well behind Castlebawn West, Latest Exhibition, Asterion Forlonge and Eklat De Rire this season. His latest effort was particularly encouraging, even if he was inclined to make sloppy mistakes in previous runs.
That day in Punchestown, he measured all bar one of the fences like a pro. Granted, some of the obstacles were omitted, but there were still enough to suggest this horse is getting his act together and he looked set to give Eklat De Rire a real fright that day.
Ultimately, the Schoolboy was put in his place. The subsequent exploits of the winner show there was no shame in that. Ideally, I’d prefer not to see the horse dropping in trip, but this will be a tough slog in the conditions though. Off a mark of 135, he appears well enough treated to cope.
This graded novice hurdle looks weak enough. Streets Of Doyen is a strong stayer over 3m and it’s surprising to see him dropped to the minimum trip here. Given the paucity of credible opposition, he might get away with it.
Echoes In Rain has talent, but keen going tendencies are likely to compromise her chance though. Given my concerns over the front end of the market, JESSE EVANS might be worth a dabble. This strong traveller should enjoy the likely tempo of this race. He was unfortunate to be knocked over on penultimate start in Navan.
His effort in Leopardstown over Christmas needs forgiving, however that was a stronger race than this. Perhaps it was just a bit too much for an inexperienced horse and it will also mean we get an inflated price in this race. He looks like a horse who could run to a mark in the mid 80’s on the flat. If his jumping holds up here, it’s reasonable to envisage him outspeeding the opposition late on.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
- Check out all the latest Horse Racing tips and previews now
Zoffanien heads the weights for the handicap hurdle and he has the ability to overcome that mark, but does have a ropey old head carriage. I could see him looming up late, and refusing to go by.
PECKHAM SPRINGS, on the other hand, looks a straightforward sort. He was pretty moderate on the flat. But, on the evidence of his win in Fairyhouse, he has improved for a switch to hurdling. He was a touch keen early on but seemed to relax after his jockey took a pull.
His hurdling wasn’t foot perfect, but encouragingly it was a much cleaner round than he produced on debut over hurdles, and his best jump came at the last. The second ran respectably in better company next time out and a mark of 115 seems perfectly fair. On just his ninth career start, I expect an improved effort here. Hopefully, this tenacious type will get the job done.
- Cheltenham Festival: Ruby Walsh names the horse he would love to ride at 2021 Festival
- Cheltenham tips: The 12/1 novice hurdler that’s caught Frank Hickey’s eagle eye
- Cheltenham tips: Mares’ Novice Hurdle antepost picks from Frank Hickey
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh reveals Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle antepost pick
- Cheltenham tips: Matt Chapman’s 5 to keep the dream alive at Prestbury Park
- Cheltenham tips: Mares’ Hurdle antepost picks from Frank Hickey
- Gold Cup potential runners and latest news for Cheltenham Festival 2021