Frank Hickey: Three favourites worth taking on at Cheltenham 2019

Star trader Frank Hickey has three Cheltenham favourites he thinks are worth taking on at the greatest show on turf next week...

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National Hunt Chase, Tuesday 5.30pm

OK Corral is holding favouritism for the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday, but I reckon that Ballyward should be the clear market leader.

Ballyward looks like a true stayer that will relish the stamina test he will encounter in this one, while OK Corral seems a bit too keen and pacey for this marathon four-mile trip.

OK Corral’s form from his win at Warwick in January has taken a few knocks also and he may be vulnerable to a stronger stayer when they reach the foot of Cleeve HIll for the final climb to the winning post. Ballyward fits the bill.

Honeysuckle

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Mares Novice Hurdle, Thursday 4.50pm

Purely on form, Epatante should not be favourite over Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle in the Mares Novice Hurdle on Thursday.

She is favourite solely on her reputation and that of her trainer Nicky Henderson. She can be very keen in her races and using up energy needlessly might count against her in this contest.

Irish raider Honeysuckle has by far the strongest form on offer in that race and that’s who my money is on rather than likely favourite Epatante.

Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday 3.30pm

On what they have achieved on the track this season, Clan Des Obeaux should be ahead of Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup betting.

Presenting Percy owes his place at the top of the market to his impressive RSA win last season, but the fact that he has failed to run over fences this season has to be a negative.

Clan Des Obeaux’s King George win is probably the single strongest piece of form in the race this season. While there is a slight question mark about the extra couple of furlongs of the Gold Cup – what he has has achieved this season should make him favourite and not Preseting Percy.

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What do you think?