Thyme Hill comes back to Cheltenham, where he was 3rd in last year’s Cheltenham Bumper behind Espoir Allen – that form looks rock solid and he’ll be the one to beat. He’ll be too good for Dancing On My Own.
I tipped up Wholestone here the last day when he got nabbed close to home, and I’m just hoping Daryl Jacob will ride him with a bit more restraint. I don’t think he’s that slow, but I do think he’s the best horse.
Ramses De Teillee won a novice hurdle here at the last meeting and West Approach ran really well for a long way. They’re the big two.
It’s a small field because of the wet ground and West Approach, if ridden a bit more conservatively, could get the better of Ramses De Teillee.
This is the big one, and you have the likes of Us And Them, Siruh Du Lac, Slate House, Magic Saint, Count Meribel – there are so many horses you could make a case for here.
Slate House is an obvious one, but I’m going for a bit of value and looking down towards the bottom at Brelan D’As for Paul Nicholls and Barry Geraghty.
He was third in last year’s Grand Annual and has form over longer distances in the past so I think he’ll stay. Barry will take his time on him and at 20/1 he’s value if nothing else.
Ramses De Teillee beat The Butcher Said in that novice hurdle I mentioned earlier, and the latter now moves into a handicap.
The Butcher Said stayed really well on that occasion and, here, I think he’ll suit the conditions.
Paul Townend rides Authorized Art in the first, the 2m Novice Hurdle. Really soft ground mightn’t suit Authorized Art, so he may have a bit to do to trouble Henry De Bromhead’s Popong.
Willie Mullins has two entered here with Danny Mullins riding the top-weight Antey, but all eyes will be on the chasing debut of Faugheen who’ll be ridden by Paul Townend. Paul’s very happy with him, his schooling has gone great and he’s head and shoulders the best horse in the race. Flawless Escape may be the one to chase him home.
No Willie Mullins runner here but Notebook, Mount Pelier and Moon over Germany are the three for me. Owner Barry Connell has been raving about Mount Pelier, the ground may be too soft for Moon over Germany, so I’ll stick with Notebook and Rachael Blackmore.
The feature race of the day is the Morgiana Hurdle. Only five runners go to post where Willie saddles Klassical Dream, Saldier and Sharjah, who won this race last year. Klassical Dream was the Supreme Novice Hurdle winner and now steps into Open company for the first time on his road to what will hopefully be a crack at the Champion Hurdle next March. I probably would have picked Klassical Dream like Paul Townend has done and he’ll likely be odds on. Saldier fell at the last flight when upsides the ill-fated Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’allen last season at Naas. Could he be a bit of value?
Blue Sari finished second in the Champion Bumper last season and starts off his hurdling campaign over 2m 4f. Thyme Hill was third in that contest last March to Envoi Allen and runs in the first at Cheltenham, so we’ll know pretty quickly how strong the form is. Fakir and the Bosses Oscar are sure to be dangers.
Patrick Mullins rides The Big Getaway in the concluding bumper. He finished second on his two starts last season at Navan and Punchestown and hopefully he can do the same as Tactical Move at Clonmel on Thursday and get his head in front. He could be one of the strongest bumper horses we have actually.