12:15 – Redford Road
Redford Road has to carry a penalty for his victory in a Grade 2 over three miles here last time, and this drop back in trip is not a positive, but he is a promising young hurdler who looks up to the task. Redford Road has proved progressive and has not shown everything he has to offer, so he is a horse to be positive about. Imperial Alcazar is expected to provide the sternest threat.
12:50 – Doing Fine
Doing Fine and Philip Donovan were first past the post in a valuable handicap chase at Sandown on Tingle Creek day that was declared void, and the duo can gain a degree of compensation here. Doing Fine is clearly on a decent handicap mark, is in good form and is a strong stayer, so he looks to have an obvious chance here.
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13:25 – Champ
Champ won two Grade 1 novice hurdles last season and he looks set to reach the top over fences this term. He has made a pleasing start over fences and did well to win in Grade 2 company at Newbury last time after losing his place following an awkward jump at the third-last. There was also a scare on the run-in, when he almost took the wrong course and was forced to switch sharply, and he had much more in hand than the length-and-a-half winning margin would imply. He is difficult to oppose.
14:00 – Kalashnikov
Kalashnikov was beaten at Newbury last time, but he enhanced his reputation in defeat. Kalashnikov and old rival Glen Forsa served up a tremendous spectacle, getting racing from a long way out, but the protracted duel left Amy Murphy’s imposing chaser vulnerable to the late challenge of Oldgrangewood, who swooped fast and late to get up on the line. Kalashnikov, a Grade 1 winner over fences as a novice last season, still looks to be improving and can defy a 6lb higher mark here.
14:35 – Skandiburg
This is an interesting contest, featuring several who revert from chasing (including Might Bite), but Skandiburg is a hurdler on the up and can brush off a 6lb rise in the weights for his win at Aintree. That was his first attempt at three miles and he relished the step up in trip, running right up to his best, and he remains unexposed over this distance.
15:10 – Roksana
Roksana may have been a fortunate winner of the Mares’ Hurdle last season (Benie des Dieux fell at the last when in control) but she proved she is a mare of considerable quality when finishing an excellent second in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree, splitting If The Cap Fits and Apple’s Jade. She disappointed at Ascot last time but had previously looked an unlucky loser on her return, having to settle for second after making a bad mistake at the last, and will go close if on top of her game.
15:50 – Belle De Manech
Anthony Honeyball has an excellent record in bumpers and his representative, Belle de Manech, makes most appeal. Belle de Manech was green on debut at Warwick but overcame that inexperience to make a winning start, finding plenty after leading early in the straight. She looks sure to progress from that outing and has strong claims.
Timeform’s Cheltenham tips:
12:15: Redford Road
12:50: Doing Fine
15:50: Belle De Manech