There’s going to be lots of pace in this race and lots of reasons to think that it may suit a runner staying on from behind. I really like Goshen for Gary Moore who has won all his three hurdle starts so far and was a high-class performer on the Flat. My only concern is that he has a tendency to jump to the right, but there are only two hurdles to be jumped in the last 7 furlongs.
Market rival Dan Skelton’s Allmankind can only run one way and that’s from the front while Sir Psycho could represent each-way value as he may pick up the pieces in what he’s going to be a bit of a war.
Goshen to win.
Lots of runners here and trying to pick the winner can be a bit of a lottery but Ciel de Neige was unlucky at Newbury in the Betfair Hurdle and can gain compensation. He was in front way too soon at Newbury and with a feels like this it will set up much better for him. He can win.
Thyme Hill is unbeaten over obstacles and having been placed in the Festival bumper last year behind Envoi Allen a lot of people will want to be with him after the Irish banker’s performance in Wednesday’s opener. I just feat this race will be too tough for him. My pick is the Paul Nolan-trained Latest Exhibition who won at the Dublin Racing Festival in February.
He is ridden by Bryan Cooper who won the Gold Cup a few years ago on Don Cossack and it would be great to see both team up for a Festival winner.
What a race we have in store. Last season’s winner Al Boum Photo has trodden the same path as last year, winning at Tramore before trying to become the first horse since Best Mate to retain his Gold Cup crown. Nicky Henderson’s Santini wears cheekpieces to try and get him to travel better in his races. He is talented and can run a big race while the dual King George VI Chase winner Clan des Obeaux faded up the hill last season and that is a concern.
The ground seems to be drying out for Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation and that will be music to his supporters’ ears. Santini can go close but last year’s winner Al Boum Photo looks set to make his own little piece of history.
Last year’s impressive winner Hazel Hill lines up again but faces a tough rival in Minella Rocco who was previously placed in the Gold Cup and beat Hazel Hill at Wetherby last time.
However, Shantou Flyer is ridden by David Maxwell and has a very good each-way chance in a tough renewal of the race.
Henry de Bromhead’s Paloma Blue has been laid out for this contest and was a good second last time at Leopardstown. He has to go close under Aidan Coleman has been booked to ride has to go close. The race should also run a big race as the race will be run to suit him.
Gordon Elliot always target this race and The Bosses Oscar has a live chance as does stablemate Column of Fire. Dan Skelton’s Flash The Steel also looks to have been laid out for the race. He won the Silver Trophy at Chepstow and Wednesday’s winner Imperial Aura was back in third that day. Can go close at a double-digit price.