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A smart performer on the Flat, TRITONIC made the perfect start over hurdles at Ascot in January, running to a useful level as he found plenty to lead close home. He built on the promise of that effort when running out a wide-margin winner of the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton last month, looking as good a juvenile as has been seen in Britain this season. He looks sure to progress further and appeals as the one they all have to beat in the Triumph.
STRONG GLANCE showed fairly useful form when placing in a couple of handicaps in the autumn, and though he wasn’t in the same form in the Greatwood at this course in November, he was possibly caught out by the heavy ground that day and can have that run overlooked.
He has bounced back to form with a couple of victories in jumpers’ bumpers at Lingfield last month. He remains on a workable mark, so he gets the vote in what is an ultra-competitive handicap hurdle.
A winner of two of his three starts in bumpers last season, his sole defeat coming in the Champion Bumper at the Festival, ADRIMEL has made a highly satisfactory start to life over hurdles.
He is unbeaten in his three outings over obstacles, including when landing a Grade 2 at Warwick in gutsy fashion in January. He looks sure to progress further, particularly now stepped up in trip, and holds solid claims as he bids to maintain his 100% record over hurdles.
NATIVE RIVER arrives at this year’s Cheltenham Festival is great heart, building on his seasonal reappearance run with a superb display of jumping to land the Cotswold Chase at Sandown last month. He relished the conditions and suggesting he is as good as ever.
He was denied a chance to run in last season’s Gold Cup when seemingly in top form for it, but the 2018 winner could well take his chance in this year’s renewal. He would be just the second horse to regain the Gold Cup if he were to win the big one again.
A useful winning chaser at his best, RED INDIAN, who finished down the field in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the 2018 Festival. He has failed to progress under Rules since then, finishing well beaten on his three subsequent outings.
He has landed both his starts in points since he was last seen under Rules however, and there is every reason to think he retains a good chunk of his ability. He is certainly an interesting runner in this contest and a big run is not ruled out.
Willie Mullins holds an incredibly strong hand in the inaugural running of the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, saddling four of the 11 entries – with two of those at the head of the betting. But, it is his ELIMAY who appeals as the most likely winner.
Successful on three of her four starts over fences – her only defeat coming at the hands of stablemate Allaho – Elimay was impressive when landing a listed event at Naas last month. Mark Walsh’s ride was not hard pressed to run out a convincing winner over Shattered Love. She tops the Timeform ratings in this contest and looks the clear one to beat.
LANGER DAN – who enjoyed a progressive juvenile campaign last season, culminating in a sixth-place finish in the Fred Winter – took his form up another notch when an impressive winner of the Imperial Cup on Saturday.
That was the best performance of his career so far and he was actually value for a little on top of the bare winning margin too, cutting through the filed with ease before quickening clear to win with plenty in hand. He looks well-in under a 5lbs penalty and is gets the vote to follow up.
13:20 Triumph Hurdle – Tritonic
13:55 County Handicap Hurdle – Strong Glance
14:30 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Adrimel
15:05 Gold Cup – Native River
15:40 Hunters’ Chase – Red Indian
16:15 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – Elimay
16:50 Martin Pipe Conditional Handicap Hurdle – Langer Dan
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