A huge collective sigh of relief could be heard all over the Cotswolds as Cheltenham passed its 10.30 inspection – but racing has been put back by 35 minutes on Day 1 of the four-day Festival.
The Supreme Novices Hurdle now gets underway at 2.05pm with the Cross Country Chase being switched to Thursday 5.15 after the course failed a separate inspection.
Paddy will have to sit and suffer an extra 40 minutes with his Money Back All Losers special in the Champion Hurdle – which will now come under orders at 4pm.
(2) Card now goes: 2:05pm Supreme Novices, 2:40 Arkle, 3:20: JLT H’Cap, 4:00 Champ Hurdle, 4:40 Mares Hurdle, 5:15 Novs H’cap, 5:45 XCountry
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 12, 2013
The markets have been busy already with the Johnjo O’Neill trained Merry King the one for money in the JLT Speciality Chase at 2.40. The stable provided the winner last season in Alfie Sherrin and look sure to go close again with the 6/1 shot.
Talk is cheap. In a little over three hours time everything you will be proven right – and in a lot of cases so very wrong – about Cheltenham 2013. Can My Tent or Yours – justify short-price favouritism and repeat that awesome performance at Newbury in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
Will Simonsig justify odds-on and become the first of the festival bankers to deliver in the Arkle Chase? And can Hurricane Fly do what no horse since Comedy of Errors has done in the mid-1970s and regain his Champion Hurdle crown – and take Paddy to the cleaners.
Barry Geraghty won’t entertain any talk of Simonsig being beaten Nothing will catch Simonsig in the Arkle Trophy while Ruby thinks Hurricane Fly is in the form of his life.
See you on the other side of Day 1.