The clock is ticking ….
1.30 Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f
- Irish runners have won four of the last eight contests
- 29 of the last 30 winners finished in the first two last time.
The Irish won’t hear of defeat for Faugheen who’s been punted all morning. Red Sherlock and Rathvinden finished 1-2 here in January and can fill the places.
2.05 RSA Chase 3m
- 24 out of the last 26 winners finished first two on latest start
- The last 14 winners had run at least three times over fences
There’s not much between the Irish challengers with Ballycasey, Morning Assembly, Don Cossack and Carlingford Lough closely matched. Dual World Hurdle third Smad Place and Le Bec could be best of the English challengers.
2.40 Coral Cup 2m 5f
- Only 2 winners in 13 years carried more than 11st 2lb
- 7 of the last 11 winners won last time out
With more plots than the average episode of House of Cards it pays to follow the money. Donald McCain looks to have laid Clondaw Kaempfer out for one of the biggest betting heats at the festival. David Pipe’s expensive French import Dell’ Arca won the Greatwood Hurdle at this track in November.
3.20 Champion Chase 2m
- The last 11 winners had run in the same calendar year
- 9 of the last 13 winners ran in the Tingle Creek Chase
Sire De Grugy sets the standard and would be half his price if he’d won at Cheltenham before. Will he finally get his head in front on his third visit to Cheltenham? Captain Conan, Hinterland and Arvika Ligeonnaire will have other ideas.
4pm Cross Country Chase 3m 7f
- Ireland has won 8 of the last 9 runnings
- Enda Bolger has trained the 1st or 2nd in 7 of the last 9 years
Big Shu returns to defend his crown. Balthazar King won this in 2012 while Sire Collognes won here in December and the jungle drums are beating louder for Star Neuville.
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle
- 7 of the last 8 winners ran within 30 days
- 7 of the last 9 winners had just three runs
Dawalan was fourth on his debut to leading Triumph Hurdle fancy Calipto while a big run from Azza could point to Guitar Pete and Royal Irish Huzzar’s chances on Friday too.
5.15pm Champion Bumper 2m
- Willie Mullins has won the race eight times
- 19 of the last 21 winners won last time out
Mullins is on a hat-trick of wins and his Shaneshill, Black Hercules and Killutagh Vic are three of the first four in the betting. But his last two victors returned at 16/1 and 25/1. Modus won over 1m 6f in December while Dermot Weld’s Silver Concorde was a good winner over Christmas.
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