There’s a chance of a few Cheltenham clues this weekend with huge racing in Ireland and some decent stuff in the UK on Saturday – so enjoy the ride and let’s take a few quid from Paddy. You hear me Paddy?
I’m starting straight at the home of the Festival and the Grade 3 Chase at Cheltenham at 2.25. Plenty of these have met before, but without doubt the improver for me is the strong stayer Easter Day, although be warned he is double declared at Doncaster. Trained by the Champion Paul Nicholls, Easter Day was not beaten far at Newbury last time after a long lay off and provided he has progressed, rather than regressed, he will take all the beating.
At 2.40 there is the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster, and classy chaser Present View could run here back over hurdles, although he has other options. However, Blacklion looked well suited to his trip at Cheltenham two runs back and he’s the one I like. Twiston-Davies and Ryan Hatch are a strong combination, and it provides Hatch with a big chance of a serious winner after a lay-off.
Back to Cheltenham for the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Hurdle at 3pm, and Value At Risk could be a serious machine for Dan Skelton. This was a good bumper horse in Ireland, finishing third behind Shaneshill at Punchestown in Grade 1 company. His success at Newbury was impressive last time and he should enjoy the step up in trip.
The 3m Chase at Doncaster at 3.15 is tricky, but If In Doubt could be the one for Philip Hobbs and Michael Nolan, who takes off a valuable 3lb. This horse was a 140 hurdler who with Nolan’s claim can run off 136 here. He’s proved he can jump fences well and stays real strong. Big shout.
Finally, at 3.35pm it’s the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Reve De Sivola (5/1) is back after doing us a huge favour at Ascot last time. He’s so tough that he might just pick up another big prize for Nick Williams.
So let’s hope the weather doesn’t scupper our winners and Paddy’s pays us big. Yeeehaaa!