2.25 – Costswold Chase
The rapid rise of Bryony Frost will reach new levels if Frodon can land the Grade 2 Cotsowld Chase. Ultra-consistent this season with wins in the Old Roan and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup he’ll be tough to beat if his form holds up in open company.
Elegant Escape holds a similar profile to Frodon with top performances in the hottest and toughest handicaps. With the Gold Cup the long term aim he’ll have to win this well to realistically have a chance in March.
Nicky Henderson relies on the Terrefort and Valtor with both having similar chances here. Valtor went unbacked when winning impressive on his stable debut but may have to improve again here. Terrefort has been off since running way below his best in November though last season’s Grade One wins show’s he certainly up to winning this.
Selection – Terrefort
3.35 – Cleeve Hurdle
Paisley Park delivered for his Trainer and Jockey the first Grade One victories of their careers in the Ascot Long Walk last time and with a similar level of opposition should be good enough here. The worry is that he may be a flat track bully and the undulations of Cheltenham won’t play to his strengths though with just the one previous run here it’s too early to draw that conclusion.
Black Op’s short lived chasing career looks to have come to an end and his Novice Hurdle form gives him a great chance here. 2nd to Samcro in the Ballymore last season, the step up in trip should be of no concern as highlighted by his run over the trip in his Pointing days where he was a 25 length winner.
Sam Spinner is starting to become a frustrating figure for his loyal army of followers. Stayers’ Hurdle favourite last year he’s failed to complete in his last 2 outings and is probably best watched.
Selection – Paisley Park
3:15 – Sky Bet Chase
Just 11 line up for this with Dingo Dollar the one they have all wanted to be with in the lead up to the race. A last time out third in The Ladbroes Trophy, a reproduction of that should be good enough off the same mark unless bumping in to something very well handicapped.
Warriors Tale was 2nd in this last year and comes into this in the form of life after a win in the Grand Sefton. He’ll need a career best off this weight and looks vulnerable.
Federici wasn’t disgraced when last seen in the Becher and for much of this race last year looked the winner. He’s 1lb lower this time round and 4lb lower than his last run and could spring a surprise.
Selection – Federici