13:30 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
Ever since Yanworth won at a canter here in January, he has been all the rage for this race. He is now a very short price for what is a pretty competitive affair and is many people's main bet of the festival. He was fourth here last year in the Champion Bumper and has since won all four of his starts. Last time out at Cheltenham was the first time he has been stepped up in trip, and he relished so much so that the extra furlong here today should benefit him further and he is certain to make a bold bid to justify favouritism.
Yorkhill attracted plenty of support leading up to the festival for the Supreme but I think the decision to run him here instead is probably a wise one. The way he kept on strongly in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown over two and a half miles suggests that the extra furlong here together with the hill at the finish should help to bring out the best in him. There appears to be any amount of improvement in him and I have a feeling he may give Yanworth plenty to think about and could prove too strong for him in the closing stages.
A Toi Phil is another Mullins horse that has won his last two after refusing to run at Clonal in December. His most recent outing was a very impressive Grade 2 win at Leopardstown where he kept on strongly over two and a half miles, therefore he is another who looks to have the stamina and speed for this trip so could be fighting it out at the finish with Yanworth and Yorkhill.
14:10 RSA Chase
This is run over three miles so takes plenty of stamina to win and I like the chances of Blacklion at a nice price. The Twiston-Davies horses are running really well at the moment and I have some reservations about the top two in the market. He is proven over this distance, he's even won over a furlong further, and he loves it around here which is always a big plus. The top two in the betting may well prove too good and fight it out between themselves, but I think they have plenty to prove and at the prices, Blacklion is a very nice each way bet.
15:30 Champion Chase
This is an intriguing renewal with a lot of big name horses in this field of ten. Un De Sceaux rightly heads the market and in my opinion the others have it all to do to get past him. He is sure to set off out in front as usual and as long as he doesn't make an errors (he has fallen twice before) then I am certain he will win. He has won every race he has completed in his career and has such a high cruising speed he will be tough to live with.
It is fantastic to see Sprinter Sacre back into form following his heart problems and he has two wins this season. He is still some way short of his electrifying best and will need to be foot perfect to stay with the favourite when the going gets tough. When it comes to it I think Un De Sceaux will have too much speed but it isn't without a chance that Sprinter's fantastic jumping could put the pressure on enough to bring out a mistake from the jolly.
Dodging Bullets was an excellent winner of this last year but was then injured and has only has the one race since. That was at Newbury in February where he failed to give five pounds to Top Gamble and was soundly beaten in the end. He is sure to come on plenty for that run, but will need to be at is very best to have a chance of grabbing a place in this year's renewal.
13:30 - Yorkhill - 2 points @ 11/4
14:10 - Blacklion - 1 point each way @ 8/1
15:30 - Un De Sceaux - 5 points @ 8/11