CHAMPIONS Day has been dealt with elsewhere on the site, so the focus is on some sparkling jump racing at Cheltenham. It’s fabulous to welcome back top quality National Hunt and Saturday’s Prestbury park card is excellent. In fact, this meeting is attracting more quality races year on year and I expect a lot of tomorrow’s runners will be back at the Festival next March.
The 2m 4f handicap chase (2.35) has the look of a Festival handicap in that it is so competitive. Old favourites such as Kumbeshwar, Vino Griego and Tartak are what gives National Hunt racing its enduring appeal. But it’s another old man of the party who may be worth catching first time out. TANKS FOR THAT has always had a touch of class, and although just below the very best over fences, he has paid his way for Nicky Henderson over the years.
He tends to run well first time out and as long as Cheltenham doesn’t get too much overnight rain he could run a huge race. He is still high in the handicap but has dropped from 155 to 150. He loves good ground, so if there is a downpour overnight then put a line through him.
Alan King had an excellent double at Chepstow last Saturday with BALDER SUCCES and HANDAZAN and both, somewhat surprisingly, make a quick reappearance. Any overnight rain would help them both and I wouldn’t back against either of them notching up a double.
CREEPY went into my notebook last season and confirmed all his promise with an authoritative win at Chepstow the other day. He could follow up 3m in the opener. The way the King horses are running I wouldn’t be surprised if Hold On Julio runs a big race and snaffles a place.
And in the last CHILL FACTOR is interesting for Anthony Honeyball. He trotted up in a bumper in the spring, and although this is a hot contest likely to spawn plenty of winners, he looks interesting.
Finally, up at Kelso Lucinda Russell takes the wraps off her strapping six-year-old GREEN FLAG who makes his chasing debut (2.10), and he should not be missed.