SO it is upon us… Cheltenham starts next Tuesday and time for H on H to get off the fence and go for broke, writes Martin Higgs.
The current ‘Horse To Follow’ list is… Ask The Weatherman, Gunfleet, Waiting Patiently, Cap Soleil, Disko, Louis Vac Pouch, Yanmare, Compadre, Maria’s Benefit, Diese Des Bieffes, Paisley Park, Getabird, Global Academy, Tully East, Sugar Baron, Lough Derg Spirit.
A few are mentioned below: if not, back the remainder to win if under 8/1 and each way if over.
The roar will go up at 1.30 and all eyes will be on Getabird and Ruby Walsh.
Will he win? Yes, probably, but at 13/8 too short for me now, having got 5/1 when recommended, so I will get on Kalashnikov as well – he is battle-hardened and improving.
I think Petit Mouchoir will overturn Footpad in the Arkle and, in the Ultima, support Coo Star Sivola each way.
Time for the Champion Hurdle and Buveur D’air. Watch him ‘do his stuff’ and win the race for the second year running.
The Coral is impossible as usual, so another Guinness in preparation for Altior to make it 13 wins on the trot and walk the Champion Chase.
However, if the ground is on the decent side, a sentimental each way bet on Special Tiara looks on the cards.
Then the Cross Country: that is simple, as it will be won by Tiger Roll, if it doesn’t there is a possibility Ireland could go into recession.
Thursday morning: up with the larks and straight into the Pertemps which will be won by Louis Vac Pouch – back him each way for security. Then, time to settle down for the Ryan Air and Waiting Patiently.
I am not convinced he will run but, if he does and the ground is soft, get involved as he owes us nothing.
However, in his absence, I think the race is Un De Sceaux’s for the taking and the current 9/4 is a steal.
The tension continues as Sam Spinner tries to make all in the Stayers.
I fear it will be a big ask and he will be reeled in by Supasundae, whose trainer, Jessica Harrington, thinks is her best chance of the meeting.
Now the Brown Advisory – and Tully East has been prepared for the race he won for me last year and is on the HTF list.
Support again but also look at The Storyteller – this looks to have been the plan for some time.
Swiftly on to the Mares Novice and it is time for the Taunton Graded hurdle winner Maria’s Benefit.
Can she make all? Maybe, but the Irish banker of the meeting runs here in the name of Laurina – maybe time for a forecast!
Then we come to the last race and my bet of the meeting and that is Squouateur.
He has been aimed at the race and will win.
Always save the best until last, they say… Well, let’s hope it is true in this case!