Today is Cheltenham Trials Day, a chance for horses to further enhance their chances at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
We’ve got an eight race card at Prestbury Park this afternoon, beginning at 12:05pm.
This includes the rescheduled Clarence House Chase, where Jonbon is a short priced favourite, and the Cotswold Chase, the traditional feature of the meeting and trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
In the opening race, it’s impossible to be against Burdett Road, the horse who currently sets the standard for UK runners heading to the Triumph Hurdle at the festival in March.
He was impressive when strikingly cutting through the field here last time out, and powering up the hill to come nicely away from a field that contained horses that have since come out and won.
Burdett Road is currently at the head of the market for the Triumph Hurdle, and I think he stamps his authority on this field, and shows off his festival credentials once more by winning this.
The Alan King trained Grandeur D’Ame catches the eye in this highly competitive handicap, based on an excellent run last time out at this course.
He was fourth in the December Gold Cup, a run where he was out of the handicap, so effectively 3lb higher than he runs off today.
That was a slightly better race than this, and the small change at the weights could be the difference maker for him.
At double figure odds, he looks to have a great chance of placing, and potentially more.
The final tip from Cheltenham is Paisley Park, one of the most likeable horses in training, and I think today is the day he finally gets his head in front.
A win would give him a record fourth success in this race, and given his two excellent runs so far, he’s got every chance on the form book, despite his advancing years.
This looks a slightly easier opportunity than the two races he’s had so far, and signals a return to a track where he’s seen so much success.
In a win that would warm the hearts of all at Cheltenham on Saturday, Paisley Park is fancied to win the Cleeve Hurdle.