JUMP racing returns to Cheltenham for the first time this season with last season’s Champion Hurdle sixth Sceau Royal looking to keep up his 100% record over the bigger obstacles when he faces six other rivals in the novice chase (2.35pm).
He should be too good for these, although he faces chasing debutant Movewiththetimes, so this will be no walkover.
The best bet on today’s card could well be Irish raider FAGAN in the three mile novice chase (3.45pm).
It’s been a tough few days for trainer Gordon Elliott who lost last year’s Champion Bumper winner Fayonagh in a freak accident at home on Wednesday.
She was a brilliant talent who could never be replaced, but Fagan can help heal the wounds a bit here.
He was second to Unowhatimeanharry in the 2016 Albert Bartlett Hurdle and relishes decent ground.
After a really taking debut over the larger obstacles at Perth over three miles in July, he got within a length of Ballyandy over an inadequate trip on bad ground back at that venue last month.
The return to three miles on a sounder surface should be ideal and he has the perfect man on board in Davy Russell.
Declarations for Saturday’s racing aren’t made until later this morning, so it’s hard to second guess who will and won’t run.
One I’m hoping will stand his ground is PRIME VENTURE for Evan Williams in the big three mile handicap hurdle (3.45pm).
He hasn’t been seen since chasing home Mia’s Storm in a valuable hurdle at Haydock back in May where he seemed to relish the good ground.
The yard is in good form and he can go well at around 10/1 racing off that same mark of 130.
Fagan 3.45pm Cheltenham (today)
Prime Venture 3.45pm Cheltenham (tomorrow)