13:30 Cheltenham – Cristal Bonus to get better of Peddlers Cross
Sir Des Champs looks the statistical pick to win the Jewson Novices’ Chase, but there is a strong possibility that he may just find 9/2 shot Cristal Bonus too good.
Last year was the first running of the race and the big element to take out was that the winner Noble Prince, alongside the runner up and the fourth had all ran with substantial credit at the Cheltenham Festival the previous year.
Sir Des Champs was victorious at Cheltenham 12 months ago when coming from out the clouds to win the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle and in total he is unbeaten in six starts over both hurdles and fences.
The 2m4f trip of the Jewson is a distance that Sir Des Champs will be familiar with from this season and he has to have strong claims at 7/2.
However, there is the belief that he may be slightly better over a longer distance and Cristal Bonus may be the horse that can offer that little bit more speed in the closing stages.
Cristal Bonus seemingly had both Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh excited when winning on his debut for the yard at Chepstow and followed up with another victory at Kempton when asserting up the run in.
The horse has been especially impressive in the jumping department and as long as he does not get carried away at Cheltenham, he looks the one to beat.
Much of the talk in the past week has been about favourite Peddlers Cross, who somewhat surprisingly entered the race instead of the Arkle.
Peddlers Cross is the 3/1 favourite, but given his trials and tribulations this season, it is hard to back him with any confidence despite being the obvious best horse in the race.