16:40 Cheltenham – Toner D’Oudairies to shine over trip
Despite running four times already this season, Toner D’Oudairies has yet to run over the Martin Pipe distance of 2m4f, which has seemed the trip he has been crying out for.
He was firstly campaigned over 2m and was unsurprisingly caught short of speed in defeats to top-class duo Steps To Freedom and Unaccompanied.
Steps To Freedom was sent off among the favourites for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle earlier at the Festival, while Unaccompanied was a winner of a Grade One contest at Leopardstown in December.
After these defeats, Toner D’Oudairies was stepped up to 3m and after unseating his rider at Navan he headed to Leopardstown and appeared to be travelling best late on, before running out of steam.
This distance looks ideal, while like the only three winners of this race, he enters as a second-season hurdler.
At a bigger price of 33/1, it may pay to consider Wolf Moon as more than a solid each-way option.
Course form is a big bonus in the Martin Pipe Hurdle, with Wolf Moon one of a select few to even line up at Cheltenham before, let alone have a victory under his belt.
Nicky Henderson is also set to arrive mob-handed for the race and build on an already mightily impressive Festival.
Although Harry Derham rides Empire Levant, it is Open Hearted and Bourne that perhaps represent his best chances of success as they remain open to improvement.
Open Hearted is 14/1 to win the Martin Pipe Hurdle, with Bourne the favourite at 5/1.