Ground Will Be The Undoing Of Sprinter Sacre At Cheltenham On Sunday
Sunday brings with it the conclusion to the action from The Open at Cheltenham, drawing the curtain on what has been a splendid three days of racing at the famous old track.
Here we cast our eye over the card and and look to pick a few winners.
Calipto is the horse that is the member of the duo being given the most attention after an excellent triumph at Fontwell a matter of weeks ago.
However, this may be half a mile too short and we like look of Dormello Mo instead.
The trainer has claimed this could be his last run before his winter break and he could go out with a bang. He has more experience than Calipto, having won three novice chases at Newton Abott and that could be the telling factor when they line-up here.
The big talking point in the Shloer Chase is that Sprinter Sacre is set to make an appearance. The 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase champion has experienced two very lean years but this is being billed as the big comeback.
However, the rain is set to hit Cheltenham and that does not bode well for Sprinter, as his trainer Nicky Henderson referred to in the build-up to the race:
“Everyone’s worried when you see the forecast – they are talking in the north west of eight inches (of rain).
“If that was going to hit here (Cheltenham), there’s an awful lot of our horses you’d worry about, Sprinter being one of them.”
So it would be wise to look elsewhere for a win here and Simply Ned is one that is definitely in with a shout.
The eight-year-old was second to subsequent Ryanair Chase winner Uxizandre in this race last year, forcing Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Dodging Bullets into third.
He won very easily in October at Kelso and will enjoy the soft ground much more than many of his rivals.
The Greatwood Hurdle offers up a huge field of 20 but it’s the combination of Harry Fry and Sam Twiston-Davies that catches the eye.
Mick Jazz was expected to make more of an impact last season when imported from France but the trainer had to be happy with just two place finishes. However, the young Fry has hit form in recent weeks and he has a real chance with a four-year-old he has invested a great deal of time in.
He’s off a mark of just 130 and he is most definitely a better hurdler than that. The size and competitiveness of the field should help him settle and this could hand Fry a massive win early in the campaign.
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