If Saturday is anything like Friday then Fergal O’Brien and Paddy Brennan are the fellows you should be following.
Brennan rode both of O’Brien’s winners at odds of 33/1 and 7/2, while also adding to his tally with Tom George-trained Bun Doran. The treble paid nearly 450/1; nice if you found it.
Grand National hero Tiger Roll was rolled over on his return, but perhaps that wasn’t a surprise given the plan is to head to Aintree again – the handicapper needs a reason to drop him a few pounds between now and April. Instead, Enda Bolger’s Josie’s Orders took the Cross Country race under a good Mark Walsh ride.
As for Saturday, Never Adept is odds-on in the first for Nicky Henderson, while The Worlds End is also fancied in the second to follow-up after winning on his chase bow at Chepstow a few weeks ago.
The third on the card sees the reappearance of 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree. It’s hard to know if the fantastic horse of that season or the mediocre horse of the past two years will show up. Perfect Candidate has a good record at Cheltenham and looks in with a shout, but Singlefarmpayment is overdue a win here. He will love the ground, the trip and the track, so he has a lot in his favour.
In the 2.25pm feature race, the Betvictor Gold Cup, Mister Whitaker is really progressive and has a few shrewd judges keen on him following a good effort to score at Carlisle most recently. Only a head separated Mister Whitaker and Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be at Cheltenham Festival in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase back in March. There is a 9lb swing in the weights and on that basis, he may have the edge here.
Good luck with the punting, and ensure those who are eye-catching make their way into your notebook, with next March’s Festival in mind.