A new season at Cheltenham kicks off with a Class 2 novice hurdle over 2m5f. Read our horse-by-horse race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Cases can be made for all five runners in this good-quality novice hurdle but EL BANDIT, who won in Grade 2 company at Chepstow this month sets the others a good standard and should arguably be shorter in the betting than the opening quotes of around 13/8. He gets the nod ahead of the mare Colin’s Sister, who was a bit sloppy over the hurdles when winning at Chepstow this month but has plenty of scope to make progress. Black Warrior reverts to novice company after winning his handicap debut at Cork in August and also has a part to play
1 Black Warrior – Well beaten on hurdling debut in February but is 3-4 since fitted with cheekpieces, the latest success gained on handicap debut at Cork (2m4f, good) in August; will probably need to improve again to take this but that’s certainly not out of the question.
2 El Bandit – Initially disappointing when switched to hurdles but recently completed a four-timer in an up-to-scratch renewal of the Grade 2 Persian War at Chepstow; was caught flat-footed for a while in that contest but the longer trip here will suit and he’s a leading contender.
3 Templeross – Displayed significant promise in bumpers last season, including when scoring at Uttoxeter in December, and got the better of a good yardstick to make winning hurdle debut in small-field contest at Newton Abbot (2m5f, good) last month; should have more to offer.
4 Pickamix – Created good impression when eased-down winner of Market Rasen bumper in June, his second start, and followed-up on hurdle debut at Uttoxeter (2m4f, good) this month; will certainly need to build on that performance to complete a hat-trick here but still enters calculations.
5 Colin’s Sister – Close second in a mares’ Listed bumper at Sandown in March and justified favouritism on recent seasonal/stable debut at Chepstow (2m3f, good); the bare form is nothing to get excited about and she takes on geldings this time, but she probably won with more in hand than the margin suggests and has room for improvement in her jumping.
myracing Forecast Prices: 6/4 El Bandit, 3/1 Black Warrior, 7/2 Colin’s Sister, 6/1 Templeross, 10/1 Pickamix