3 Cheltenham Festival contenders to watch out for this week

Paisley Park wins the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Festival is only three months away so we can expect the cavalry to start coming out of the woodwork now. There is a plethora of top class National Hunt action on over the festive period. However, we also have some Festival contenders running this week. We have picked out the three most interesting runners lining up this week.

Friday: 2.30 Ascot

The Kennel Gate is a Grade 2 and is a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle trial. It should give us some clues about the opening race of the Festival in March. A monster could be lurking in the race in the form of DUSART. This horse created a beautiful impression when running out an easy winner of a decent novices’ hurdle at Newbury last month. The horse he beat, Soaring Glory, is already a multiple winner and the 4th, Risk Des Flos, won next time out. He is 16-1 for the Supreme currently.

Saturday: 2.25 Ascot

Although PAISLEY PARK was beaten on his return to action at Newbury, there was a lot to like about the run. It is worth mentioning the fact he was far from his best on return a year earlier. Thistlecrack made him work very hard on that occasion. He found Thyme Hill too good in the Long Distance Hurdle. However, with that run under his belt, he can reverse the form at Ascot this weekend. He is 11-2 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham which looks a tasty each-way price at present.

Saturday: 3.35 Ascot

A very good horse on the Flat a couple of years ago, the now Nicky Henderson trained BUZZ is all the rage for the Betfair Exchange Trophy. He won a pair of novice hurdles early in the year and got right back to his best at Ascot latest, hacking up by seven lengths off 137. There is still plenty more improvement to come from this boy. He is currently 20-1 for the Coral Cup at the Festival and that might look a good price come Saturday evening.

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