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Connections have been waiting for rain for FARINET and their patience can be rewarded in the big handicap chase of the day. The six-year-old had to settle for minor honours on his British debut at Haydock in February but he took his form to a new high at Sandown three weeks later, where he travelled well and found plenty to deny Up The Straight in the closing stages.
He promises to improve with another summer on his back and a light weight could be a big help if conditions do come up testing.
Paul Nicholls has won this novice chase three times in the last eight years and can strike again with THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE. The six-year-old let down odds-on backers when making his chase debut at Chepstow in October but has won both subsequent outings, most recently at Cheltenham four weeks ago. He looked a relentless galloper that day and it will take a smart effort to deny him the hat-trick here.
It took BLAZING KHAL five races to get off the mark but he landed his final bumper and has quickly added two hurdles, including here last month. Charles Byrnes’ gelding was on and off the bridle that day but he stayed on strongly to pull clear of his five rivals in the closing stages. The son of Kalanisi looks a relentless galloper and should appreciate the step up in trip.
Some of the more interesting entrants in this juvenile hurdle are also entered at Cheltenham but TOO FRIENDLY will be a serious threat no matter who else turns up. He got the better of odds-on favourite Oceanline when making his hurdles debut at Stratford in October and didn’t have to be asked for maximum effort when following up at Newcastle two weeks ago. That emphatic victory suggests he can cope with this step up in grade.
Last year’s International Hurdle winner SONG FOR SOMEONE should make a bold defence of his crown. The Tom Symonds-trained gelding has been unable to add to his account in three subsequent outings but he did nothing wrong at Ascot last month, where he went off in front and only the rapidly progressive Buzz managed to get past. A repeat performance could be good enough in this company.
TWO FOR GOLD should go well despite having to concede plenty of weight all round in this 3m handicap chase. He didn’t really fire over the Grand National fences in April but had previously been running well, notably when beating Aso at Warwick in February. Kim Bailey’s charge is only 1lb higher now and has a good record fresh so a recent break should have done him good.
WYNN HOUSE looks the one to beat in Cheltenham’s finale. The Alan King-trained mare ended last season with a good second at Ludlow and looked better than ever when reappearing at Wincanton last month, as she came with a late challenge to deny stablemate Hotter Than Hell. She needed every yard to get on top that day and this stiffer track looks sure to suit.
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