Un De Sceaux looks a great bet next month at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ryanair Chase where he won’t have to worry about Douvan who is the short price favourite to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase over the shorter tip of 2m.
Clive Buckenham via Twitter
Willie Mullins’ runner has been in good form this season. He was successful in the Grade One Tingle Creek at Sandown back in December on his seasonal reappearance, while more recently he looked right at the top of his game in the Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham.
The opposition to Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase is not that strong, especially now Cue Card has come out of the race to concentrate on the Cheltenham Gold Cup therefore the 5/2 odds being quoted on the former Arkle Trophy winner looks fantastic value.
There should be no stamina doubts about Un De Sceaux stepping up to 2m5f as he has won twice over that trip in France on soft ground which suggests he is equally as good over this distance.
Many people’s banker of the Festival this year is Unowhatimeanharry in the Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the meeting. Harry Fry’s runner has dominated his division this season with three wins already in the campaign.
Unowhatimeanharry won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2016 and has had no problems stepping out of novice company. The nine-year-old prevailed in the Long Distance Hurdle by six lengths where he had Ballyoptics and Menorah behind him in second and third respectively.
Timeform via Twitter
It was in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle back in December at Ascot where Unowhatimeanharry really established himself as the Stayers’ Hurdle favourite at the Festival. He then added the Cleeve Hurdle to his CV this season and as a result is now 6/5 to score in the 3m contest.
Finally, Colin Tizzard looks to have all the aces in the pack in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as he trains the first three in the betting for the race with Thistlecrack, Native River and Cue Card. The preference should be Native River who can score in another prestigious contest this season.
At The Races via Twitter
Native River won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury back in November to put himself in contention for the Blue Riband event at the Festival. He then followed that up by scoring in the Welsh Grand National off top weight.
Unlike the favourite Thistlecrack, Native River is sure to appreciate the stiff test that comes with the 3m2f contest at Cheltenham. Those who don’t stay the trip normally get found out up the hill in the closing stages of the race.
In the Cotsworld Chase last month, Thistlecrack made a few jumping errors which cost him ground and resulted in him finishing second behind Many Clouds. If he is in a battle with Native River inside the final furlong of the Gold Cup, the favourite may have to settle for second again.
Selections: Un De Sceaux (Ryanair Chase), Unowhatimeanharry (Stayers’ Hurdle), Native River (Gold Cup) – 1-point win treble