All roads lead to Cheltenham on Saturday as Prestbury Park hosts Festival Trials Day.
We’re 45 days away from hearing the Cheltenham Festival roar and this Saturday will gives us some serious clues to races including the Triumph Hurdle, the Stayers Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Cheltenham Trials Day 2020: Full Betting Preview, Predictions & Which Horses To Look Out For
12:40 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
Count on Monte Cristo (111/100) making a splash in the opener. Nicky Henderson’s four-year-old has impressed in his native France and picked up a notable win at the Prix Le Parisien at Autueil in October. The expected soft conditions could suit him here.
Rowland Ward (57/25) could be one to watch in the horse racing markets this spring after a commanding run at Kempton’s Christmas Festival, where he brushed off a sluggish start to comfortably outgun Thyme White in the closing stages.
13:15 Novices’ Handicap Chase
Mercy Mercy Me (6/1) looks to be a fantastic E/W shout for this race for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. He cruised around Sandown in a very competitive race and was impressive when driven clear to win by over five lengths last time out and has the scope to improve further. He came eighth in the Champion Bumper, that included Grade 1 winners Tornado Flyer & Felix Desjy, in his only run around Cheltenham.
Imperial Aura (133/50) will likely go off favourite following a second to Pym at Cheltenham in December. This is a drop in trip from that day and could be a bit on the sharp side.
13:50 Handicap Chase
A massively open handicap chase and lots of whom who have chances. Lalor (111/20), Highway One O One (22/5) and Warthog (91/20) could be the main dangers but the pin falls on course and distance winner, Warthog. His last three runs have come at Cheltenham and 2 miles 4 looks the perfect distance for him. He likes to be prominent and could prove too tough to pass.
14:25 Cotswold Chase
This race revolves around Santini (42/25). He was fancied when going off favourite in the Albert Bartlett in 2018 but finished a tame third. He went a step closer when just being edged out in the RSA at last year’s Festival when he came second to Topofthegame. An impressive win here could put him in with a fantastic shout of the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he can currently be backed at 8/1.
Bristol De Mai (117/50) has never enjoyed Cheltenham (0 wins from 4 starts) and looks a tad short to win this considering that record. The grey has all the ability to win but could find a few too good for him on this occasion.
15:00 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Forget all the talk about Megxit. Another Harry could be making all the headlines this Saturday if Harry Senior (95/20) can build on an encouraging 2019 campaign with a breakthrough win at Prestbury Park on Cheltenham Trials Day. A five-length victory over Global Fame at Chepstow in December sets the six-year-old up nicely for this one.
Protektorat (18/5) was very gritty and determined when holding off the spirted Imperial Alcazar in a contest here on New Years Day. That racecourse experience could prove vital and looks to be the selection to take a chance on.
15: 35 Cleeve Hurdle
Paisley Park (16/25) missed the Long Walk in December after connections took the decision to withdraw the eight-year-old due to the ground concerns after a downpour in Berkshire. His impressive seasonal reappearance at Newbury, when he held off a spirited Thistlecrack, proves that he is still number one when it comes to the three-mile hurdlers.
Emma Lavelle was particularly happy after last year’s renewal when Paisley Park powered clear to win the Cleeve Hurdle by 12 lengths as she exclaimed “That was quite impressive wasn’t it?”
Will he grab his seventh straight victory with Aidan Coleman on board?
A strong contender is the Harry Fry trained, If The Cap Fits (69/20). His most memorable win came at Aintree last season as he held off Roksana and Apple’s Jade as the three were split by a nostril. Sean Bowen will likely ride him again following their winning partnership in the Ascot Hurdle in November.