The outcome of the first Championship race of the week could be all important come the end of the four days in our Tote Ten to Follow Cheltenham Mini Game. With a minimum of 50 points up for grabs, players will be assessing not just who but how many they should be siding with in an attempt to land the two-mile spectacular.
Long-touted as a battle of the supermares, the shape of the race has changed plenty in recent weeks, but here’s how we think players should approach the race.
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Entries are open now, with players able to make changes to their stables up until 10pm on Monday 15th March. Remember, in the event of a dead heat the stable entered earliest will be declared the winner.
Honeysuckle as solid as they come
Many will look to pick holes in Honeysuckle’s win at the Festival last year and a half-length victory over Ronald Pump on reappearance hardly inspired.
However, Henry De Bromhead’s star took her form to a new level in the Irish Champion Hurdle. A 10l victory over Abacadabras with the best of Ireland’s 2m division toiling behind must have made Henry De Bromhead’s decision to go for this race an easy one. She obviously stays further than 2m and that stands her in good stead here for a renewal which is likely to be run at a frenetic gallop.
Can Epatante bounce back or will Silver Streak confirm form?
Epatante will look to join a prestigious club of dual Champion Hurdle winners and based on last year’s victory and her Fighting Fifth win, you would have to be brave to leave her out.
However, this year certainly looks like a stronger renewal. With Sharjah, who had a far from an ideal preparation, and Darver Star, who had started the season rated 119, filling the places, you could pick holes in the form if you were looking for them.
She was beaten by Silver Streak in the Christmas Hurdle and there were no excuses that day. Under new front-running tactics, Evan Williams’ runner put her to the sword and it could just be that, under a similar ride, he will confirm form and go better than his 2019 third.
Goshen is back
Goshen would have been a runaway winner of the Triumph last year before his infamous fall at the last.
He’d failed to fire on his first three starts this year before a final throw of the dice in the Kingwell saw him back to his brilliant best. A 22l victory over Song For Someone, who arrived at Wincanton on a four-timer, was no mean feat and he’ll warrant all the respect in the world.
He’ll have to overcome the trends, however, with Triumph form not working out particularly well in this race historically and only two five-year-olds winning this race in the last 30 years.
HONEYSUCKLE will be a popular selection for players, but you simply can’t leave her out on the basis of her latest win. With 12 points on offer to the runner-up, we wouldn’t put players off putting Silver Streak in too. He won’t want too much rain, however, so keep an eye on the forecast and edit your stable appropriately.