Yanworth: unbeaten this season and favourite for the Champion Hurdle
PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Peter Scargill 4:00PM 2 MAR 2017
AFTER the Cheltenham Festival every year the Racing Post tipsters gaze into their crystal balls and predict who may be winning at the meeting in 12 month’s time.
We look at what our experts selected last year and how their picks have fared since . . .
Tipster: Richard Birch
Advice: Yanworth to win the Champion Hurdle (16-1)
Target: Stan James Champion Hurdle (7-2jt-fav)
Described as having the “perfect blend of speed and stamina” by Richard Birch last year, Yanworth had initially been thought of as a Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle horse.
However, with the emergence of Unowhatimeanharry and the casualties in the Champion Hurdle division, Yanworth has become a serious contender for the first day highlight.
Djakadam: second in the last two runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup
PICTURE:Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Tipster: Paul Kealy
Advice: Djakadam to win the Gold Cup (12-1)
Target: Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (4-1)
It may have been a case of ‘nice tip, no chance’ for this selection, but all is now to play for after favourite Thistlecrack joined the likes of Don Cossack and Coneygree in missing the race.
Djakadam has finished second in the last two Gold Cups, but his trainer Willie Mullins is confident he is sending the eight-year-old to the festival in the best shape yet.
Tipster: Tom Segal
Advice: Alpha Des Obeaux to win the RSA Chase (8-1)
Target: RSA Chase (10-1)
A promising start over fences for Alpha Des Obeaux went off the rails towards the end of last year, when he was pulled up having broken blood vessels at Leopardstown.
However, trainer Mouse Morris is a master at getting his horses right for the Cheltenham Festival and will be aiming to work his magic again. For those backing him ante-post last year for the RSA, there has been little to gain so far.
Blaklion: main goal appears to be the Grand National at Aintree
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Graeme Rodway:Blaklion to win the Gold Cup (33-1)
Pietro Innocenzi: Yorkhill to win the Racing Post Arkle (5-1) or the Champion Hurdle (10-1)
Blaklion has endured a solid 12 months since winning the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He has put up good efforts in big handicaps, but his main goal appears to be the Randox Health Grand National. He is a 50-1 shot for the Gold Cup.
Yorkhill is the horse with all the options. Talked of as good enough for the Champion Hurdle, Yorkhill is almost certain to go for a novice chase event with the JLT the most likely (he is favourite for that).
Altior: chasing has been hs game this season
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James Pyman: Black Hercules to win the Gold Cup (33-1)
Ben Hutton: Altior to win the Champion Hurdle (8-1)
Black Hercules has not shone this season. Having won the JLT last year, he has not made much impact this season and only holds a Ryanair Chase entry at the festival.
Altior has been brilliant since winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and will likely win at the festival again. The problem is the race he will probably win is the Racing Post Arkle, not the Champion Hurdle.