Hi guys, for those of you who don’t know, this has gone out early due to popular demand as so many punters want to take advantage of this SKYBET £10 money back offer. I’ve studied this race long and hard looking for something at each way odds to beat Willie Mullins short-priced Favourite, Appreciate It, but if it’s in there I can’t find it so he is the selection.

The re-opposing Ballyadam was 3.25 lengths behind Appreciate It in a high quality Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time with his stablemate Blue Lord a further 2.75 lengths back in 3rd and Irascible even further back beaten 9 lengths in 5th place. I see no reason why any of them should be able to reverse the form with him as Ballyadam was well-held prior to his mistake at the last, I think Blue Lord (while I like this unexposed horse who is open to improvement) shapes like he ideally wants 2m4f, and Irascible simply doesn’t look good enough having been beaten 9 lengths off level weights by Appreciate It the last twice.

Soaring Glory stepped up to comfortably win a Grade 3 handicap last time but I honestly don’t think he beat much, he was carrying a low weight, he has never ran at Cheltenham, the race was possibly a little close to this being only 23 days ago, and he simply doesn’t appear to have the Class of the dual Grade 1 winning Favourite. Trainer Harry Fry highly rates Metier who is unbeaten in three runs over hurdles including a well below par Grade 1 Tolworth by 12 lengths at Sandown back in January but this is by far his toughest challenge to date, he too has never raced at Cheltenham, and the conditions underfoot may not be as easy as he would like. Again, I think he will be found out by a Classier horse on the day. The others are Grumpy Charley who is progressing and has won his last three but will be doing very well to take this Grade 1 stepping up from a Class 3 handicap and For Pleasure (the surprise winner of a Grade 2 over C&D under a tactically superb front-running ride back in November) who was beaten 18.5 lengths by Soaring Glory last time and is unlikely to be allowed to apply the same tactics in this.

That leaves us with Appreciate It who simply ticks a lot of boxes and has the back form already in the book being proven at Grade 1 level and having been an excellent clear 2nd of 23 to Ferny Hollow in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper over this C&D last year. He proved on that occasion he stays up the hill and he is a better, stronger, more settled, horse this year. Willie Mullins has won this 6-times, including four of the last eight runnings, and Paul Townend (who is one of the best Festival jockeys ever with 11 winners) is on him rather than stablemate Blue Lord. These are young mostly unexposed horses open to improvement so it is possible something could improve past the selection but he is unbeaten in his three starts over hurdles and open to further progress himself so I hope he gives Willie Mullins his fifth winner in this in the past nine years and gets our Cheltenham off to a flying start. Good luck!

Jibber Jabber

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