Hello and welcome to tonight's half-time Q&A. Let's hope we can find some winners, something that proved way beyond me this afternoon!
Might as well start with an old favourite! For sure he has to have a massive chance again. Ground will suit him better than last year and he's had another wind op. Mind you, having jumped off him for Croco Bay 12 months ago, I'd better have a saver on that one too.
It is without doubt the toughest day of the meeting but I really do like the chances of Who Dares Wins in the Triumph Hurdle
Not sure I could say he is that solid given how fast the ground has become. He has looked a bit short of pace on this sort of ground the last couple of times he has run here. That said, connections seem very keen and believe having him mad-fresh is what he wants. He's certainly one of few in the race with the form to bustle up Vautour if the favourite is not quite at his best.
My anger has subsided, but it isn't naive to think we should be kept informed. I actually don't mind not knowing until the day as I can weigh up the possibilities myself and decide whether to bet. But when you tell everyone it's all about one target and then change your mind it doesn't look good.
He does seem to have a knack with the juveniles as that's his second 1-2 in the Fred Winter in a row. That said, putting all gossip aside re Diego/ZUbayr, I just don't think the Adonis at Kemton was much of a race. Gibralfaro was clearly nowhere near as good as the handicapper rated him (I think we had him 15lb lower, which is a massive difference between two handicappers), so it was in effect little more than a maiden hurdle, although probably a good one. He also traded as 130 in running, which gives an indication of how poorly he appeared to be travelling at one point, so a big field round there might not be for him.
Johns Spirit is obviously well handicapped and should go close if rediscovering his from, as Hoylwell did for the yard on Tuesday. However, I've long fancied Fingal Bay for this week and fine the tongue-tie blinkers combo fascinating. Expect Dickie Johnson to give him an aggressive ride
Not sure the horse was ever going that well to be honest. Probably did well to get it where it finished. That said, I can't say it's a race I pay too much attention too and I paid even less this year after my sentimental bet on Balthazar King went down so early.
I can see Lough Kent going well in the Grand Annual, but that's already three I'm thinking of backing. I thought he was well handicapped earlier in the season, but he disappointed. If anyone can get him back this week it is Henderson though.
Blowout for me. Not sure he's going to like the track and his jumping doesn't impress. Liked Shantou Village for a while and not put off by Yanworth defeat as he ran into a very good horse.
Good day yesterday Vic. Had 1-2-3-4 in trifectas in the last (that'll get the after-timer brigade going!). Thistlecrack looks bombproof to me mate, but I thought that about Yanworth too and I dare say many thought it about Un De Sceaux.
Lean over and pull the jockey off!! Not really, he seems an uncomplicated horse with speed to go with his stamina.
Obvious one is last year's winner Cole Harden, but even then you have to forgive him this season's efforts.
Not short of speed based on those bumper efforts and perhaps his laziness has prompted them to go down the 3m route. I thought he was at least impressive at Doncaster when upped to the trip, though, and will be taking him on.
One and the same really. Altior was ace. Nap of the meeting and job done. Pressure off then.
No and I paid for it. But great to see him back as champion. Scary to think he could win a Champion Chase in such commanding fashion and still be a full stone below his imperious best, but that's what he was.
I backed him a few weeks ago and then again today. Obviously there's a chance he's gone at the game, but he matched Smad Place for a fair way in the Hennessy and was still in the hunt turning for home off 156. Off just 139 he has to have a massive chance and the likes of Doctor Harper and Cause Of Causes are going to have to be very well handicapped to beat him. Love the old boy so fingers crossed.
Put Bristol up in the Weekender a few weeks ago, but starting to get concerned by the ground. If he handles it and the track - it has been pointed out that Twister runs everything he can at Cheltenham but has never sent Bristol there - he has to have a shout. If betting now I'd be looking for a something at a bigger price as I think it's a tight heat. Toying with Three Musketeers. Skelton horses seem to be in good nick.
Annie Power should obviously be Champion Hurdle again, but would you bet on that happening if Faugheen is back? I could honestly see her running in the mares. Like to see Vroum Vroum Mag over fences and that might happen should Limini prove up to the mares race for next year.
Not many horses wouldn't be suited by Fehily. Quality rider full stop. Be more worried about the ground for him than anything else. Got away with it in JLT two years ago, but not sure he would now. Loves it deep.
Yeah, not convinced he wanted bottomless ground either. Player at a price.
He did look to be moving well when brought down at Haydock (fair way out) and handles ground fine, so wouldn't put you off.