Jewson Anniversary 4yo Juvenile Hurdle
According to the bookies we can forget about the other seven runners and focus solely on the top two in the betting. Perceived by those in the ring as a match race between a Cheltenham Festival victor in the form of Brazil and a festival placed horse Pied Piper.
Although it may be harsh to knock the form of a horse who's just done something most can only dream of I fear his hard fought win in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle may have taken a fair bit out of Brazil. I wouldn't be so foolish as to write him off entirely and he looks likely to finish in the placings but despite finding a couple two good at Prestbury Park Pied Piper can atone for that defeat in what could potentially look a very hot race.
Away from the aforementioned duo there's a trio of French imports that could have flown under the radar.
Making his stable debut for Venetia Williams is the unbeaten Fautinette who takes her first step onto an English racecourse. Her form in her native France looks pretty solid but it's likely she's been bought to tackle bigger obstacles in time and anything she does over hurdles will be a bonus. May grab a top four spot but I imagine that's the best she can hope for.
Another French bred runner who is also unbeaten will be representing the illustrious green and gold silks of JP McManus. Jonjo O'Neill is set to saddle Petit Tonnerre who made his stable debut when winning a three runner race at Market Rasen.. He now faces a drastic step up in competition and a completely different proposition course wise. I say this at my own peril but there's others that make more appeal for punters who may be on the lookout for some each-way value.
The third and final runner who has come from across the Channel is Gary Moore's In The Air. Sporting the same silks as stablemate Porticello who was seen as a possible outsider who could spoil the party perhaps this runner could produce a better performance than his yard companion could. Of course he needs to show more to get competitive but he was impressive enough on his sole UK start and at a massive price could have a better chance than the market suggests.
Of the rest it's probably fair to say that Knight Salute should show much more than he did at the festival and Ron Harris' four year old should finish closer this time around however is likely to find a handful too good once again.
PIED PIPER (WIN)
IN THE AIR (E/W)