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15:40 - Festival Challenge Cup

There is a glaring omission in the fact that there are no amateur riders at the Festival this year but nevertheless, the Hunters’ Chase still remains a competitive race.

Billaway was beaten by It Came To Pass last year and seemed to falter after the last fence, with no answer to the latter’s stamina. He may well be in better form this year but there are still questions over whether he has improved up to the 10 lengths he was beaten by It Came To Pass last year. Connections don’t seem to have a good record in this race.

Conversely, Paul Nicholls has a good record in this race and saddles Bob and Co in this renewal. He was quite impressive at Haydock and is well in on the ratings. However, having never ran at Cheltenham, I would make him my Next Best.

The aforementioned It Came To Pass was outstanding in this race last year and with the ground drying up all the time, there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t win again. It looks like he’s been trained with this race in mind throughout the season and everything points to him running a good race again.


written by Kieran McHugh


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