The leading trainers mark your card
Published 12/03/2016 | 02:30
The major players pinpoint their leading lights for The Festival as well as a few who will fly below the bookies' radar
Longwood, County Meath
Wins-runs 2014-15 127-653
Everything has gone to plan with No More Heroes and I could not be happier with him heading to the RSA Chase. He is an excellent jumper and was unlucky when third at The Festival last year. Things have gone against Don Cossack at Cheltenham but I'm hoping this is his year in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. He jumps very well and is in great shape. Noble Endeavor has course form, is a good jumper and will go well in whichever race he runs in.
Upper Lambourn, Berkshire
Wins-runs 2014-15 51-278
My best chance is Cole Harden in the Ryanair World Hurdle, which he won last year. I've kept his races to a minimum this winter to save him but he's in great form and the better the ground the better his chance. Out Sam goes for the RSA Chase and he's getting better with experience. A fast-run race on better ground will suit. Missed Approach goes for the Pertemps Final and, although he hasn't raced since he won at Newbury in November, he runs well fresh.
Upper Lambourn, Berkshire
Wins-runs 2014-15 130-513
My best chance is Altior in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Everything has been 100 per cent with him since Kempton at Christmas. Bloody Mary, who had some useful form in France and won on her debut for us at Taunton in February, would have a chance in the new Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle. Consul De Thaix would be under the radar if he runs in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He's a nice horse who was third in Cheltenham's trial in January. I like him.
Muine Beag, County Carlow
Wins-runs 2014-15 203-741
Douvan has done everything right this season. He has bundles of pace and we're looking forward to seeing him in the Racing Post Arkle. People were hyping up Min before he had his first run for us. He has ability and will appreciate better ground in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Limini is smart and we've had the Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle in mind for her for some time.
Wins-runs 2014-15 116-585
Starchitect ran a blinder on his first run for us when runner-up in the Betfair Hurdle and he could go for the County Hurdle or the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. The latter option would be a step up in trip for him and it might well suit. Champers On Ice goes for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle as I think the three-mile trip will suit and he has shown a liking for Cheltenham.
Milborne Port, Dorset
Wins-runs 2014-15 38-294
Cue Card has done absolutely nothing wrong this season and deserves to take his chance in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. It has surprised me how good he has been so far this winter. He has won at The Festival twice and there is no reason I can see why he can't do so again. Thistlecrack has passed all his tests leading up to the Ryanair World Hurdle in very good style.
Wins-runs 2014-15 102-555
Balthazar King, who will be making his comeback in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase after sustaining an injury when badly baulked in the Crabbie's Grand National, has been pleasing us at home and his record around Cheltenham is very good. Mendip Express will be our representative in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase. He would be suited by the ground drying out a bit but is in very good heart.
Barbury Castle, Wiltshire
Wins-runs 2014-15 75-451
Yanworth in the Neptune is my best hope and he looked very special last time. It's all very well winning from ordinary opposition but you don't often see performances like that in Graded races against high-class rivals. We'd always thought he'd be even better suited by the longer trip and I'm very fortunate to have a horse with his sort of potential. I'm also keen on JCB Triumph Hurdle trio Gibralfaro, Sceau Royal and Who Dares Wins.
Wins-runs 2014-15 124-523
Some of our better chances are likely to be in the handicaps. Politologue, who goes for the Coral Cup, pleased us when winning nicely at Exeter and before that he had been a good second to Barters Hill. He is a progressive young horse and should not be far away. Qualando won the Fred Winter last March and will run in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle this time.
Castletown, County Meath
Wins-runs 2014-15 49-357
I felt the Irish Gold Cup was run at a very strong pace and Road To Riches went too quick. The ground wasn't ideal either. He came out of the race well, though, and I'm very happy with him. Monksland has had his difficulties and it is great to have him sound. He will enjoy the better conditions at Cheltenham. Snow Falcon, who did it very nicely on his most recent start at Navan, is a decent horse and is worth a shot at the Ryanair World Hurdle.