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Take the light option and back Olofi

This year's Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham is far from a vintage renewal and one who takes the eye lurking down near the bottom of the weights is Tom George's Olofi.

The Grade Three prize has seen some of the best two-mile hurdlers around in recent years, with the likes of Rooster Booster, Sizing Europe, Detroit City and most recently Menorah stamping their class in a competitive handicap.

There does not appear to be a genuine Champion Hurdle contender in this year's line-up, and Olofi has to be of some interest off his current rating.

The five-year-old was a highly creditable fifth in this very race 12 months ago, beaten just seven lengths by Menorah, and yet he is now a couple of pounds lower in the weights.

Olofi recently returned to action in France and there was plenty to like about his creditable fourth across the Channel in very soft ground.

Connections seem confident he has improved for that run and is a stronger horse than 12 months ago and, if that is the case, he is worth an each-way punt off a light weight at a track where he has won and been placed in the past.

A few absentees from the Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase has robbed it of some of its lustre, but plenty of interest still surrounds Al Ferof.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old powered up the hill here in March to land the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and if he proves half as good over fences, he will go a long way in what could be a hot novice division this year.

Philip Hobbs sends out the hugely exciting Fingal Bay to defend his unbeaten record in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

The five-year-old fairly bolted up on his bumper debut at Exeter in February, and connections resisted the temptation to go to Cheltenham to give the youngster chance to mature over the summer.

He certainly looked the real deal when winning the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow on his seasonal return.

The totepool Southern National takes centre stage at Fontwell, in which Le Beau Bai should have conditions to suit.

He is well handicapped on the best of his form and with soft ground, he should be respected.


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