Cheltenham Briefing …

March 7th, 2018 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

The major talking point at the moment relates to the weather, with some of the more reliable forecasters predicting a severe low-pressure system hitting the south-west over the weekend. If you believe the Daily Express, which I concede is prone to embroider such things, there may be torrential rain and strong winds followed by rain every day through the Festival.

Even allowing for the use of new ground at the meeting I think we can now assume the going will ride soft on the opening day, regardless of the official description. There may even be heavy patches, although the clerk of the course will be reluctant to use that word.

Moving on to the stars of the show, I was sorry to see that Sceau Royal has met with a setback and will have to miss the Arkle Trophy. Over the weekend while writing the Bulletin Book I had come to the conclusion that tactically the race could go his way, but  Alan King says they will probably save him now for next season.

Connections of Samcro have said that the main target is the Ballymore Hurdle, but if the ground is deemed to be very soft then I would not dismiss a late switch to the opening Supreme. I still expect him to be declared for the Supreme Hurdle at the five-day stage later today.

I will pass on further thoughts tomorrow, but my advice to you all is to seek out the soft-ground specialists.

Bye for now