Latest Cheltenham News

March 13th, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there.

It’s been a quiet morning regarding Cheltenham news, with the only update relating to Old Guard’s participation in the Champion Hurdle following what Paul Nicholls described as an “absolutely dire” piece of work on Saturday. The five-year-old, who has such a good record at the track, was one of the more popular outsiders for the race. The trainer will make a decision after seeing how the horse is on Monday.

I wasn’t aware until reading Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Racing Post today that The New One’s back problem last spring was caused by bad feet. His 15-strong team includes Blaklion, Bristol De Mai and Ballyandy.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse has kept the ground as soft for the time being, but after another dry day he expects there to be good to soft areas by Monday afternoon. Monday will be relatively warm and sunny, but the forecast for the remainder of the week is for dry but overcast conditions. I think we can safely say there is unlikely to be extreme of going this week, unlike last season when the ground became very soft on the final day.

I see that Desoto County, who has long been at or near the head of the market for the County Hurdle, is 44th on the list and not certain to get a run. Kayf Blanco, one of my big fancies of the week, should be all right at number 36. I am further encouraged to see that both Kayf Blanco and Some Plan – my two main hopes for the race – have two of the highest speed figures in the race.

The Racing Post reports that Bryan Cooper has yet to decide between his Gold Cup options Don Poli and Don Cossack but Paddy Power bet 1/3 that he will be on the former and that is in accordance with my understanding, as passed on to you yesterday.

I am writing this around lunchtime so any news that subsequently appears will not have been included.

You can hear my early thoughts for the week by calling me this evening, after 6.00pm, for my Cheltenham Preview line (0906 150 1555). This line will be updated each evening at 8.00pm and then again in the morning, at 11.30, when any selections will be given in the first minute of the message.

Bye for now