The Annual Sky Bet Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening took place on Wednesday evening in Leeds and the usual panel (Mark Howard, Donn McLean, Michael Shinners, Dave Ord, Ed Chamberlain, Alex Hammond, Niall Hannity, Denis O'Regan) were back for another year with Special guest Warren Greatrex and it was once again a very interesting and informative evening.  Please see below a brief of each guests views and what was discussed;


Supreme Novices Hurdle

MH - Believes that Mullins is key to the race, would go with Min
WG - Thinks Altior has the most experience although he also likes Yorkhill
NH - Very sweet on Yorkhill, everything going for it
AH - Yorkhill
DM - Yorkhill

Champion Hurdle

Video from Willie Mullins shown, he's very confident on Annie Power, believes she would beat all of them easy in a flat race over 2 miles
AH - My Tent Or Yours, Lil Rockerfeller each way
NH - My Tent Or Yours has run in better Champions before.  Peace and Co a definite NO.  Disappointing race, at a price Hargam may run well
WG - My Tent Or Yours - Best of Nicky's horses, believes he wouldn't go if he wasn't fit.  He's heard a good word for Identity Thief but he's not for him
DOR - He's raced behind Annie Power before and he's never seen an injection of pace like it before.  Annie Power and My Tent Or Yours to fight it out
DM - Identity Thief the pick on better ground
MH - Nichols Canyon has won 6 Grade One's and doesn't get the credit he deserves.  Sempre Medici could run well at a price


Everyone was unanimous that Douvan would win.  Warren Greatrex said to get on him for the Champion Chase next season.  MH, NH and AH said The Game Changer for a place


WG - Hopes Out Sam gets in to the Ultima, stays well, 3 miles will help, come on since Newbury, has a great chance.  Aloomomo (Novices Handicap) - he can't see any negatives about him.
DOR - Big fan of The Young Master (Ultima)
MH - Noble Endeavor for the National Hunt Chase.  Thinks it's significant Jamie Codd got off Native River to ride Noble Endeavor.  Also really likes Aloomomo (Novices Handicap)
DM - Noble Endeavor (National Hunt Chase) and Morning Assembly (Ultima) - thinks the latter is very well handicapped
NH - Doctor Harper (whatever race he goes in), Noble Endeavor (National Hunt Chase)
AH - Noble Endeavor (National Hunt Chase), Thomas Crapper (each way) (Novices Handicap)


Champion Chase

MH - Un De Sceaux may not enjoy Special Tiara moving ahead and he may unsettled him
DOR - Un De Sceaux - thinks Special Tiara leading may actually suit UDS.  Thinks he's outstanding.  Sire De Grugy could run in to a place and Novices may be overpriced
DM - Un De Sceaux - Wouldn't hold his fall against him as he appears to have learned from it.  Moscow Flyer was similar type to him, both live on the edge and jump fast.  Gods Own each way, Sizing Granite could run well on good ground
WG - Fast pace will suit Sprinter Sacre and can see him being there abouts.  Un De Sceaux though will be hard to beat. Head says UDS, Heart says SS
NH - Dodging Bullets - NO CHANCE.  Un De Sceaux by far the best horse
AH - Un De Sceaux a risky bet as he's a lunatic but should win

Neptune Novices Hurdle

All the panel were unanimous in Yanworth winning the Neptune.  DOR says he's a top class racehorse who he loves to bits and wants him to win for Alan (King).  WG said King has trained him excellently and beat one of his that he thinks a lot of

RSA Chase

MH - Soft Ground - No More Heroes, Good Ground - More of That
DM - Jumping the key, No More Heroes is a super jumper of fences and would have gone close in last year's Albert Bartlett had he not been hampered
DOR - Top two in the betting directly matched and should finished 1st and 2nd.  No More Heroes is accurate over fences whereas connections considered the Gold Cup for More of That.  Likes Blacklion each way as he's the most experienced horse in the race
WG - More of That is the class horse in the race.  Improve for step up in trip and better ground.  He's one of JP McManus' favourite horses and he follows him everywhere, he's too classy to overlook


DOR - Foxrock should run well in the Cross Country Chase, likes Cantlow at a price and can see him running a great race
MH - Diego Du Charmil (Fred Winter) looks well handicapped, as does Diamond King (Coral Cup)
DM - Foxrock for the Cross Country Chase.  Highest rated horse in the race
NH - Diego Du Charmil (Fred Winter) looks well handicapped
AH - Campeador for the Fred Winter and New To This Town for the Champion Bumper

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World Hurdle

Video with Colin Tizzard shown and he sounds very confident for Thistlecrack, thinks he could win by 10 lengths.  Makes everything look so simple.
WG - Thinks Cole Harden is not the same horse in soft ground as he is in good.  On Good Ground he'll be a tough nut to crack.  Thistlecrack been bullying horses in soft ground, won't be bullying Cole Harden
MH - Good mention for Aux Ptits Soins, Nicholls has him where he wants him
DM - Alpha Des Obeaux is a player but Thistlecrack the one to beat
DOR - Thistlecrack a worthy favourite.  Rode in race with Thistlecrack and he was impressive, could be a certainty
NH - Nick Schofield surprised to get the ride on Aux Ptits Soins as he thought Sam Twiston Davies would have picked him over Saphir Du Rheu.  Thistlecrack however looks a different horse.
AH - Cole Harden

JLT Novices Chase

DM - Black Hercules always looked a stayer so strange decision.  This is Outlanders target and is often overlooked as he's not fashionable
MH - Bristol De Mai deserves to be favourite but slow jumper.  L'Ami Serge going here would be strange choice.  Two he likes are Three Musketeers and Garde La Victoire
DOR - Thinks Outlander is top class.  Has reservations about the ground but is a strong candidate
NH - Outlander - If ground is quick then Garde La Victoire
WG - Garde La Victoire on better ground.  Has course form and is all over him

Ryanair Chase

DM - Al Ferof
MH - Road To Riches the better the ground the better his chance but nothing he really fancies
DOR - The Skelton's are very keen on Al Ferof
AH - Al Ferof - solid form
NH - Respect Al Ferof, has best form of the year in the King George.  Smashing will shorten up as the trip is perfect
WG - Not a great race.  Vibrato Valtat to run in to a place


DOR - Mall Dini (Pertemps), Davy Russell riding and can see him go well
WG - Missed Approach (Pertemps) could be better than this
MH - Our Kaempfer (Pertemps) has a good chance.  Is well treated on 139 and unexposed.  Limini will win the Mares Novice Hurdle
DM - Limini (Mares Novice Hurdle) tough to beat.  Leave At Dawn (Pertemps) is interesting, Cause of Causes (Kim Muir) has good course form
NH - Johns Spirit (Brown Advisory Plate) has dropped 15 pound and looks well in.  Smart Talk each way (Mares Novice Hurdle) should definitely be placed
AH - Smart Talk (Mares Novice Hurdle) has a good each way chance.  Doctor Harper looks well handicapped.


Gold Cup

DM - Don Poli - Course form, always just does enough although potentially Vautour could blow the field away
MH - Vautour outclassed the field for most of the way in the King George.  Better ground and going right handed would suit.  Djakadam a threat however
DOR - Not in love at all with Don Cossack, sluggish in King George whereas Don Poli is a "Serious horse".  Course form is massive, can see if being between Don Poli, Vautour and Cue Card at the finish.  Says Djakadam is a class horse but not bombproof and you'd need to be to win this year
WG - Huge Don Poli fan.  Won RSA, has course form, Gold Cup course should suit.  No flaws to him at all.  He thinks he simply wins and is one of the best bets for the week
AH - Don Poli


DOR - Sceau Royal is deadly.  Jumps well and Alan (King) has liked him all year.  Pleasing him more than anything else in the yard
DM - Seems to be some serious confidence behind Ivanovic Gorbatov from somewhere.  Ground last time out was shocking for him
MH - Ivanovic Gorbatov was so impressive first time out.  Ground seems imperative
WG - Let's Dance - Strongly run race and better ground should suit.  Vibes are that Sceau Royal has improved some
AH - Zubayr - expensive purchase, liked how he won last time out and should improve

Albert Bartlett

NH - Really likes Shantou Village.  Ground should suit him better, really sweet on him
AH - Shantou Village should the ground dry out
WG - Not sure if the track will suit Barters Hill, thinks he should have gone for the Neptune
MH - Shantou Village - the way he beat Champers on Ice has hugely impressive
DM - Bleu Et Rouge could stay the trip if he goes here and is an interesting horse
DOR - Up For Review each way at a sporting price, Shantou Village to win


WG - Paint The Clouds (Foxhunters), the quicker the ground the better.  Serious chance on the ground.  Chef D'Ouvre won't run unless soft
DOR - Ardamir (Fred Winter) his best ride of the week, improver - very sweet
MH - Wait For Me (County Hurdle) could be well handicapped.  Needs to get jumping right however
DM - Blue Hell (County Hurdle) form has worked out well and kept for this race.  Velvet Maker (Grand Annual) - very sweet on
NH - Tycoon Prince (Conditionals Handicap) looks well treated
AH - A Hare Breath ( County Hurdle) & Velvet Maker (Grand Annual)

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