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Cheltenham Preview: Poetic Verse weighted to strike

The unexposed Poetic Verse looks weighted to take all the beating in the 2m handicap hurdle on a cracking seven-race card at Cheltenham today (5.35).

Trained by John Quinn, the filly has only had five starts over hurdles and after opening her account in game fashion in a handicap at Carmel in July posted a cracking effort at the same venue when last seen over the sticks to chase home Taglietelle in a novice contest.

The four-year-old went down by just 1/2 a length to Gordon Elliott’s charge who was officially rated 136 on the day and has since gone on to score twice.

That gives the form a strong look, and makes Poetic Verse look potentially very well-treated off a mark of 120.

The daughter of Byron has also since gone on to bolt up on the level at Catterick to confirm her well-being, and has the services of Dean Pratt in the saddle who is terrific value for his 6lb claim.

Poetic Verse also remains open to bags more improvement, and is the type of horse that the Quinn yard excel with.

In the 3m handicap hurdle (3.15), On The Bridge looks decent each-way value in a wide open contest.

The nine-year-old has improved at a rate of knots since joing Jeremy Scott in 2012, winning seven races over hurdles and fences.

Five of those wins have come over the smaller obstacles he tackles this afternoon, and On The Bridge ran a stormer in this contest 12 months ago when staying on strongly finish a never nearer three length fourth of 20 to Trackmate.

Connections then put him away to keep him fresh for the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival and On The Bridge posted an excellent effort to finish sixth of 23 to Fingal Bay off his current rating of 140.

That is rock solid form in the context of this contest, and On The Bridge shaped as if coming to the boil last time out at Newton Abbot when runner-up to Henryville who he now meets on 14lb better terms for a 3 1/2 length beating.

Selections:
2.05: Blaklion
2.40: Thomas Crapper
3.15: On The Bridge (NB)
3.50: Highland Retreat
4.25: Ballybolley
5.00: Charingworth
5.35: Poetic Verse (NAP)