Zarkandar ready to upstage the big two in World Hurdle
The system for finding the first winner so far this week is simply to back Mullins and Walsh. They bid to follow Vautour and Faugheen with Felix Yonger in the JLT Novices’ Case at 1.30.
He was well beaten by Trifolium last time but that horse ran a fair race in the Arkle Chase. Stablemate Djakadam could be the dark horse of the race while Taquin Du Seuil and Oscar Whisky have the best form of the home team.
The Pertemps final at 2.05 looks likely to go the way of trainer Philip Hobbs who has five runners. Fingal Bay tops the weights and is closely handicapped with If In Doubt on their recent Exeter form.
The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at 2.40 looks wide open with question marks against many of the leading contenders. Dynaste needs to bounce back from a poor run in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Al Ferof has also been dropped back in trip after failing to stay in the Denman Chase at Newbury. Benefficient has done little wrong this season and may be the safest option having won at the corresponding meeting last year.
The World Hurdle is due off at 3.20 with four-time winner Big Buck’s aiming to reclaim his title. He faces a tough rival in the unbeaten mare Annie Power who is stepping up to three miles for the first time here.
At Fishers Cross may find the going on the fast side but Zarkandar is likely to appreciate it. He is a worth a chance to overturn the early season form with Annie Power.
There are plenty with chances in the Byrne Group Plate at 4.00. Colour Squadron looked unlucky not to catch Johns Spirit in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and can gain his revenge.
Indian Castle and Cause Of Causes have both been declared for the closing Kim Muir Handicap Chase from a number of engagements this week. Cause Of Causes has the assistance of Nina Carberry and is just preferred.
Selections: 1.30 Oscar Whisky, 2.05 If In Doubt, 2.40 Benefficient, 3.20 Zarkandar, 4.00 Colour Squadron, 4.40 Cause Of Causes