Coral go best price on three Cheltenham Festival fancies
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Vautour (10/3)
Regularly one of the most competitive races of the meeting, the Supreme places an emphasis on speed and sound jumping ability.
With that in mind, the current second favourite Vautour looks the ideal type to thrive at Prestbury Park and should get the Irish challenge off to a flying start.
Since arriving to the Emerald Isle from France, this five year-old has claimed three victories and is unbeaten over hurdles. Winning at Navan, Punchestown and Leopardstown, Vautour has shown great versatility and natural hurdling ability.
His latest performance in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle was by far his most impressive. He took up the running and made all to comfortably account for The Tullow Tank, a dual Grade 1 winner himself.
He arguably boasts the best form on offer from both England and across the Irish Sea and his potent mixture of speed and stamina should provide him with the ideal attributes to succeed.
World Hurdle – Annie Power (15/8)
Long touted by both her trainer and connections as a potential superstar, Annie Power has followed up her impressive novice campaign with a trio of facile victories in England this season.
Beating the multiple Graded race winner – Zarkander – on two occasions, at two different tracks, she looks to be the odds on one to beat in the World Hurdle.
Her victory over 2m5f at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day was particularly eye-catching.
The way in which she travelled and then powered to victory in dire conditions (despite not jumping the last fluently) was mightily impressive.
Despite the question marks over her ability to stay 3m, I’m confident that the extra distance coupled with a truly run race, will bring our further improvement.
When you consider the added bonus of a hefty 7lb mares’ allowance, not only is she an appealing favourite but she also becomes a possible banker of the meeting.
Gold Cup – Silviniaco Conti (3/1)
Silviniaco Conti, this year’s emphatic winner of the King George VI Chase, returns to Prestbury Park with the aim of making amends for his fall three out in last year’s blue riband event.
Arguably travelling the strongest of all the runners, an uncharacteristic jumping error (first time the horse failed to complete) at a crucial stage in the race prematurely ended his charge to the line.
Whether or not he would have beaten the eventual winner – Bobs Worth – is uncertain but what is for certain is that of the two, Silviniaco Conti has shown the best form this season (allotted an RPR of 179 compared to 163 for Bobs Worth after their last starts).
No horse has managed to successfully regain their Gold Cup crown since Best Mate in 2003 and 2004 and with the stronger form of the pair, Silviniaco Conti looks likely to continue the poor record for returning Gold Cup winners.