16.40 Cheltenham: Henderson’s Dawalan hot stuff in Fred Winter
Dawalan looks a worthy favourite to give trainer Nicky Henderson his second winner in the Fred Winter Hurdle.
The Lambourn handler saddled Une Artiste to triumph in 2012 and Dawalan look to have the right profile to follow in that one’s footsteps.
The four-year-old shaped with bags of promise when fourth of nine to Calipto on his hurdling debut at Newbury and has since scored in good style in two contests at the same venue.
On each of those occasions he jumped and travelled well before finding plenty when asked at the business end of affairs.
His opening handicap mark of 133 could well be on the lenient side given that Calipto is now officially rated 149 and with Barry Geraghty in the saddle, he looks the one they all have to beat.
Another trainer to have won the Fred Winter is Gordon Elliott, whose Flaxen Flare ran out the easy winner 12 months ago.
He is represented in this year’s renewal by Arzembouy Premier and Clarcam, and the former looks the most interesting.
The French-trained gelding disappointed on his debut for Elliott when trailing in a well-beaten fourth of five to Guitar Pete at Leopardstown, but then left that run well behind last time out when finishing third to Abyssial at Gowran Park.
He kept on well that day after a mistake at the last to be beaten five lengths, and is now set to meet the runner-up Noble Inn on 4lb better terms.
If he can build on that run then he is unlikely to be far way.
Of those at bigger prices, Cadoudoff looks a lively outsider.
The four-year-old is also an ex-French performer, who ran really when on his debut in this country when chasing home Royal Irish Hussar at Wetherby.
He then wasn’t at his best when well beaten at this track, but quickly bounced back when staying on nicely to be beaten five lengths by Baradari at Newbury last time out.
The son of Davidoff is now set to meet that rival on 10lb better terms and that may well enable home to turn the tables. He has form in the book which suggest he is no forlorn hope in this.