It’s regarded as the greatest show on Turf and to mark the start of Cheltenham 2016, we will run a column in the Lynn News today and on Friday, writes Greg Plummer.
There are already suggestions that the festival should be renamed The Willie Mullins Festival and there’s no doubting that the Irish trainer has a strong hand going into the four-day spectacular.
The likes of Min, Douvan, Un De Sceaux, Vroum Vroum Mag and Annie Power are all expected to make it another benefit gig for the incomparable Mullins and his happy band. Mullins trains no fewer than 11 of the current favourites for non-handicaps and is represented by Annie Power and Nicholas Canyon in today’s Champion Hurdle.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that Peace And Co was one of the best juvenile hurdlers during his four wins last season and at a double-figure price he provides the value in today’s big race.
The showpiece on Wednesday is undoubtedly the Queen Mother Champion Chase, where Un De Sceaux is the hot pot for Mullins. But don’t rule out a bold showing by the Nicky Henderson trained Sprinter Sacre, who has been there and done it.
On Thursday, The World Hurdle takes centre stage as the best three-mile hurdlers line up for a thorough test of stamina and jumping accuracy. Thistlecrack should take all the beating, but do not be surprised to see Cole Harden give Colin Tizzard’s strong favourite the most to do.
On Friday we will look at the final day of the festival action at Prestbury Park, which coincides with the latest race meeting down the road at Fakenham.
Champion Hurdle: Peace and Co. Queen Mother Champion Chase: Sprinter Sacre. World Hurdle: Cole Harden.
Outsiders worth a nibble
Arkle Challenge Trophy: Garde La Victorie. Neptune Novices: Long Dog. Ryanair Chase: Josses Hill.