Cheltenham Festival Day 1: Yanworth set to shine in Champion Hurdle
Yanworth can provide Alan King with a second win in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
He has followed a tried and tested route to the big race, having run in the Neptune as a novice last season, when beaten only by Yorkhill.
That was at a time when King’s horses were running poorly and Yanworth was the only one to perform with any real credit all week.
That remains Yanworth’s only defeat over timber and with the capable Mark Walsh in the saddle, he can finally show just what he is made of.
Altior should already have won the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy by then.
Winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago, he arrives unbeaten over fences with many already crying out for him to take on Douvan in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
That can wait for another day, and barring a fall it is impossible to see him being beaten given what he did to Fox Norton in the Game Spirit at Newbury.
At bigger prices, Cloudy Dream might finally get the strong pace he craves over fences and the Scottish Champion Hurdle winner could sneak into the frame for Malcolm Jefferson.
Ballyandy has plenty of experience for a horse tackling the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he can follow up his victory in the Champion B umper from 12 months ago.
Having failed to win any of his first three outings over timber he was an extremely well-handicapped horse in the Betfair Hurdle.
It was no surprise the bigger field and end-to-end gallop brought out the best in him. Ballyandy has already had 10 races compared to Melon’s one and that could prove crucial in a driving finish. With Neon Wolf and Moon Racer running elsewhere during the week, Ballyandy should take all the beating.
Apple’s Jade can get the better of Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.
While she was no match for Limini last time out, Gordon Elliott might just have taken it easy on her with an eye on this race.