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With less than a week to go until this year’s Cheltenham Festival, we are finalising our team and it looks like being very small this year with possibly just two runners.

Leaning towards Betway Champion Chase with Traffic Fluide

A lot obviously depends on the ground, but at this stage I am certainly leaning towards taking on Douvan ( ) in the Betway Champion Chase with Traffic Fluide.

He seems to be working really well and if the word ‘soft’ appears in the going description, as looks likely at this stage, that’s where he will go.

If the ground dries out quickly, we do have the option of stepping him up in trip for the Ryanair Chase, but the Champion remains the preferred option.

The two quick runs he had last month have definitely helped with his fitness, as he seems to be working a lot better now.

On face value, those runs were disappointing, but it was important to get him back on the track.

Jamie says that he felt very flat at Ascot last time and that he would have been much closer if he hadn’t run at Newbury the week before.

I’ve always held Traffic Fluide in the highest regard and I’m delighted with the way he is at the moment.

No Cheltenham for Sire De Grugy

Sire De Grugy holds entries at Cheltenham for both the Champion Chase and the Grand Annual, but he won’t be taking up either of those engagements.

He hasn’t been himself really since unseating at Kempton over Christmas and his work has been disappointing.

There is no point heading to Cheltenham when you are not on your A Game and for that reason we are going to give this year’s Festival a miss with him.

I certainly won’t be rushing him back as he owes us nothing at this stage of his career.

Hopefully we can get him back to his best by the time the Celebration Chase at Sandown comes around, so that gives him plenty of time.

Baron Alco heads to the Plate

I’m planning on sending Baron Alco to the Plate next Thursday and I couldn’t be happier with him.

He has run well at Cheltenham in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.

As I mentioned above, there is every chance that he may be my only other runner at the meeting.

There is a chance that East Indies could run in the Fred Winter, but he does need a fare few to come out ahead of him to get a run.