I don’t have a ride in the opening JLT Novices’ Chase, but on paper it looks a battle between the English horses and with the way the ground is now, I’d definitely be in the Defi Du Seuil camp.

The softer the ground, the better his chance and even though Lostintranslation beat him at Cheltenham, I fancy him to back-up the form from Sandown.

They could have gone to the Arkle with him, but I think they’ve chosen the right race.


I ride Samburu Shujaa  and, although it’s a very competitive race, I think he’s got a very good chance.

He’s a horse that is improving and that’s something you look for in a race like this. He enjoys going left-handed and likes soft ground, so everything looks in his favour.

The way he won the last day, I thought there was more to come, so fingers crossed there is. I wouldn’t swap him for anything else in the race.


On last year’s Arkle, you’d think Footpad would have a leading chance, but he hasn’t quite shown the same form yet this season. Obviously Willie Mullins’ horses have started off the Festival in very good form, but Footpad’s form is a concern for me.

Monalee  looks to be running over the right trip here and he’d be the one for me. His form behind Presenting Percy in last year’s RSA looks very solid and I think he’s the one to beat.


I ride Keeper Hill in the Stayers’ Hurdle. He has been revitalised going back over hurdles.

He’s got a bit to find on ratings, but he’ll enjoy the conditions and stays very well. There’s a chance he could run into a place at a big price.

For me, Paisley Park is the one we all have to beat. He’s improved all season and his win in the Cleeve Hurdle was very impressive.

With Faugheen I think you’re hoping the old Faugheen comes back, but he’s 11 now and it’s a big ask to do it at that age.

At a bigger price, Kilbricken Storm could go well. He’s got the course form in the book having won last year’s Albert Bartlett.


No ride for me here and unsurprisingly, it looks a very open handicap.

I know the Skelton team are keen on Spiritofthegames and have had this race in mind for a while. In these handicaps, you are looking for novices who are unexposed and he fits the bill.

Janika is another who looks to have a strong chance, Daryl Jacob think he’s one of his best chances of the week.


The mares’ novice looks a very open contest and I’d have to be concerned about whether Epatante settles well enough. In a field as big as this on soft ground, you need a horse that will settle quickly and I’m not she does that.

I’ve been very impressed with Queenofhearts’  attitude and I think the track will suit her. She won well at Sandown the last day, so could go well at an each-way price.


The final race of the day, the Kim Muir, looks another very competitive contest. I thought Gordon Elliott’s Its All Guesswork  looked an ideal type for this. He looks a thorough stayer and Gordon rarely comes away from the big Festivals without a winner and he usually does well in these big handicaps.

Sky Pirate has been showing good form all year, so he’s another one who could go well.

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