Constitution Hill v State Man is going to be fantastic
Tahmuras may be underestimated in the Supreme
El Fabiolo can get the better of Jonbon
All eyes on Constitution Hill
I can't wait for Constitution Hill and State Man to lock horns in the 15:30 Champion Hurdle.
Constitution Hill has looked out of this world in all of his five races for Nicky Henderson.
He does it all effortlessly, without batting an eyelid, never winning by less than 12 lengths and barely coming out of second gear so far.
He looks so special in every aspect of his game, and there will be nobody cooler on the day than Nico (de Boinville), who never seems to let anything get to him.
But while nothing has been able to pressure Constitution Hill yet, so that's the big unknown. Maybe State Man can.
State Man has won all of his four Grade 1s since he impressed in the County Hurdle a year ago and he's beaten all of the best hurdlers around in Ireland this season. He's clearly their best and I'd love to see him put it to Constitution Hill.
It's going to be so interesting.
Two supreme athletes, two top jockeys and two top trainers going head-to-head on the first day of the Festival. It's what it's all about and it's going to be awesome. I think Constitution Hill will win, but I just want to see a good battle.
I can't see beyond those two. I like To Move It earned his place in the race when he beat me on Knappers Hill in the Kingwell at Wincanton last time, but I think State Man's stable-mate Vauban, who looked so good in last year's Triumph Hurdle is probably the best of the rest. He was a serious juvenile and he can chase them home.
Tahmuras holds every chance
We've got a really good 13:30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle to start the week off, and I'll be rooting for Paul's horse Tahmuras against Facile Vega, Marine Nationale and all of the other good novices.
I don't underestimate the strength of the leading Irish challengers, and I think Facile Vega can be excused what happened last time, but Tahmuras has done nothing wrong and I think he might have been underestimated, as he's still learning his job and has more to give.
You could see that from the way he was looking about when he won the Tolworth - he wasn't concentrating properly.
He's still acquiring the knowledge he needs and I think he's going to be a better horse in this deeper race.
The more pace there is the more he'll have to concentrate, and I think in a strongly-run race with targets to aim at he'll keep moving forward and keep responding.
We love him at home. He's a big horse and extremely strong, and after what he did at Sandown we know that he's going to stay. He'll come up that stiff hill, and he'll handle the ground.
El Fabiolo can land the Arkle
Bookmakers can't seem to split the two market principals in the 14:10 Arkle Novices' Chase, but I'm a big fan of El Fabiolo and I'm expecting him to win.
Jonbon had the better of it when they met at Aintree last April, but there was only a neck in it and that was over hurdles. Aintree and Cheltenham are like chalk and cheese, and El Fabiolo has always had chaser written all over him.
He's a massive, extremely powerful, individual, and he's come alive over fences, as he was always going to.
That was very strong form when he won at Leopardstown last time and he looks rock solid, whereas Jonbon is by Walk The Park, like Facile Vega, and while they can be extremely talented they can just have that little edge to them.
Here's hoping for Honeysuckle
The 16:10 Close Brothers' Mares Hurdle might just be the strongest mares only race ever run, with two past winners of the Champion Hurdle, Honeysuckle and Epatante, meeting last year's winner Marie's Rock and last year's mares' novice winner Love Envoi.
It's not necessarily a four-horse race either, as Brandy Love is a serious contender too and none of the nine runners are no hopers.
I'm a big fan of Honeysuckle and I'd love to see her add one more major trophy to the 16 straight wins she compiled before this season's defeats, but there will be younger legs snapping at her heels and so it's going to be tough for her. It's got the makings of a great race.
Pay close attention to Afadil
Finally I must put in a word for Afadil, each-way, in the 16:50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. He carries the Frodon colours of Mr Vogt, so I'll be shouting for him all the way, and I think we can forget his last run at Haydock as it came soon enough after his long trip to Musselburgh.
He's a strong, chunky four-year-old who will come up the hill, and if he can avoid traffic I think he'll give us a good run for our money at longish odds. Let's hope so.