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"The ground will be perfect for him, a mark of 147 looks very workable for this lightly-raced performer."
Tony Calvin on Happygolucky
We've got tips from Tony Calvin & Kevin Blake, exclusive views on runners from Paul Nicholls, insight from Timeform and plenty more. Here are the highlights
Metier took his tally to three from three over hurdles with a smart performance in the Tolworth at Sandown in January, landing a first Grade 1 with plenty in hand, and he could be worth siding with at the current prices.
Shishkin is one of the star attractions on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, with the Nicky Henderson-trained horse is expected to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Arkle Chase.
Shishkin has conquered all before him on his three starts over fences this term and remains with the potential for better still. He is impossible to oppose in this race.
Happygolucky, Aye Right and One For The Team are the trio in the question, and the first-named holds outstanding claims. We haven't seen him since he won here in December but that is no problem. Connections put him away with this race in mind afterwards, and they know they have a horse who excels when fresh.
He won first time up in 2019 and 2020 and he finished fourth in the Martin Pipe here last season after a three-month break.
The ground will be perfect for him, a mark of 147 looks very workable for this lightly-raced performer.
Milan Native underwent a breathing operation after his most recent run at Leopardstown' Christmas meeting and one can be sure that his connections have been aiming to get him back to the Cheltenham Festival in top form.
He is rated 8lb higher than he was at the meeting last season, but that appeals as being workable. Conditions will suit and with the Betfair Sportsbook paying five places on the race, he looks to be an excellent each-way bet at 9/1.
Winner of the Mares' Hurdle at last year's Festival, Honeysuckle has taken her form up another notch this season, making a winning return in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, before taking her unbeaten record to 10 from 10 in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month, winning with plenty to spare.
Concertista has a cracking record at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing second in the Dawn Run on what was her first start over hurdles in 2019, before going one better in the same race last year, showing much improved form to run right away with the race.
She has continued her progression this term, landing a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse on her return before producing a career best to easily land a Grade 3 at Leopardstown in December, and she looks the clear one to beat in this race.
While the Willie Mullins-trained Saint Sam looks to have excellent claims, I have narrowly come down on the side of the Joseph O'Brien-trained Busselton.
The combination of a stronger pace, a stiffer test of stamina and the addition of first-time cheekpieces sharpening him up in the middle part of the race all promise to bring about a career-best effort from him. The handicapper hasn't been hard on him and with the Betfair Sportsbook paying six places, he looks to be an excellent each-way bet at 8/1.
I spent a long time on the phone on Saturday night with his owner Malcom Denmark weighing up all the options before we decided to go for the NH Chase rather than the Brown Advisory a day later.
Next Destination continues to progress, jumps soundly and will be galloping on strongly up the hill. Solid chance.
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