Teahupoo - 15:30 Cheltenham
This is a competitive renewal of the Stayers' Hurdle but I think Teahupoo is the one that they all have to beat. He was very smart over two miles, but he has taken his form to a new level since moving up in trip, causing a shock when defeating Klassical Dream and Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace before proving his stamina for three miles when completing a simple task in the Galmoy Hurdle last month.
Both of those wins came on ground Timeform described as 'heavy' and all of his best form is on a similar surface, so the rain which arrived on Wednesday has only enhanced his chance. Teahupoo arrives totally unexposed at staying trips and the manner in which he moved clear with the minimum of fuss last time suggests he had plenty more left to offer. That wasn't the strongest race, but he did have a 9 lb penalty to shoulder, and Teahupoo surely has even more to offer at staying trips.
Maxxum - 14:10 Cheltenham
Maxxum has proved a revelation for Gordon Elliott this season, narrowly failing to land a gamble on his stable debut on good ground, but absolutely sluicing up on his next two starts at Navan and Leopardstown (both on soft) in the style of one miles ahead of his mark.
He was a short-priced favourite for this race before meeting with defeat in a big-field handicap at Leopardstown last month, but he was badly hampered on the home turn when making a move into contention, and it is probably best to put a line through that.
He reportedly suffered a graze during the race, too, and Maxxum remains more than fairly treated on this British mark and the rain which has fallen on Wednesday only enhances his chance further.
Magical Zoe - 16:50 Cheltenham
Luccia is a short price for this following two easy wins over hurdles so far but she hasn't beaten anything special and I'm willing to take her on.
A horse who has impressed me quite a lot is Magical Zoe, who won her sole start in bumpers for Barry Fitzgerald, and made an impressive start for this yard over hurdles when winning a maiden hurdle at Wexford. The bare form was nothing special but it was the style in which she got the job done, and she enhanced her reputation further when beating Nikini by a length in a Grade 3 at Downpatrick in November, again ridden with plenty of confidence and doing well to win given how far back she was asked to come from.
She has been given time between each of her races, so an absence since isn't a concern to me, and she looks a big price given the potential she brings.