New Betfair Ambassador Joseph O'Brien has five chances on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and here he gives the lowdown on them all...
"This will probably be softest ground he has got over fences so far and I think it will be a help to him. The hope would be he can get into the mix and run a good race."
Rain welcome for impressive Fakir
Supreme Novices Hurdle 13:30 - Fakir D'oudairies
I'm very happy with how Fakir D'oudairies is going at home. We were hopeful he would win the last day at Cheltenham, but he did surprise us with how well he won. He was impressive on the day. He's a four-year-old taking on older horses, but he has more experience over jumps than plenty of these and with him receiving an 8lb allowance, it made sense to give it a go. The rain that has fallen will suit him well and if any more falls, we won't be worried. JJ Slevin keeps the ride and he knows him very well, so hopefully he'll give a very good account of himself and get the week off to a good start.
Us and Them has the form to run well
Racing Post Arkle Chase 14:10 - Us And Them
Us And Them has been very good all season and I'm very happy with how he's been at home since his last run. I think he has stepped up a bit in his last two starts after we put the tongue tie on him. It's a race that looks wide open and he has the form in the book to run well in it. This will probably be softest ground he has got over fences so far and I think it will be a help to him. The hope would be he can get into the mix and run a good race.
Slowmotion can run well despite big price
Champion Hurdle 16:10 - Slowmotion
Slowmotion (pictured) has a bit to find based on her last run, but I thought she shaped with promise and I think she has come forward from it. The softer ground won't inconvenience her and while she'll be a big price, it wouldn't be a huge surprise if she ran a good race.
Tower Bridge an each-way chance
National Hunt Chase 16:50 - Tower Bridge and Shady Operator
Tower Bridge was quite raw in his first two starts over fences, but he jumped better and showed more promise at Gowran Park last time. This will be his first run in a handicap, but if he can build on that last run he might have an each-way chance. We have decided to put cheekpieces on him for the first time and hopefully they will help draw some improvement out of him.
Shady Operator was a bit disappointing at Naas last time, but the hope is that he can bounce back from that. I think the ground will suit him. Having his first run in a handicap at the likes of the Cheltenham Festival is a big ask, but hopefully he'll cope with it. He's in good shape at home since his last run.