A busy day for Joseph O'Brien who has eight runners on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, and here the Betfair Ambassador speaks exclusively about them all...
"...he'll need to jump better if he's to hold his position. If he can do that and is within striking distance with a couple to jump, hopefully he'll be good enough to run well.
- Joseph O'Brien on Front View
Both have good form and can run well
13:30 - A Wave Of The Sea and Cerberus
A Wave Of The Sea is a horse we've always thought could be a smart juvenile hurdler. It was great to see him win a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time, though you have to acknowledge the fall of Aspire Tower and Cerberus pulling himself up in front. He looked well suited by the quieter ride he got that day and his jumping was better too. Any drying in the ground would be a help to him and stamina is his forte. I'd be hopeful he can run well.
Cerberus has really come alive since being sent hurdling. He looked to be gifted a Grade 1 at Leopardstown when left in front by the fall of Aspire Tower last time, but he pulled himself up in front and was nailed close home. That was a surprise to all of us, he's never done anything like that before. He is a particularly good jumper and that will be an asset for him here. His form puts him up amongst the better Irish juveniles, so hopefully he'll run a solid race.
Ran well on handicap debut and has place claims
14:10 - Embittered
Embittered has form that ties in with some of the best novice hurdlers around and you'd have to be very happy with his handicap debut at the Dublin Racing Festival last time. Considering his lack of experience, he coped well with being in heavy traffic and would have finished closer but for getting checked on the run to the final flight. He should improve from that and has an each-way chance in this.
Open to improvement and has a fair chance
14:50 - Sempo
We decided to run Sempo in this rather than in the Coral Cup on Wednesday as we feel decent ground is important to him and he seemed likely to get more suitable ground here than earlier in the week. His bumper form reads very well and he made it third-time lucky over hurdles in a maiden at Thurles last month. He looks to stay well and while this race can be a real slog, I think he can cope with that. He is open to improvement and has a fair chance.
Recent form a concern
16:50 - Us And Them
Us And Them was great last season and made a good return to action at Gowran Park back in October, but his three runs since have been very disappointing. The hope is that better ground will bring him back to life in this, but it would be hard to confident in him doing so given his recent form.
Front View the pick of my trio but this is tough
17:30 - Front View, Assemble and Anything Will Do
Front View is a horse we've always liked and he has improved with each of his three runs over hurdles. He was unlucky not to finish closer in a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Thurles last time, as he was squeezed out early, then checked before the final flight where he made a mistake. You'd hope that he'll be capable of better, but this is a tough ask for a horse having just his fourth run over hurdles and he'll need to jump better if he's to hold his position. If he can do that and is within striking distance with a couple to jump, hopefully he'll be good enough to run well.
Assemble has a similar profile to Front View and finished just behind him at Thurles last time. Inexperience is also a question mark for him and he'll also want to jump a little bit sharper than he has thus far. Regardless of how he fares, this will be a good experience for him with a view to his novice chasing campaign next season, as that is what we are really looking forward to with him.
Anything Will Do has been great this season, winning four times already. He has seemed a bit outclassed in his last two starts and this is probably a tough ask for him, but he's earned a shot at a race like this.