Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott has five runners on the opening day of this year's Cheltenham Festival, including Apple's Jade in the Mares Hurdle...
"His second to Killultagh Vic in the Martin Pipe at the festival back in 2015 was a great run and he was still going well before falling two out in last year’s National Hunt chase."
- Gordon on Noble Endeavor
Cheltenham 13:30 - Labaik
This horse has some engine but as everyone knows, he is an absolute monkey at the starting tape.
It's frightening to think that he has raced six times for us, won twice, refused to race in three and although the form book doesn't say it, he all but refused last day in Naas before getting close to them at the finish. To say he is frustrating is an understatement because at home he doesn't show any of the antics he produces when at the races.
Ruby got a good tune out of him when winning the For Auction Novice Hurdle in Navan back in November over two miles and like that day he'll have my trusty lieutenant Ian Amond or 'Busty' as he is affectionately known down at the start with him. If he jumps off with the field and that's a big if, then he has a massive each way chance.
Cheltenham 14:50 - Clarcam
He ran well when fifth in the Galway Plate over 2m6f and we've kept him busy since. He will appreciate the step back in trip too, after not staying in the Thyestes at Gowran Park, and he will be ridden very patiently so don't expect to see him too soon.
Cheltenham 14:50 - Noble Endeavor
Gave us a day we will never forget when running out a convincing winner of the Paddy Power chase in Leopardstown at Christmas. He's been to two festivals with mixed results. His second to Killultagh Vic in the Martin Pipe at the festival back in 2015 was a great run and he was still going well before falling two out in last year's National Hunt chase.
It's a typically competitive Festival handicap but he'll love the ground and I'm expecting him to go close.
Cheltenham 16:10 - Apple's Jade
Even allowing for ratings I wasn't too despondent when she suffered defeat at the hands of Limini in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown last month, as Limini looks a very good mare and deserves her place at the top of the market here.
Having said that, that was Apples Jade's first race since she beat Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hattons Grace. Vroum Vroum Mag was having her first run of the season there and was giving us 4lbs so on the book we have it all to do with both the Mullins mares but Apples Jade is in great condition, will love the ground and the trip is close to her optimum. She has a big each-way chance.
Cheltenham 16:50 - Tiger Roll
A former Triumph Hurdle winner who ran well on the 'Old Course' when we travelled him over for a novice chase last October, finishing third to Heron Heights. The form of his Munster National win is decent given he beat Stellar Notion by seven lengths and gave him 3lbs.
He is a horse that always appreciates a bit of good ground and I'm hoping Cheltenham will once again bring out the best in him, he's a decent each way chance with Lisa O'Neill in the plate.
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