TC backs Moka and Rock at Cheltenham
Stage Star is fresh and ready says Paul Nicholls
Daryl and Kev also have tips at Cheltenham
"Burdett Road - 9/43.25 on the Betfair Sportsbook - needs to learn to settle in his races. Still, he ran out a very convincing winner on his hurdle debut at Huntingdon despite running freely, and the fact that he could best everything on the card in the time figure department marked him down as a useful horse.
"The form, as mentioned in the Cheltenham Focus column, is streets away from any Grade 1 contest he may tackle down the line, but this race lacks depth, and he was the best of these on the flat. He will have stiffer tasks ahead, but he made a bright start at Huntingdon, and it's wise not to knock him just yet.
"Milan Tino automatically heads the market, having run behind Jigme in France. Still, it's hard to weigh up that form, considering the same crop of horses continuously beat each other. I'd happily look over that Jigme French form on a time-figure basis and hope the James Owen runner can come out on top today.
"Back the selection at 9/43.25 or bigger."
"He's a fun horse who came good at Wincanton in February against four opponents and has been ready to run for a while. But he really needs drier ground and has missed some nice opportunities lately because of all the rain so I will be monitoring conditions and could withdraw him if the going deteriorates.
"Switch Hitter is not the best handicapped of horses now and looks to have a tough enough task even with Natalie Parker claiming a useful 3lbs."
"The likely setup of this race will allow Kielan Woods to be as patient as he likes on Harper's Brook. It won't be an easy task, but the pain of Sandown will make him brave as the very last thing he'll want is to hit the front too soon on him again. We have to take his fitness on trust, but his record when fresh is solid and Pauling has his team in good order.
"Harper's Brook was raised 2lb for his run at Sandown and finds himself a further 2lb out of the handicap here, but that isn't something I'll be worrying about. If the race pans out well for him, the extra weight is unlikely to be a difference maker and the fact he is out of the handicap is most likely adding a couple of points to his price.
"It might not be the easiest of watches, but hopefully Harper's Brook can swoop late and fast to conquer the Paddy Power Gold Cup."
"He is in top order as he returns to the scene of his superb success in the Turners at the a festival in March. You can put a line through his last start at Aintree which was one race too many after a busy campaign. The Paddy Power has been the target for him since the summer and there are plenty of positives as he is brilliant fresh, having won first time out for the last three seasons.
"He also likes racing left-handed, will not mind how soft the ground gets and we know he handles Cheltenham. Yes, he does have a lot of weight because he is rated on what he achieved last year but it helps that the top one runs which means Stage Star is on a nice racing weight of 11st 7lbs."
"The reason why I am going win-only myself is that the horse is not the most fluent of hurdlers. He fell at the second when I had a good go on him for the Pertemps (he went off 16/1 off a 2lb higher mark than this) and errors at the final two obstacles probably cost him victory at Exeter last month. Particularly that mistake two out.
"So I am not bothered by a 1lb rise for his third there and, aside the Pertemps fall, he has run two good races at this course.
"He finished second in the Triumph Hurdle trial here in January 2022 and shaped very well over an inadequate 2m4f here back in January.
"If he puts it all together, then I am sure he can win off this mark, and surely as a 5yo having just his 12th start better times lay ahead."
"I am also going to take a chance with Rock My Way win-only at 20/121.00 with the Sportsbook, or 21.020/1 or bigger on the Exchange, in the 2m5f handicap hurdle at 15:30.
"I appreciate he has run like a drain since winning over a Grade 2 over an extended 2m4f here in January but two of those efforts came over 3m and he was probably done for the season when performing pretty dismally here in April.
"Although he is a winning pointer, the evidence is pointing to him not being best suited to 3m, so down to a mark of 133 and back over the trip which he won here in January (and previously also finished second to Weveallbeencaught at 66/167.00 on New Year's Day) I am going to give him a spin at the price.
"Hopefully, the two Irish horses let him have his own way out in front, and he can stay there, not that he needs to lead."
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