Timeform provide their Placepot picks and bets for the opening day of Cheltenham's Showcase Meeting.
14:10 - EL BANDIT (1) sets the standard here on his win in the Grade 2 Persian War at Chepstow last time and should run well again for the champion trainer. That valuable race was likely to have been his main early season target, however, and it could be worth also including PICKAMIX (4) for Placepot purposes considering we have to get the winner here. Pickamix made a good start to life over hurdles at Uttoxeter earlier this month and is entitled to progress from that.
14:45 - MARRACUDJA (2) made a very good impression when winning over fences at the first time of asking at Newton Abbot last month, and is confidently selected to get the better of Baron Alco and Aristo du Plessis, who both face stiff tasks on their first starts in this sphere.
15:20 - This is competitive stuff. VALHALLA (4) didn't seem to see the trip out as well as the pair that beat him at Newton Abbot last time over an extended three-mile trip, but did go through the race like one who is still ahead of his mark before fading. He looks a big contender now dropped in trip. DADSINTROUBLE (15) represents a yard going great guns at present, and was doing all his best work at the finish at Newton Abbot when last seen in May. This stiffer track should play to his strengths and, still unexposed with just two starts in handicaps under his belt, he is also worth including.
15:55 - TIGER ROLL (3) is streets ahead of this field on ratings judged on his impressive win in the Munster National last time. He should win, but doesn't have the most solid of profiles overall, and it is therefore also worth including fellow Irish raider HERON HEIGHTS (2), who took his record to three from five over fences last time at Clonmel with a bit still up his sleeve.
16:30 - KHEZERABAD (7) was highly tried by Nicky Henderson last season, starting life in the Grade 2 Adonis at Kempton before being pitched into Grade 1 company at Aintree. This represents an easier task for him and he is expected to put in a much better performance here, with his experience expected to stand him in good stead in the context of this race.
17:05 - FINGERONTHESWITCH (8) is potentially very well treated from a BHA mark of 123 in this sphere based on his hurdling form (went close from 137 on his penultimate start last season in a valuable race at Haydock), and is expected to put his first two runs in this sphere over the summer well behind him now handicapping. CANAS TAOI (11) is a likeable sort who progressed well last season, winning four of his last five starts. He should run his race again (did well off the back of a break last season) and is worth including for the Placepot.
17:40 - A tricky conclusion. Ainsley probably hasn't shown his hand yet during his time with Gordon Elliott and is expected to run well, along with Wishfull Dreaming, who made a mockery of his opening mark at Chepstow last time and should have more to offer still.
Back Fingerontheswitch in the 17:00
14:10 - 1, 4
14:45 - 2
15:20 - 4, 15
15:55 - 2, 3
16:30 - 7
17:05 - 8, 11