Joseph O'Brien has four runners on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, and with three entered in the Challenge Cup, he's confident of a famous Festival win...
Third to Appreciate It bodes well
Keskonrisk has pleased us with his progression so far this season. He got himself out of trouble to make a winning hurdling debut at Fairyhouse in November and we threw him into the deep end in Grade 1 novice hurdle company at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting after that.
Considering how much of a step up in class that was for him, we were very happy with his effort in finishing third to Appreciate It. We had a good think about which race to send him to at this meeting and we opted to go up in trip for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.
He isn't a flashy workhorse at home, so it's hard to know where the ceiling of his improvement will be, but there should be more to come from him. This looks a very good renewal of this race, but hopefully he will be up to competing.
Our trio gunning for glory
This looks to be one of our best chances of the week of having a winner as we have three live contenders. Though, this race is so chaotic that dreams can end very quickly in it, so having a few contenders for it is a help.
Embittered ran very well in the County Hurdle at this meeting and plenty seemed to have latched onto him on the basis of that. He has some very good form in the book over fences and shaped better than the result on his penultimate start at Leopardstown as he was badly hampered when making a move to challenge.
A career-best effort will be needed for him to go close, but he produced one of those the last time he was here, so hopefully he can do so again.
Entoucas is another that has been running well without winning over fences this season, with his latest effort in the Matheson Handicap Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival being of particular note.
He jumped better than he had in his previous couple of starts and having raced up with the pace all the way, he only gave best on the run-in. Those that dominated the finish came from further back than him, so we felt he was value for better than the bare result.
The sort of test this race presents should suit him and I'd be hopeful that he can go well.
Us And Them comes into this with a more exposed profile than the other two, but his credentials should be clear for all to see with him having finished third in this race last year.
Despite four below-form runs since then, the handicapper hasn't given him much relief and he is only 1lb lower than last year.
However, his recent work has been good, so we are hopeful that he might be able to return to that sort of form back in familiar surroundings.
Get a free £5 multiples bet for Cheltenham!
Stake £20 on multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.