We have some absolutely brilliant racing on offer this Saturday, with a fair few Graded contests coming from across the UK and Ireland.
And here are three horses from three Grade 2 contests at Cheltenham and Navan to consider as singles or to combine into a a multiple bet if you’re that way inclined.
12.35 Cheltenham - JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)
On paper this does look to be a little cracker of a race, and with a short-priced French horse coming over in the famous JP McManus colours, we can imagine he will get all the support.
However that horse is yet to win, and I am siding with a Royal Ascot performer, and a winner of his first Hurdle contest just 13 days ago.
James Owen is a trainer to keep an eye on going forward, and the Newmarket-based former Arabian trainer does have some nice recruits for his yard for the season ahead, none more so than Burdett Road.
A winner at Royal Ascot in June, he made it the perfect start to life over hurdles when landing the odds in a juvenile contest at Huntingdon just 13 days ago, and although he might have beaten trees, he beat them with precision and ease.
Sent off well odds-on, he duly obliged that market support by putting in an awesome performance, taking a keen hold throughout, but jumping well and pulling clear in the closing stages. Clearly the early race keenness didn't have an effect on him, as he galloped right through the line.
Now the one telling thing that we need to take out of the race was how happy Harry Cobden was with the horse when jumping off, stating he is a real Triumph Hurdle contender and that he gave him a great feel all the way around.
Bearing in mind the calibre of horses Harry rides on a day-to-day basis at Paul Nicholls' yard, you would have to take those remarks quite seriously. To be a serious Triumph Hurdle contender, he would have to win this nicely, and he could easily do so, as he looked a very nice prospect for hurdles when winning with ease last time out.
- Suggested bet - Burdett Road (9/4)
2.05 Navan - Railway Bar Lismullen Hurdle (Grade 2)
The first of two Grade 2's at Navan on Saturday, this one is for the staying hurdlers, and although run over two and a half miles, it is very much a preparation race for long-distance contests ahead, not least the stayers’ hurdle at the Festival in March.
We even have last year's Cheltenham and Aintree Festival staying hurdler Sire Du Berlais in here, and given his price and early-season form, it would be guessed that he needs a prep run or two before firing when it matters later on in the season.
It will probably pay to go with race fitness here, and given the fact Zanahiyr has already had his seasonal pipe-opener just 39 days ago, he is the safest one to side with in this contest.
A very consistent performer, who tends to operate anywhere from two to three miles (just the one run so far at that trip where he pulled up) he doesn't fit the mould of a staying hurdler, unlike most of these in the field, but he can operate at a decent level at this intermediate trip.
The Gordon Elliott charge ran at all the big festivals last season, including placed efforts in the Champion Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle, which is a decent level of form compared to a few here.
His last win (before his re-appearance last time) was back in a Grade 2 in October 2021, and I just feel he is aimed at these winnable early-season races before going on to contest in all the Grade 1 2m to 2m-4f contests.
He has plenty of speed, the race fitness to boot after a decent enough win at Punchestown on the 10th of October, and therefore given the fact he has won at Grade 2 level in the past. It might pay to side with him again here today, as the others will look to bigger and better things as the season progresses.
- Suggested bet - Zanahiyr (13/8)
2.40 Navan - Bar One Racing Fortria Chase (Grade 2)
Given that Captain Guinness won this contest fresh last season, and is the highest rated in the field, one would think it would pay to side with him here.
However, he has to give a lot of weight to Dysart Dynamo who isn't too far away in the ratings, and who is a very classy chaser in his own right, who like Captain Guinness can go very well fresh.
Willie Mullins’ horses currently operate at a 30% win rate for the last 14 days, which should come as no surprise as the yard’s horses are always there or thereabouts.
His main market runner here has to overcome a 205-day break, although that shouldn't be an issue for him, as he overcame a 245-day break to win on seasonal re-appearance last season, albeit in a beginners’ chase that he was more than entitled to win.
A novice chaser last season, although winless after that seasonal debut, Dysart Dynamo ran well in some very good contests, including a commendable fourth in the Irish Arkle behind El Fabiolo.
He proceeded to fall in the Arkle at Cheltenham in March, something that he also did in the Supreme the year before, suggesting Cheltenham might not be for him this season.
However he then showed next time out that the fall didn't affect him in any way at all when entered into the Grade 1 novices chase at Punchestown to end the season
He did have to settle for the runner-up spot 11 lengths adrift of El Fabiolo once again, but he did finish a further six lengths clear of Indiana Jones who has since come fourth in a Grade 2 at Exeter.
Dysart Dynamo now has to take on a few seasoned chasers in this contest, and his exuberant way of racing can cause the odd jumping problem.
However, should he get an easy lead, he could lead them a merry dance around here and win this race comfortably, although everything needs to go his way in the jumping department for that to happen.
He could improve even more this season, and given his trainer, it should come as no surprise should Dysart Dynamo be a real nice two-mile chaser this season.
The going might be a slight issue come Saturday, as Willie Mullins stated in his stable tour via Racing TV he would probably need better ground.
However, this is his main starting point target and he does have winning form on soft ground, so connections might take a chance here before trying their horse in a few Grade 1 contests as the season goes on.
- Suggested bet - Dysart Dynamo (6/4)
Treble combined odds: 20/1
- Burdett Road
- Dysart Dynamo
All prices provided by Planet Sport Bet were correct at the time of writing but could be subject to change
Race preview provided by @ Jake Russell