The Battle At Cheltenham

Cheltenham first off at 14h05

Saturday is the final opportunity to see many of the sports main attractions do battle at Cheltenham before the Festival.

Perfect good to soft ground is predicted for the eight-race programme headed by a Group 1 and four Group 2’s.

Cheltenham Racecourse

The highlight is the re-routed Gr1 Clarence House Chase (16h25) run over an extended 2-miles. Willie Mullins did not reaccept with his star El Fabiolo, instead aiming him at the Dublin Festival, and that leaves this feature at the mercy of the Nicky Henderson trained Jonbon.

The John McManus owned star is seven from eight chasing and has 8lbs in hand over the next best Editeur Du Gite on official ratings. A winner at the course, Jonbon should take this on his way to the Champion Chase at the Festival.

Willie Mullins raids and his champion juvenile from last season, the mare Lossiemouth takes her place in the Gr2 Unibet Hurdle (17h00). Ran over 2-miles and a furlong she takes on four quality rivals including top-weight Rubaud and Love Envoi from the in-form Harry Fry stable.

Love Envoi, another mare, and Lossiemouth are both course and distance winners and receive weight from the balance of the field. They should fight it out, but Lossiemouth has more scope to improve and should get the job done.

The first race of the day is the Gr2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (14h05) over an extended 2-miles.

A field of seven face the starter and the exciting pair of Burdett Road and Sir Gino look a cut above the remainder.

Both are unbeaten and have been highly impressive each winning two races. Preference is for the Nicky Henderson trained Sir Gino who created a huge impression last time out at Kempton over Christmas.

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