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Racing Rolls back into Cheltenham

On Friday and Saturday the International festival rolls into town as Prestbury Park will once again be at the centre of the National Hunt Racing world. The highlight of this weekend’s racing is Saturdays Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, but the supporting card across both days is full of big names. Here are my three horse you should be following.

Lalor (12) – Trained by Richard Woollacott and ridden by Daryl Jacob.
Richard Woollacott’s charge has been in fantastic form in recent times for the relatively unknown trainer. Winning the bumper at the Aintree festival in April, Lalor beat multiple rivals that he will be meeting again on Friday including the very promising Western Ryder. Lalor has been running in some very hot races since the start of the season and hasn’t been disgraced. He looked every inch the winner in a recent contest at Ascot, when a blunder at the second last checked his momentum and he finished third behind the promising Mr One More.
A very brave horse, who will be suited by the stiff test of Cheltenham, Lalor should go off at a decent price and give punters a run for their money. The question mark may well be that the ground comes up a little on the soft side and it will be interesting to see how this young horse copes on it’s first visit to National Hunt Racing’s head quarters.

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Catesby Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3yo+ 0-140) 1:20pm 15th December 2017.
Kayf Grace (11) – Trained by Nicky Henderson and Ridden by Nico De Boinville.
Kayf Grace is a very exciting prospect from Nicky Henderson’s yard. A horse who excelled in bumpers two seasons ago, winning the champion bumper at Aintree, before making a very promising start over hurdles at the beginning of last year until her season was prematurely cut short due to an injury. Her return to the racecourse last month was underwhelming to say the least, she was comfortably beaten at Ascot in the same race that Lalor finished third.
However, she can be forgiven the poor run following nearly a years absence it is wholly understandable that she needed the run and can bounce back stronger year. Nicky Henderson is a very shrewd trainer and he would not have Kayf Grace entered here if he didn’t think she was up too running a massive race in this hot encounter. If she can return to her old form, there is no telling just how good she could be.

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Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+) 1:55pm 16th December 2017.
Kings Odyssey (26) – Trained by Evan Williams
With the final declaration stage still to come Evan Williams’ charge will need a few horses to drop out to get in at the bottom of the handicap, but with several above him looking unlikely to run, he could slip in with a rock bottom weight. A horse that has thrived around this stiff track before, his best run coming with a course win year last season, there is no reason why he can’t run a big race given the chance.
A dower stayer and a horse that will cope with all grounds, he could be right in the thick of it coming over the last. His price has been nibbled from 20/1 into 16/1 over the weekend, perhaps a sign that will make the cut and if he does he could be a fantastic each way bet for punters.

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As always it should be a fantastic weekend’s racing at Cheltenham with big crowds expected. This is a wonderful way to kick off the festivities, wrap up warm and get yourselves to Prestbury Park for all the excitement of a winters day at the races.

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