Three horses heading for Cheltenham… but can any of them take home the price money?

Nicky Henderson – good Cheltenham chances with L’Ami Serge?

As I keep saying (monotonous, isn’t it), all roads lead to Cheltenham at this time of year as far as the National Hunt season is concerned, and we did see a few possible winners at Prestbury Park appear at Sandown and Wincanton for starters. The glaringly obvious is often a good place to start and it was hard not to get over excited about Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge who ran away with the Tolworth Hurdle from Harry Fry’s Jolly’s Cracked It and with the runner up looking for a hat trick and his stable in such good nick, the form looks better than ever. Being the party pooper that I am though, I do feel I need to point out that the runner up is built like a chaser not a hurdler and may have simply been outpaced by his smaller speedier rival, leaving me nowhere near as convinced as most that the form is as good as many insist.


About now I have to admit to an interest in a syndicate run by the aforementioned Harry Fry, and we are all hoping that Blue Buttons can head off to Cheltenham on our behalf. Congratulations to young Gary Derwin who rode her perfectly on Saturday after walking the course, stealing all the better ground and seeing off all challengers for a length and three quarters success. Likely to be even better on a sounder surface (it was pretty heavy out there by race time), it looks as though the handicapper will have his say over her next target but if he uses the runner up as his yardstick then I doubt she goes up more than a kilo and a half as a worse case scenario.

A P McCoy – attracted the money on board Whatwillwecallher at Naas Sunday afternoon.


Lastly, I would never be stupid enough to ignore the Irish racing as they seem sure to take more than their share of the main events at Cheltenham, but with the unexpected defeat of Tell Us More we had a new potential star emerge over fences, all be it at the age of ten. Whatwillwecallher has had a strange career to put it politely, starting with a point to point win in 2010, three bumper wins, and most recently a maiden hurdle, though her career over the smaller obstacles was quickly cut short as she was sent over fences for the first time in public at Naas on Sunday afternoon. First time headgear and the booking of A P McCoy to ride meant she was sent off a fraction of odds on but she made no mistake and favourite backers were ready to collect a long way out as she hacked up pulling a cart, though if she owns any of the Cheltenham novices (my guess would be the RSA Chase), then I suspect she would be disproving just about every statistic on the record books.



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