Cheltenham Trials Day Preview

12:40 - Galahad Quest

Cheltenham's Trial Day gets underway with the JCB Triumph Juvenile Hurdle and in this Grade Two contest we fancy Galahad Quest for trainer Nick Williams.

This youngster has raced twice this season using the first as a race to find his feet at Warwick where he was less than impressive but next time out he finished a clear second behind a very useful horse at Taunton.

He was runner up to the Nicky Henderson trained Buzz who looks a very smart recruit for the yard but with that form heading into this race he has to be looked at.

13:15 - Gowiththeflow

The Class 2 Novices Handicap Chase looks to have an impressive field heading to post and Gowiththeflow for Ben Pauling looks to be a very nice price.

The seven year old has ran three times this season getting of the mark in the summer at Market Rasen before needing the run at Newbury on his return from a break.

He went to Kempton looking much more comfortable stepping back in trip and he went on to finish a nice second behind a proven winner which could see him improve again for that run.

13:50 - Highway One O One

The Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase looks a very competitive Grade Three event and the horse currently leading the market is the Chris Gordon trained Highway One O One.

This eight year old gelding has raced four times this season with the majority of them being to a very consistent standard with a second third an fourth in decent fielded events.

His latest run at Kempton was his best of the season when a good third in a Class 2 Handicap over three miles, pretty much staying every bit of the contest which makes him very appealing at this track.

14:25 - Santini

The feature contest on the Cheltenham Card on Saturday is the Grade Two Cotswalds Chase and some superb runners head to post.

Nicky Henderson's Santini is back on the big stage and this eight year old has been nurtured over the last few seasons and is being tuned up in the lead up to the festival.

He has previous at Cheltenham winning at the meeting back in 2018 in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and at both festivals since then has been a very unlucky loser in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle and RSA Chase last year.

He has only been seen once this season with at the start of the term he was a strong fancy for the Gold Cup but off the back of his seasonal bow he drifted in the market.

The eight year old went to Kempton in November for the Listed Intermediate Chase eventually doing enough to land the contest but made very hard work of it in a weak field of runners.

He should be much sharper, fitter and stronger after a small break and knowing he performs well at Prestbury Park it gives him a huge opportunity to enhance his Gold Cup credentials.

15:00 - King Roland

Another Grade Two follows and the Ballymore Novices Hurdle sees eight runners go to post and the one that takes the eye is the in form Harry Fry trained King Roland.

The gelding has raced five times in his career winning four of his events, with one coming in a point to point, two in bumpers and his latest on his second start over hurdles.

This season the youngster has been sent over timber and on his debut he finished a smart second at Newbury over two miles being beaten by an exciting recruit for Nicky Henderson.

He looked like he needed a step up in trip and he got that at Exeter benefiting for the extra few furlongs and easily saw off a field of 14.

Now stepping into his toughest contest yet he will need to have progressed for both his runs this season which he looks like he will have and being given another step up in trip makes him one to watch at Cheltenham on Saturday.

15:35 - Paisley Park

Paisley Park is back in action this weekend as he heads into the Cleeve Hurdle again before the festival and hopefully he can reproduce his heroics of last season with him already 11/8 to land the Grade One at Prestbury Park.

He came onto the scene last season at Aintree when he took a Class 2 Handicap over two and a half miles, from there it was unthinkable of what progression he could of actually produced but he stepped up in trip to three miles and took to it like a duck to water.

Arguably one of his greatest runs during the season was on his second start when he landed the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, somehow getting up late in the day to see off two other horses.

Ascot was next on the agenda in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle and this was the geldings biggest test to date and he did what he does best coming from off the pace and off the bridle early to steam up by the leaders late in the day and land the contest.

Paisley Park landing the Grade One was the yards first ever black type victory which was huge for Emma Lavelle as she is a fairly small yard compared to others in the sport and it was a huge occasion for connections also, with his owner Andrew Gemmell being blind.

Cheltenham was next up in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle with the overall goal being the Stayers Hurdle at the festival with this being seen as a prep run and he bolted up again, leaving his odds for the four-day meeting slashed massively.

March came around quickly and Paisley Park was being labelled one of the bankers of the week, which is unheard of in a big fielded race like the Stayers Hurdle but like he had done all season he hacked up and it turned out to be one of the fairy-tale moments of the 2019 Cheltenham festival.

Now a fan favourite, many punters were very apprehensive about where he would start off his campaign this season with the big aim again being to defend his Stayers Hurdle title.

He started this season in the same form as last term by extending his unbeaten run to six races after seeing off some top horses including Thistlecrack when landing the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

16:10 - Ainchea

The final runner of the afternoon is the Colin Tizzard trained Ainchea who if being on song has the form at Cheltenham to go well in this Class 2 event.

In January 2018 the gelding finished a superb second in the Listed Ballymore Novices hurdle on New Year's Day but since then has only been seen twice.

He fell in the February of that year and had some time off the track but his reappearance this year when clearly needing the run and should be much fitter and stronger to make a challenge at a track he likes.

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