Cheltenham Festival: The Ultimate Guide - 2021-03-05


‘French Aseel looked mighty on his hurdling debut and is worth chancing to down the favourite’


JOSH DOWN 1. Zanahiyr 2. French Aseel 3. Tritonic Zanahiyr has looked the part so far this season, destroying a good field at Fairyhouse before defying a penalty over Christmas. French Aseel was mustard at the same Christmas meeting but hasn’t been seen since being transferred to Willie Mullins’ yard and he remains an unknown quantity. Adagio’s form is the best of the British so far but Alan King’s Tritonic bolted up at Kempton and will relish the stiff uphill finish. SAM HARDY 1. French Aseel 2. Quilixios 3. Zanahiyr French Aseel looked an exciting prospect when making his hurdles debut, so much so the owners of Al Boum Photo and Shishkin have since purchased the gelding and sent him to Willie Mullins. If he has improved again under the tutelage of the Irish champion then I believe he will beat the two market leaders, Zanahiyr and Quilixios. Of the pair, I fear Quilixios the most, with his owners Cheveley Park Stud having had plenty of success with runners at the festival. JACK HAYNES 1. Quilixios 2. Zanahiyr 3. Tritonic I fancy Quilixios to get the better of Zanahiyr. The Cheveley Park Stud-owned juvenile looks a particularly straightforward ride – he jumps well, travels smoothly and should be suited by the track. The top-level Spring Juvenile Hurdle winner looks a solid alternative to the favourite. Tritonic has plenty of class and looked good when landing the Adonis at Kempton. He is the best of the British and should figure. BEN HUTTON 1. Quilixios 2. Tritonic 3. Zanahiyr With Paul Nicholls’ Monmiral set to go to Aintree, preference is for the Cheveley Park Stud-owned Quilixios, who made it four wins from four starts when landing the Spring Juvenile Hurdle with plenty in hand at Leopardstown. He has lots more left in the tank. Another major player is Zanahiyr, but the main threat could come from Alan King’s smart Flat performer Tritonic. TOM PARK 1. Tritonic 2. Zanahiyr 3. Adagio I fall into the trap of backing the Adonis winner seemingly every year, but this time I’ve never been more confident as I’m pretty sure what we witnessed at Kempton was something special. So special in fact that I’d be surprised if Tritonic doesn’t go on to be a huge player in next year’s Champion Hurdle. A classy horse on the level, Tritonic jumps well but has the engine of a Flat horse and that is a potent combination. He has speed and stays, and I expect him to win well. MADDY PLAYLE 1. French Aseel 2. Zanahiyr 3. Adagio Zanahiyr has looked the best of a strong four-year-old division this season but I’m not sure he is home and hosed for this race. French Aseel looked mighty on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown and is worth chancing to down the favourite. The British contingent don’t look as strong, but equally don’t underestimate Adagio.



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