Racing: Professional punter: SIMON `DODGER' McCARTNEY

Cheltenham Festival
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The Independent Online
CHARLIE BROOKS, the former trainer, has told me that BARTON is the best horse he ever had and I know Simon Sherwood would have loved to have kept him when he took over Brooks's yard.

Barton is with Tim Easterby now and has been so impressive this season, particularly at Doncaster, that I think he should win the opening Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle.

My friends in Ireland tell me that HILL SOCIETY has been laid out for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He has not been running badly this season, but I expect him to leave this term's form well behind this afternoon and he should be a good value bet.

Finally, my Irish contacts tell me that NICK DUNDEE is a world-beater and cannot be opposed in the Royal & SunAlliance (Novices') Chase.

He could have run in the Gold Cup tomorrow but sensibly his connections have decided to take this easier option instead.