Cheltenham Festival: Cause Of Causes value to gatecrash the winner's tent in Festival opener

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The Independent Online

It might not prove as crazy as it sounds to say that My Tent Or Yours would have been a more attractive bet in the Champion Hurdle itself than in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle. This race has a history of quietly making the greater demands of horses' stamina and remember how Darlan, his doomed stablemate, could not win it after himself shaping so well against seasoned horses in the same Newbury handicap that announced My Tent Or Yours.

Moreover, this looks a vintage running, with Jezki and Un Atout on an unknowable curve of improvement. River Maigue, his own stablemate, could also give the hot favourite something to think about – but on grounds of sheer value the 40-1 with Ladbrokes against Cause Of Causes (1.30) is hard to pass over. Plainly not himself last time, his form had previously really taken off once granted a strong pace on soft ground.

Nicky Henderson, who trains My Tent Or Yours, also has the hot favourite for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase and, while Overturn promised to raise the bar for Simonsig (2.05), the going seems to have turned against him. But the odds are very short, given Simonsig's inexperience, so he hardly represents a sensible betting medium.

Merry King (2.40) was looking so interesting for the four-miler tomorrow that you simply have to follow the judgement of his trainer, Jonjo O'Neill, that Festival master, in switching him to the JLT Specialty Chase.

The closing races can be entrusted in turn to a female jockey, horse and trainer. Nina Carberry is peerless over the cross-country course and has found an ideal new partner in Arabella Boy (4.00) for the Glenfarclas Chase, while Quevega (4.40) will presumably extend her monopoly of the OLBG Mares' Hurdle to a fifth consecutive win in the contest.

Venetia Williams, meanwhile, places her thriving horses brilliantly and Shangani (5.15) has a purposeful look in the last.