Pipe takes shorter option to avoid Dynaste 'slog'
Dynaste, the long-standing favourite for the RSA Chase, was switched to the Jewson Novices' Chase as connections reconciled themselves to unusually demanding conditions at Cheltenham this week.
They had hoped a wet winter might relent in time to produce the sort of spring ground that has reliably transformed the agenda at so many Festivals. But the entire track has been covered in frost blankets, which are likely to introduce a dead, tacky quality to conditions beneath. David Pipe has duly resolved to run Dynaste over two and a half miles on Thursday, rather than three the previous day. "Touch wood, he's the best in either race," the trainer said. "We thought that on the ground the RSA could be a real slog, so we've leant towards the Jewson."
Coral make the grey 7-4 favourite to vindicate that decision, and trimmed Boston Bob to 11-4 from 3-1 for the RSA. Runner-up over hurdles at last year's Festival, Boston Bob certainly looks tailor-made for the demands of the race. He has made fairly heavy weather of winning both starts over fences in Ireland, but the extra distance will suit and his trainer, Willie Mullins, considers his jumping a major asset.
The official going is soft on both the Old Course, used tomorrow and the next day, and the New Course, reserved for Thursday and Friday. Each was covered in turn over the weekend, a total of 630 sheets being deployed over 65 acres – the equivalent of 45 football pitches. Around 60 groundstaff will need two and a half hours to uncover the Old Course before racing starts tomorrow.
Three previous winners – Binocular, Hurricane Fly and Rock On Ruby – were among just nine declarations for the first big race of the meeting, the Stan James Champion Hurdle. Rock On Ruby will wear blinkers, a conspicuous punt on the part of his rookie trainer, Harry Fry.
Meanwhile, even regaining the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday with Long Run would seem unlikely to qualify as the highlight of the week for his amateur rider, Sam Waley-Cohen, who yesterday celebrated the birth of his first child, Max.
Chris McGrath's Nap: Pindar (5.10 Plumpton)
In good heart for his new stable, despite mistakes over fences, and rider's claim makes him look dangerously weighted back over timber.
Next best: Minella For Party (3.20 Taunton)
Looks on a fair mark for his handicap debut.
One to watch: Kazlian (David Pipe) looked ahead of his rating at Sandown on Saturday, committed a long way out and run down only by a couple of closers.
Where the money's going: Sizing Europe is 5-1 from 6-1 with William Hill to turn over Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Latest in Sport
'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him' - Harry Redknapp
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven late minutes of madness
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce calm over lack of new contract
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...