Ross offers Supreme value at 33-1 as Irish look set to dominate first day

Willie Mullins has built up far and away the most powerful jumps stable in Ireland, and is expected to have a big say on the opening day of the meeting. But first blood can go to an old friend and rival, who can cause a shock in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle – one of the few Festival races, as it happens, in which Noel Meade has ever enjoyed a bit of luck.

It is not hard to see why Dylan Ross (1.30, nap) should be 33-1. He has found one to beat him after travelling best in each of his last four starts, and flashes his tail under pressure. But this will be a totally different assignment, with a big field hurtling over spring ground at a strong gallop. Dylan Ross is all about speed and watch for the ice-cool Paul Carberry producing him fast and late.

It can pay to stick to a more obvious solution to the Racing Post Arkle Chase. Some say Sprinter Sacre (2.05) consumes too much fuel, outjumping his rivals, to last up the hill – but they are using a gauge from smaller engines.

His stablemate, Quantitativeeasing, has evidently been laid out for the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase. At a difference of 26lb, however, his owner's second colours could yet upset the plan. Having failed to fulfil early promise over fences, Alfie Sherrin (2.40) showed his first signs of renewal since joining Jonjo O'Neill in a spin over hurdles last month and is now tried in cheekpieces.

The stage is then set for Mullins. After saddling Hurricane Fly (3.20) in the big one, he hoists his son, Patrick, into the saddle on Scotsirish (4.00) in the Glenfarclas Handicap. This is a classier type than tends to be found in these cross-country races, as has soon become transparent in two wins at Punchestown and a luckless reconnaissance here in December.

As in the last two of her three consecutive wins, Quevega (4.40) makes her first appearance of the campaign in the OLBG David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle. She has been in a different league hitherto and, demonstrably in the safest hands for so nerveless a preparation, that should remain the case today.

If the big guns misfire, punters will not find it easy to get out of trouble in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase. But White Star Line (5.15, next best) has not shown his hand over fences as yet and his strong-travelling style looks ideal.

Names and numbers

What's in a name?

Uncle Junior

(Cross-country Chase)

Character, played by Dominic Chianese, in the gangster TV series The Sopranos, dementia-suffering uncle of mob boss Tony Soprano.

Look out for...

Winner No 40

With 39 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, Nicky Henderson is just one short of training legend Fulke Walwyn's all-time record at the meeting.

Winner No 1

Trainers Nick Williams and Tim Vaughan are both Festival winners' circle virgins. Sue montgomery

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior IT Support / Projects Engineer

£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Joiner & Wood Machinist

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This busy local Joinery company...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence