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Cheltenham Preview Reports 2015 : Ascot
Sun, Feb 15th, 2015

Ascot Racecourse hosted the first Cheltenham Festival Preview of 2015 in the Horsewalk Inn after racing on 14 February.

The Panel consisted of:

Oli Bell - Chair

Paul Nicholls ( PN)

Aidan Coleman ( AC)

Barry Orr ( BO)

Champion Hurdle

BO:  Reckons Ruby Walsh will definitely ride Faugheen, and will leave The Fly. Kitten Rock winner in Ireland today has had support for the Champion Hurdle

AC/PN: Nicholls & Coleman big Faugheen fans too, Nicholls can't touch The New One.

BO : When panel asked for any big priced choices Barry goes back to Kitten Rock again.

Champion Chase

AC: Sprinter Sacre ran well at Ascot. Some are being unfair to him.

PN : Dodging Bullets has gone under the radar. He is in the form of his life having won the Tingle Creek and Clarence House Chase.He has not been great in the spring before, but we have adapted his training slightly. To me he deserves to be favourite. It should not be done on sentiment but on form and that is my view.

PN : I think Mr Mole will run a big race. He dotted up last week after being left 15 lengths at the start. He has won four races on the trot and won ones that Master Minded did. I always thought he was good but it has taken a bit of convincing. AP (McCoy) didn't really like him at first but he has got confidence with him now and is on a roll. I think he has the more natural ability, whereas Dodging Bullets is the more hardened and tougher horse.

BO:  Champagne Fever won today & could drop back to the Champion Chase, likes Cheltenham. Simply Ned a longer-priced option.

World Hurdle

PN:  Can't give More Of That any chance for World Hurdle and doesn't fear Annie Power either - both had interrupted campaigns . He thinks Zarkandar should be favourite. He has solid form and and he probably should have won at Ascot before Christmas when he pulled up in front. The more competitive race will suit him and he had a racecourse gallop at Wincanton on Wednesday and it was the best he had seen him for a long time.

Saphir Du Rheu is improving, but in my mind Zarkandar is a bit more battle-hardened and experienced and I feel that Rock On Ruby will give him a good lead into the race so he doesn't have to get there too soon.

AC:  Saphir Du Rheu for him, won well last time, showed a lot of courage & beat a high class field

BO: Lieutenant Colonel is best staying hurdler in Ireland, but look also at Monksland & Jetson.

Gold Cup

PN:  have no worries that Silviniaco Conti acts around Cheltenham, as he was travelling when he fell in the race two years ago."He had a few little mishaps training, but he is much more assured now. His last two wins have been two of the best performances of his career and he had a nice racecourse gallop with Sam Winner on Wednesday. On form he is the one to beat.

Sam Winner is the main danger ! He is in good form and loves it around Cheltenham and he needs to be fresh, which he will be. He is the sort of horse that could run into a place at a big price.

BO: Silviniaco Conti is a worthy fav, but Road To Riches the Irish threat

AC: Aidan wouldn't run the novice Coneygree in the Gold Cup, it is a big jump up. 12-1 for Gold Cup, but would be nearly favourite for RSA

All tip Silviniaco Conti to win, Road To Riches & Hollywell get shouts as alternative options

Other Races/ Horses

BO:Katie T - only NH horse trained by Kevin Prendergast, watch out!

PN : Current Event, Foxhunters and Southern Theatre in RSA - has been  the target since September, the RSA will really suit him

Checkout our forum for details of and reports from more 2015 Cheltenham Preview Nights.

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