Top racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives Mercury readers his top tips for the week ahead. Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days and is regularly on television.
A total of 94 entries have been received, including 30 from Ireland and two from France, for The Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser, the Grade One Supreme Novices’ Hurdle over two miles.
Jezki, trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington and now owned by J P McManus, heads the possible contenders after two impressive Grade One victories at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown before Christmas. He is 7/2 favourite with the bookmakers.
Un Atout (7/1) is one of seven entries for Irish champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins, while the home challenge features River Maigue, Dodging Bullets, Melodic Rendezvous and Puffin Billy.
The last two are also among the 119 entries for the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, run over an extended two and a half miles on Wednesday, March 13.
Jonjo O’Neill’s potential representatives include Taquin Du Seuil, who won the Grade One Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, while Nigel Twiston-Davies has entered The New One.
Among the 35 Irish-trained entries is Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle victor Pont Alexandre and facile Grade Two Slaney Novice Hurdle scorer Rule The World, from the stable of Mouse Morris.
The former Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers ran-out a gutsy winner of the West Wales National at Ffos Lass on Saturday at 6/1 for The Oaksey Partenership.
Sara Bradstock said: “He’s now won twice at Ffos Lass and the course deserve lots of praise for getting racing on with the very heavy ground.”
He is now 14/1 from 20/1 for the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase at Cheltenham next month.
Captain Conan stayed the two and a half miles to land the Novice Chase at Sandown for Nicky Henderson and remains unchanged at 4/1 for the Jewson at the festival. The 1/2 favourite scrambled home to beat Third Intention and his trainer said: “He just got a bit tired but he stayed the trip and did well to win he has a touch of class.”
Donald McCain’s Overturn had a solo to win at Musselburgh on Sunday at 1/5 and looks a natural chaser in three starts this season. Last year’s Champion Hurdle runner-up and looks a worthy contender to Simonsig in the Arkle at around 4/1.
The trainer told the waiting press afterwards: “We’ve been waiting until today to jump him out of the gates and send him, that’s what he likes. Jason Maguire said he was magic today and its straight to Cheltenhamnow.”
The Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday looks a cracker with Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar the joint 6/4 favourites. My money has gone on the last mentioned.
At Newbury on Saturday My Tent Or Yours is my weekend nap bet to lift the Betfair Hurdle for Nicky Henderson who is leading the national hunt trainers championship for 2013. The bookmakers go 1/6 for Henderson lifting the prize at the end of the season.
At Exeter on Sunday dont miss Hawkes Point in the 3.00 the Paul Nicholls camp looks a cut above his rivals and expected to go very close for the west country wizard.
Very sad news for the Henderson’s yard on Monday at Doncaster when Darlan was killed instantly in a last flight in the 32Red Hurdle when coming to win his race for Tony McCoy. The champ gave up his remaining rides.
Henderson said: “He didn’t deserve that. Why is it always the good ones?”
Ring The Colonel on 07850 602524 for his full racing service.