THE Cheltenham Festival is the Rolls Royce of National Hunt Racing and after looking through the cards I have put together some of the horses that I think could figure well over the next four days.
I'm going to start with the Supreme Novice hurdle as this is my favourite race of the whole meeting.
My pick for the race is Jonbon as he is a big scopey horse that won a point to point in Dromahane.
Jonbon comfortably won a bumper in Newbury and then followed up in a Maiden hurdle impressively beating a good Sam Thomas horse.
The Arkle novices chase is interesting and I really like Edwardstone in this race and he has done nothing wrong this season but after running five times this season it may prove too much for him.
My pick in this race will be Rivière Detel trained by Gordon Elliott who ran very well in the Irish Arkle last time out and was just beaten by Blue Lord after making a bad mistake at the last fence.
Elliott could run her in the mares chase but is opting for the harder race and with her 7lb allowance she looks very hard to beat.
Next we have the Champion Hurdle and I cannot look beyond Honeysuckle but Willie Mullins Appreciate it is an unknown quantity and could test her on the day.
In the Champion chase it's very hard to look past Shishkin who has been the best English horse in the last couple of years.
Trained by Nicky Henderson he will run in the famous colours of Joe and Marie Donnelly.
On Thursday the Turners novice chase looks like it's going to be a monster clash between Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champs.
Bob Olinger was unbeatable last year over hurdles while winning the Ballymore in stylish fashion at the festival but was converted to jumping fences this year.
I think he is a machine but my pick for this race is Galopin Des Champs.
In the Ryanair chase Allaho is my nap and best bet for the whole festival as he is the best middle distance hurdler in Ireland and the UK at the moment.
In the Stayers Hurdle last year’s winner Flooring Porter will be the favourite for the race and has done little wrong this season.
He was second to Klassical Dream at Christmas but lost ten lengths at the start so he did well to stay with the Mullins runner.
After weighing up the form my pick for this race is Thyme Hill.
The Triumph hurdle is a great race and this year my pick is Icare Allen as I think he is a great each way bet at around 12/1.
JP McManus bought this horse from France as a three year old and made a quick impression when winning a 3 year old Maiden Hurdle at Christmas in Leopardstown.
The Albert Bartlett is competitive and this year I have been watching Hillcrest closely from the Henry Daly yard who is a big imposing horse that will definitely be a classy chaser in years to come.
At a bigger price my pick is Whatdeawant (14/1) trained by Willie Mullins.
This horse has run well this season when beating a good Noel Meade horse in a Maiden hurdle at Navan and then finished fifth in a grade 1 Novice hurdle in Naas.
He was unfortunate at Naas when slipping up turning for home causing him to lose a few lengths on the leaders and would have definitely been closer to the winner Ginto.
The Gold Cup is the biggest and most prized race at the festival and my pick is Minella Indo.
I think this horse has had the perfect warm up to retain his crown as he came back for his first run this season in Down Royal when finishing third in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.
Minella Indo was then sent to Kempton for an unusual King George but was pulled up along with favourite Chantry House.
He then got a bit of his form back when finishing second to Conflated in the Irish Gold cup over three miles and his course form in Cheltenham is outstanding after winning the Albert Bartlett, finishing agonisingly second in the RSA and then winning the Gold Cup last year.
Finally my own horse Jesse Evans should give a good account of himself in the County Hurdle.
After finishing an unlucky fourth in the Galway Hurdle our trainer Noel Meade is bound to have him in good shape for the biggest race of his career.
Coral cup: Gowel Road
Fred winter: Gaelic Warrior
National Hunt Chase: Vanillier
Pertemps: Winter Fog
County hurdle: Jesse Evans
Martin pipe: Langer Dan