With the Festival now only days away, racing editor Jonathan Herbert casts his expert eye over the feature races each day:
Tuesday, Stan James Champion Hurdle: Defending champion Hurricane Fly will attempt to become the eighth horse to take the two-mile hurdling crown on three occasions, but the veteran faces a clutch of top-class younger rivals looking to take his title.
The New One, who won easily at last year’s meeting, looks to have a great chance of providing Guiting Power trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies with his first victory in the prestigious race.
Hurricane Fly is unlikely to go down without a fight and My Tent Or Yours and Our Conor could go well, while Melodic Rendezvous has the potential to spring a surprise if the going is testing.
My tip: The New One
Wednesday, BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase: The absence of last year’s brilliant winner Sprinter Sacre has left this year’s race wide open.
Sire De Grugy looks set to start favourite after a series of big-race wins this season, but he hasn’t been at his best at Cheltenham and looks vulnerable.
Captain Conan could be the one to take advantage having shown good form at the course, including a defeat of Sire De Grugy, while testing ground would improve the chances of Module from Tom George’s stable in Slad.
My tip: Captain Conan
Thursday, Ladbrokes World Hurdle: The legendary Big Buck’s will attempt to win the race for a fifth time, but he will need to improve on his comeback from injury at Cheltenham in January, when he finished third.
Annie Power has looked something special in racking up 10 wins in a row and could prove hard to beat, especially as she will carry 7lb less than Big Buck’s.
My tip: Annie Power
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup: The highlight of the whole week, the best staying chasers from Britain and Ireland will lock horns in a bid to carve their names in racing history.
Bobs Worth showed the heart of a lion to swoop late last year for his fifth win from five races at Cheltenham, including three at the Festival, and is a worthy favourite to retain his crown.
Silviniaco Conti appeared to be going well when falling in the race last year, while at much bigger odds The Giant Bolster from David Bridgwater’s stable in Stow-on-the-Wold should give his supporters a good run for their money.
He has finished in the first four in each of the past two Gold Cups and won well at Cheltenham in January.
Harry Topper from Kim Bailey’s stable in Andoversford would have a great chance if the ground comes up heavy.
My tip: Bobs Worth