HAWTHORN COTTAGE can win the mares’ handicap that opens the ITV coverage at Cheltenham on Friday (1.50pm). She rather lost her way at points last year, but she looked right back on point on her seasonal debut, has plenty of experience over fences, is well treated still on her old form, and is effective at this track. She should be up there from the outset and could take a bit of pegging back on this ground.
EVA’S OSKAR looks a solid bet in the feature chase (2.25pm). He’s very effective here – as he showed at this meeting last year and again last time – and likes good ground. He arrives here in top shape and will arguably be better suited by the stiffer New Course.
LE PATRON is a bit of an unknown, but the footage of his second at Auteuil shows that he’s an assured jumper with a nice bit of tactical speed and a decent attitude (3.00pm). I’m prepared to take a shot at the available odds that he’s better than a 116 horse on his stable and British debut. In addition, three of his siblings are black type performers, offering further encouragement.
ANNUAL INVICTUS can follow up his win here last time in the finale (3.35pm). He showed a very likeable attitude that day, is clearly in good form and ought not to have too much pace pressure. He has shown before that this new mark shouldn’t be beyond him.
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