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Paddy Power Cheltenham meeting day one - pt II

Whenever there's action at Cheltenham on a weekend, it's bound to be good. Please welcome onto the blog, the aspiring young writer responsible for previewing the second half of the card, Will Bowler. Read plenty of his work on his blog, and you'll find him on Twitter @willbowler2k12.

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If it goes ahead, the Cross Country chase at 2.30 will be the best spectacle of the day no doubt. Uncle Junior goes again, trying to repeat his success at the Open Meeting. He has to give the minimum of thirteen pounds to the others though, which will be very difficult. I really like Arabella Boy here, who has a good record in the Irish Banks races at Punchestown, including when beating Bostons Angel last time out. He is trained by 'Mr Cross Country' Enda Bolger, who is formidable here at Cheltenham, the likes of Garde Champetre and Spot The Difference spring to mind, and this horse has been nurtured towards this venue as he's only a seven year old, ten stone eight is a lovely racing weight and Nina Carberry aboard too.

3.05 is a three mile handicap hurdle, and it's important to note that Air Force One goes to Bangor if it's on, meaning this would then be a 15 runner race, and three places for each way backers. At Fishers Cross is favourite, and despite a poor round of jumping, won with plenty in hand at Newbury last time. He is stepping up to this trip for the first time, and I'm not sure it will suit, so am willing to let him go. Inish Island is a complete unknown, after winning a maiden hurdle at Downpatrick, but Willie Mullins is not here for a day out that's for sure. Medinas is consistent and acts at Cheltenham. I'm going to narrowly go for Saint Roque, who would have definitely been involved in the finish last time, still travelling well when brought down three out. He hasn't gone up for that, only had four runs under rules and despite being a pound out of the handicap, has a good conditional in Harry Derham aboard, and must go very well. The rise in trip shouldn't be a worry as he has won a point to point over this trip. At the other end of the weights, the gallant Cross Kennon will try his heart out again and should run well.

The closing novice hurdle at 3.40 looks a cracker too, this time over two miles. I was at Southwell when Imperial Leader won, and he is a very likeable type, and what impressed me was his response to reminders, if you can watch that replay on either Sportinglife (need a SkyBet account) or Attheraces (need a free account) websites, you will see what I mean. The big question of this race is what will front run? It may be the big outsider Dr Dreamy, or perhaps Royal Boy, yet to run under rules after a point win. Mr Watson, the horse that unseated and kicked Tony McCoy at Wetherby not too long ago, is reunited with the champ tomorrow after pulling far to hard at Market Rasen last time. Village Vic is dropped in trip, and is going to be my narrow selection in a good race. He was a high class bumper horse, and ran a great race here behind The New One in October on hurdles debut, before a flop in horrendous ground, again at Cheltenham over two miles and five furlongs last time. Melodic Rendezvous, Valdez and Eduard are all very nice types too, and could easily figure, but I fear they haven't quite got the class of Village Vic.

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