Carruthers fancied to motor home

CARRUTHERS would be a popular winner of Cheltenham’s newly-named Argento Chase for trainer Mark Bradstock and owner Lord Oaksey.

The seven-year-old tried his best to notch an all-the-way victory in last year’s RSA Chase at the track but he was out on his feet after a bad blunder and finished fourth.

He put in a satisfactory effort on his return at Wincanton but after missing a planned run in the Hennessy, he blew his rivals away when allowed to really press his case at Newbury last time.

Carruthers will have to find a bit more improvement again here but this looks an ideal opportunity to take another step up the ladder.

Tidal Bay is an intriguing runner as he bids to arrest a losing streak stretching back well over a year in the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle.

The 2008 Arkle winner has not tasted victory since November that year and although he has turned in some decent performances in the interim, he does not look to be totally in love with the game at present.

However, he was top class over hurdles as a novice, finishing second at the Festival and winning at Aintree so he is not without ability over the smaller obstacles.

The major question mark has to be his will to win but trainer Howard Johnson has been issuing some upbeat bulletins on his well-being lately and the switch of discipline could reignite his enthusiasm.

On an informative day of Cheltenham trials, Paul Nicholls’ new recruit Pistolet Noir can lift the Betfair Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, while Perce Rock is the choice in the Betfair Trophy Chase Handicap.

At Doncaster, Khachaturian can make the leap from novice to open company in the Listed Sky Bet Chase.

Donald McCain’s runner was only beaten a short head by leading fancy Seven Is My Number at Bangor last October and Khachaturian will be getting even more weight from that rival this time.

One win in three starts since that run is admittedly not the most encouraging statistic but he did stroll home by 10 lengths at Kempton before running into French raider Doctor Pat last time.

Although this represents another massive task, Khachaturian is clearly a horse on the upgrade.

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