Let’s Dance can waltz away with Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Today’s opening race, the JLT Novices’ Chase, revolves around the Willie Mullins-trained Yorkhill. 
Let’s Dance can waltz away with Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

That he possesses a brilliant engine and a touch of brilliance is beyond doubt. That raw ability has allowed him win lots of races despite doing quite a bit wrong. There’s little doubt he’s the most talented horse in today’s eight-runner field.

However, he’s also a headstrong individual and his jumping technique is suspect. That makes him opposable, particularly at a short price.

For that reason, preference instead is for Top Notch. Fifth to Annie Power in last year’s Champion Hurdle, Nicky Henderson’s charge has been a revelation over the bigger obstacles this season. Top Notch is four from five this season with his sole defeat his first go over fences at Uttoxeter in October. Charbel, the horse that beat him into third that day, was giving Altior plenty to think about before tipping up in Tuesday’s Arkle Trophy so even that reversal now looks decent form.

When last seen, Top Notch produced a career best to land the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown. He’s a diminutive horse but his jumping that day really caught to eye and his willing attitude and overall level of forms suggests he can go close today.

The Ryanair Chase is an intriguing contest. There’s negatives about all three at the head of the market. Un De Sceaux would definitely like it softer, Empire Of Dirt would probably be better over further while Uxizandre, who provided AP McCoy with a final festival victory in this race two years ago, could be vulnerable to the ‘bounce factor’ second time out after a lengthy lay-off.

Despite the ground concerns, the nod ultimately goes to Un De Sceaux. He’d obviously prefer it softer but he does handle decent ground. He was only beaten by three and a half lengths by Sprinter Sacre on good ground in last year’s Champion Chase and the winner was one of the greatest two-mile chasers of all time.

He doesn’t have to face anything of that calibre this afternoon and his overall profile this season suggests he can get the job done.

Let’s Dance is fancied to justify favouritism in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. She’s unbeaten in three starts this season and possesses a touch of class. She can take this at the expense of stablemate Airlie Beach.

Unowhatimeanharry is the right favourite and likely winner of the big race of the day, the Stayers’ Hurdle, but Shaneshill appeals as an each-way angle.

The eight-year-old has finished second in each of the last three festivals and comes here in good order having won a decent Grade Two at Gowran Park on his most recent start. The hope is he can go close.



Top Notch (NB)


Un De Sceaux


Shaneshill each way


Let’s Dance (Nap)

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