Three horses that could be hampered by the ground at Cheltenham on Saturday | Horse racing news - petsitterbank

Three horses that could be hampered by the ground at Cheltenham on Saturday | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Imperial Alcazar: will it be suitable for the exceptionally fast conditions at Cheltenham?

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By Racing Post Staff

The ground is good at Cheltenham on Saturday with only a small chance of showers in the afternoon. Here are three fancy riders on practice day who might struggle to go too fast for the season.


Cheltenham defend small pitches on test day with quality


Odds: 5-4 favorite

JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (12.45 Cheltenham)

Why is soil a problem?

The short-term favorite for the Triumph Hurdle test beat the much-loved Vauban at Punchestown on his last visit, but he hasn’t proven himself on this type of surface.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Pied Piper (left): unproven on anything like this type of surface

Pied Piper (left): unproven on anything like this type of surface

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

His two flat wins and his hurdles debut last time out came on heavy ground and he was beaten heavily in both good and good to soft.

Who will be matched by conditions?

Iceo also won both of their soft starts, so Interne De Sivola could be the alternative. His third Warwick came on good ground and it was only good to mild when he won at this course and distance last month.

What do our Spotlight experts say?

Useful Apartment; ran free at Punchestown (1m7f, heavy) but this victory was very promising


Odds: 11-2 (6-1 with bet365)

Timeform Novices Handicap Chase (1.20 Cheltenham)

Why is soil a problem?

He carries the maximum weight having finished second in his two starts on fences, but one came on good ground in a match behind Silver Forever at Newbury and most of his form supports the theory that he is better on more proving grounds.

Winning on 3m1f in heavyweight, he could be passed on just 2m4½f under his big weight and should perhaps be watched until he goes up on his trip.

Who will be matched by conditions?

By contrast, Your Darling thrives on a decent surface and could fare better if ridden more conservatively than when third at Kempton last time out.

What do our Spotlight experts say?

Remains open to progression over fences, especially if jumping more fluently


Odds: 11-2

Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase (1.55 Cheltenham)

Why is soil a problem?

The Gray formed by Venetia Williams is another who will have questions to answer about what we already know about him.

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Farinet (right): could come undone after winning twice on soft

Farinet (right): could come undone after winning twice on soft

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

His two Great Britain wins came at Sandown on soft ground and he was pulled up after being passed on good to soft in the Racing Post Gold Cup in December, and his French form doesn’t offer much neither hope.

Magic Saint is both a winner on good ground and on this track, so he seems the most reliable candidate at the top of the market.

7-year-old ex-Frenchman who is 2-4 years old in Great Britain, the victories acquired at Sandown; open to new progress

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