Nick Scholfield and Melodic Rendezvous

06th March 2015

Festival bound to throw up surprises while others are sure-fire winners

I’ve had a very busy week popping into different yards giving horses their final school over fences ready for the Cheltenham Festival next week. Its safe to say everyone has the buzz with all the festival evenings going on and the different opinions flying around.

I’ve been studying the form, and while the meeting is sure to throw up some surprises, there are a few horses I fancy. In the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, L’Ami has speed and stamina and I am a massive fan of the horse and if Douvan didn’t have all the hype I am sure he would be a much shorter price.

In the Stan James Champion Hurdle I think Faugheen is the biggest certainty of the week. If someone gave me a £1000 I’d put it on him.

The last race on the Tuesday, which is the CHAPS Restaurant Barbados Novice Handicap Chase, I think I have a good chance of going close on Caesar Milan even though he had a fall schooling at Paul’s on Thursday morning – he’s fine by the way!

He’s carrying 11st 8lb which isn’t too much of a disadvantage as the bottom weight will be around 11st4lb. I think he is very well handicapped and has a bit in hand. He’s mixed it with the likes of Whisper, Josses Hill and Third Intention this season, he’s a sound jumper and he stays very well.

In the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on the Wednesday I’d like Sire Du Grugey to win for Jamie Moore but he needs soft ground to be at his best. The drying ground will come into Sprinter Sacre’s favour and will go against Dodging Bullets and Mr Mole.

I schooled On The Bridge this morning for Jeremy Scott and he’s guaranteed a run in the Pertemps which he finished sixth in last year, beaten three lengths. He goes there off a pound lower, he’s a fresh horse and he’ll love the ground.

Another local horse running at the Festival is Shammick Boy who is trained by Victor Dartnall and he’s been a revelation this season.

In the Bet Fred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Silviniaco Conti sets the standard and is a worthy favourite. Personally I think there could be some good each way value in the race. Horses like last year’s favourite Bob’s Worth could be starting at 16-1 and last year’s third The Giant Bolster at 33-1. On His Own was second last year and is 33-1. These horses offer tremendous value and it would be no surprise to see one of them turn back the form.

I think Paul Nicholls has a strong hand in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar but with the conditions drying it could come in Rock On Ruby’s favour although I think Saphir Du Rheu has a huge chance.

Tomorrow at Sandown there is a very strong card that has been well supported. With a £100,00 bonus if the winner of the Imperial Cup goes on to win at the Festival it has attracted some good horses. There is also the EBF final – the culmination of a lot of novice hurdle qualifiers where you have to finish in the first four to qualify.

It’s a race that always brings out the stars of the future. I ride a very good horse called Great Try for Trevor Hemmings and Paul Nicholls and I am quite sweet on his chances. Hopefully a good run here will bode well for the Festival.