Who Dares Wins tests Triumph credentials tomorrow on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham

Cheltenham offers a feast of high-class racing, including four Grade Two contests, on Festival Trials Day tomorrow, Saturday, January 30.

All eyes are on Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Djakadam (Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh) in the feature £100,000 BetBright Trial Chase (1.50pm) over an extended three miles and a furlong. The seven-year-old made an impressive comeback at Punchestown in December and faces seven rivals, led by Crabbie’s Grand National hero Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood/Leighton Aspell) and Hennessy Gold Cup victor Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson), who were first and second in the BetBright Trial Chase 12 months ago.

Further competition is provided by 2014 RSA Chase victor O’Faolains Boy (Rebecca Curtis/Noel Fehily), who was back to winning ways at Newbury last time out, and in-form northern raider Wakanda (Sue Smith/Danny Cook), with Sam Winner (Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies), Theatre Guide (Colin Tizzard/Aidan Coleman) and The Giant Bolster (David Bridgwater/Tom Scudamore) completing the strong field.

Racing starts at 12.40pm with the £30,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (six runners) over just short of two miles and a furlong. Alan King is a dab hand with juvenile hurdlers and the Wiltshire-based trainer is responsible for three of the first five in the betting for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival, including Who Dares Wins (Wayne Hutchinson).

The Flat recruit scored only narrowly on his hurdling debut at Ludlow in November, but stepped up on that performance markedly when trouncing his rivals by 20 lengths in the Grade Two Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster the following month.

Syndicate manager Henry Ponsonby said today: “Who Dares Wins is very well and this has been his target since he won at Doncaster.

“I know Alan King has a lot of very good youngsters and, although he would never compare them, he likes this horse and says he is in really good shape.

“Whatever Who Dares Win does tomorrow though, he will be a better horse on nice ground. He won in the soft at Doncaster but soft ground there is not the same as soft ground elsewhere. He has a lovely action.

“He has got plenty of stamina, as we saw on the Flat, and we are expecting him to improve again because he was a late foal. He is a good horse and we are very hopeful.”

Who Dares Wins comes up against a number unexposed rivals, none more so than Clan Des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies) who scored by 21 lengths on his British debut at Newbury last month. Wolf Of Windlesham (Stuart Edmunds/Joshua Moore) captured a Grade Two contest at The Open, while Consul De Thaix (Barry Geraghty) is one of two interesting French imports for trainer Nicky Henderson.

World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard/Tom Scudamore) is the headline act in the £60,000 Grade Two galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm, seven runners). Impressive Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle scorer Camping Ground (Robert Walford/Leighton Aspell), classy chaser Ptit Zig (Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies) and shock 2014 winner Knockara Beau (George Charlton/Jan Faltejsek) also go in the three-mile contest.

Both Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) and Shantou Village (Neil Mulholland/Ruby Walsh) put their unbeaten records over obstacles on the line in the £30,000 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Hurdle (3.00pm, nine declared runners). Their likely opponents include Newbury winners Champers On Ice (David Pipe/Tom Scudamore) and Charmix (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily), plus the highly-regarded pair of Baden (Nicky Henderson/Andrew Tinkler) and Chef D’Oeuvre (Warren Greatrex/Gavin Sheehan)

There are also three quality handicaps headed by the £60,000 freebets.com Trophy Chase (2.25pm, nine declared runners) over an extended two and a half miles. The weights are topped by The Festival winner Irish Cavalier (Rebecca Curtis/Barry Geraghty) and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup runner-up Champagne West (Philip Hobbs). Annacotty (Alan King/Ian Popham) and Johns Spirit (Jonjo O’Neill/Richie McLernon), winners of the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2015 and 2013 respectively, also run.

The action is completed by the £25,000 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.15pm, 15 declared runners) and the concluding £25,000 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle (4.10pm, 10 declared runners).

The racing on Festival Trials Day is the last at Cheltenham before The Festival which takes place over four days, Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18.

Going News
The going is currently Soft at Cheltenham, but it could be Heavy tomorrow depending on the amount of rain that falls overnight.

The forecast is for mostly dry weather into this afternoon, with rain overnight into Saturday of between eight and 14 millimetres. Dry weather is due to return early on Saturday morning and continue throughout the day.

Both the hurdle and chase bends are dolled out, by 14 yards and 16 yards respectively. This will increase race distances by:
84 yards, races 1, 5 and 7;
96 yards, races 2 and 4;
148 yards, race 6;
192 yards, race 3.

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