STAR PREVIEW Welcome back Cheltenham

first_img[dropcap]C[/dropcap]heltenham is back this afternoon for the first day of their Showcase meeting and a brand spanking new grandstand (pictured) to showcase too.The Novices’ Chase is down to just three runners with the defection of Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Codelco but if you think that makes it any easier to solve think again.Appropriately enough, given the sponsors, it’s a Rubik’s cube of a race with the market struggling to sort it out and proof that a small field can present an intriguing punting conundrum.There’s still Irish interest in the race with the the Jessica Harrington trained Rock The World bidding to continue his promising start to chasing which has seen him win two and finish second in his five races over the larger obstacles since May. The good ground expected at Cheltenham today should suit him much more than the soft ground he faced at Listowel last time out when a beaten odds-on favourite behind the shock winner Rightdownthemiddle. His jumping, so far, has proved reliable rather than spectacular.Paul Nicholls is represented by Dormello Mo and Cheltenham will very much be an away fixture for this one. His last SIX race have all come at Newton Abbot and he is a winner of three novice chases there. He is the likely leader here but there is more of a question mark over his jumping which will come under greater pressure over the Cheltenham fences. He unseated his rider in August and was by no means foot perfect when second last time out.The field is completed by Qewy who is making his chasing debut so is harder to assess. It’s not as if he’s got too much hurdling form either. The bulk of his form is from the flat when trained by John Oxx and he was good enough to win a Listed race at Leopardstown (soft ground). He’s had four starts over hurdles (each time with give in the ground to some extent) and was an impressive winner of a novices’ hurdle at Newbury in February before going on to run a creditable fifth to Douvan in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Festival here. He was subsequently a fair third to Cyrus Darius in a Grade 2 at Aintree . He’s achieved the most over hurdles but I don’t want to be taking two things on trust when having a bet, namely his ability to handle the better ground and the bigger factor of him not yet jumping a fence in public.It’s trappy and very much likely to be tactical but on balance Rock The World looks the safest wager.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK ROCK THE WORLD for 10 points at SP with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 89.40 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img