Upsanddowns can take a starring role on the first day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham.
The Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle is arguably the pick of the opening card and Evan Williams’ charge will be out to extend his unbeaten record over obstacles to three following successes at Newton Abbot and Ludlow.
His initial 28-length romp in the west country was very impressive, although his rivals were probably an average bunch, while his Ludlow victory was a harder-fought affair, holding off Georgie Bay by a length and a half.
Upsanddowns deserves plenty of credit for that though as he made most of the running, with the first two well clear of the rest.
This is clearly a sharp step up but Upsanddowns appears to have plenty of scope and can rise to the challenge.
Splash Of Ginge can make it back-to-back course wins in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase.
The roll of honour for this event really is impressive, featuring the likes of Denman, Imperial Commander and last season’s Festival winner Taquin Du Seuil, and while Splash Of Ginge would be doing well to emulate those names, he remains an animal of real potential.
A shock winner of the Betfair Hurdle last term, he was also placed in Grade One company at Aintree but suffered a surprise reverse when only third on his fencing bow at Perth.
However, he comprehensively reversed the form with Perth winner Ainsi Fideles when trouncing him by nine lengths at the Showcase meeting last month and looks to have really found his groove now.
This is a much hotter event but trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies retains plenty of faith and his high opinion can be justified.
There would be no more popular winner than Carruthers if he can make the switch to the banks course in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
The 11-year-old has quite a following, but has not really shone in recent outings, prompting connections to refocus his attention on a different kind of challenge.
Carruthers is reported to have relished the task when schooled over the Prestbury Park fences and if can enjoy some much needed luck in running, this could be the right kind of opportunity for Mark Bradstock’s veteran.
* Selections -
CHELTENHAM: 1.15 The Young Master, 1.50 Hollow Blue Sky, 2.25 Splash Of Ginge, 3.00 UPSANDDOWNS (NAP), 3.35 Carruthers, 4.05 River Deep.
DUNDALK: 6.15 Cool Dot Com, 6.45 Hi Empress, 7.15 Time To Inspire, 7.45 Shabra Emperor, 8.15 Misty Lane, 8.45 Hardstone, 9.15 Clare Harrier.
LINGFIELD: 11.55 Easy Tiger, 12.25 Wedlock, 12.55 Let’s Confer, 1.30 Wrood, 2.05 Heisman, 2.40 Moiety, 3.15 Picks Pinta, 3.50 Keep Kicking.
NEWCASTLE: 12.05 Seldom Inn, 12.35 Ballybogey, 1.05 Blast Martha, 1.40 Distime, 2.15 Silver Vogue, 2.50 Ballyben, 3.25 Duncomplaining.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.00 Pin Up, 4.30 Time Flies, 5.00 Star Fire, 5.30 Minty Jones, 6.00 High Tone, 6.30 Redalani, 7.00 Mia’s Boy, 7.30 Gracefilly.
DOUBLE: Upsanddowns and Carruthers.