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Countdown to Cheltenham: Chacun Pour Soi and Altior set for clash

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nother day, another set of confirmations and, thankfully, no notable absentees as the Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer.

Wednesday’s races reached the confirmation stage today and 11 stand their ground in the feature Queen Mother Champion Chase, including favourite Chacun Pour Soi, former winners Altior and Politologue and last year’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On. 

Cilaos Emery also remains entered despite no confirmation yet from Willie Mullins as to whether he’ll take his chance, the nine-year-old having won at Naas only a fortnight ago. 

Among the notable talking points from the other races, Latest Exhibition was left in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase despite trainer Paul Nolan suggesting he would skip the Festival, while Easysland remains on course for the Cross Country after speculation he may not be able to travel over from France. 

Tizzard’s final Festival?

This year’s Festival will likely be Colin Tizzard’s last as a head trainer, with the 65-year-old ready to hand his licence on to son and assistant Joe. 

“Joe is doing more and more, and deserves to have his name at the top,” Tizzard said. “He deserves to be allowed to go on. He’s more than ready, while I’m 65 and don’t want to wake up every morning to worry.”

Tizzard rates The Big Breakaway as his best chance of the week, with last year’s Ballymore fourth set to try and upset Monkfish in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.

“Right now nothing can stay with him on the gallops,” Tizzard added. “He’s in beautiful form and with a clear round will be very hard to beat.”

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Johnson hoping ground suits Thyme Hill 

Richard Johnson believes drying ground may help Thyme Hill in his attempt to avenge his Long Walk defeat to Paisley Park in the Stayers’ Hurdle.


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