MELISSA JONES: Tent at the ready for Festival day one

First published in Sport

MY TENT or Yours can silence the doubters by storming up the Cheltenham hill in today’s beast of a Champion Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson could do with a boost after losing two of his battalion- Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig- to injury this term, but this seven year old is waiting in the wings to do just that.

Today’s feature (3.20) is as top class and competitive as I can remember, with racegoers firmly in the camps of The New One, Hurricane Fly, Our Conor and the selection.

There’s any amount of possible outcomes; don’t discount Melodic Rendezvous too who will be doing his best work late on and may snatch a place.

But the scene is set for My Tent or Yours to star on Festival day one, with the ground quickening in his favour.

He did well to see off likely favourite The New One at Kempton on soft and the best thing about him is he’s all class.

The Argus faithful can expect to see McCoy holding onto the seven year old for as long as possible before unleashing his turn of foot on the run in.

Don’t forget his second in the Supreme Novices last year came on soft ground, so conditions underfoot will be an asset to his chances of getting up the hill.

If doing so, he’ll prove Welsh trainer Evan Williams wrong, who amusingly said the strong traveller would “take one look at the hill and puke” at Chepstow Racecourse’s preview before their meeting on Saturday.

The rest of the card, as ever, looks wide open, but it’s odds on in my book there will be a few upsets now the ground has dried up.

Because of this, I’ve plumped for an each-way on Three Kingdoms in the first (1.30). He’s pretty tough and running on soft all winter is probably not what he wants.

Irving has been impressive but is no value at the current prices with improvement to come from many of the field.

The Arkle looks to me to be between Rock on Ruby and Dodging Bullets, with the latter’s greater chasing experience swaying the verdict.

He is another who goes well on top of the ground and has won around this course- often a crucial factor when picking your Festival horses.

Welsh chances this afternoon rest with Evan Williams’ pair of King Massini and Buywise, Tim Vaughan’s Ackertac, Hidden Identity and Milborough.

Ohio Gold (5.15) is my best each-way of the day in the finale, having come third at this meeting last year.

SELECTIONS: 1.30 Three Kingdoms (e/w), 2.05 Dodging Bullets, 2.40 Tour Des Champs, 3.20 My Tent or Yours (NAP), 4.00 Quevega, 4.40 Shutthefrontdoor, 5.15 Ohio Gold (e/w)

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