CHEPSTOW Racecourse ambassador Richard Johnson has amassed 23 wins at the Cheltenham Festival over the years and his best ride this week is Thyme Hill, the favourite for the Albert Bartlett on Friday. He won at Chepstow’s Jump Season Opener in October.

The racecourse staff will also be keeping an eye on Colin Tizzard’s pair, The Big Breakaway and Getaway Fred, in today’s Ballymore Novices Hurdle. Both won nicely at a Chepstow meeting in November and both are priced at about 6/1. They have a hotpot in the way, though, Envoi Allen, unbeaten in seven races for Gordon Elliott.

Robert Stephens’ Brophies Doll, who a fortnight ago came in third at 25/1 in her handicap debut, is one to watch out for at Huntingdon today. She’s upped in trip to two and a half miles, which should suit her better than her last outing over the minimum trip. She was first and second in a couple of good ground Irish points in 2018 – admittedly maiden races, but if the rain stays away that would assist her. The yard is in good form, as stablemate Tudors Treasure gained his third course and distance victory at Exeter a week ago.

Milton Bradley will be on the road to Lingfield and Kempton today with a couple of horses that have already been winners for him this year. Muraaqeb, who won his seventh race in 366 days at the beginning of February, has finished unplaced three times since then, but the drop to a mile and a quarter today – the distance he’s won at most often – may help him do better in the 1.20 at Lingfield.

Then the horsebox will trundle round the M25 to Kempton, where Satchville Flyer runs in the 7.50. He’s been tremendously busy since winning in early January, having had five outings since then. He was beaten a long way in four of those runs, and although he will probably pop up at a big price again one day, he is not one to rely on.

The other local flat trainers are still undergoing a quiet spell. David Evans hasn’t had a winner for three weeks and Ron Harris has had no runners at all in that period. Even Bungee Jump, usually a reliable performer for Grace Harris, is going through a slump. In three starts on the all-weather this year the mare has only finished in front of two horses.

A return to Chepstow, where she’s won four times, may revitalise her. Their opening flat meeting is on 1 May. They have four National Hunt fixtures before that. Their traditional Easter Monday races on 13 April will be a family fun day.

In contrast, the preceding meeting is Grand National Party Raceday on Saturday the 4th, which has grown into one of their fullest and most popular days of the year.

More immediately, there’s still time to book places at the Cheltenham Gold Cup Lunch taking place in Chepstow’s 'The View' restaurant. Tickets cost £45 per person and include reserved seats on a shared table of 10, a glass of Prosecco on arrival, a three course menu; tea, coffee and Welsh cakes, a raceday programme, a small auction, a tipster talk and an on-course bookmaker to take your bets. All while sitting in comfort, rather than battling through the scrums at Cheltenham!