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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

A fantastic four at Cheltenham to help ring in the new year

Willoughby Court pings another fence on his way to victory
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If you're anticipating waking up in 2018 with a fuzzy head, mouth like a desert and a desire for a fry-up, then how about settling in to watch this bunch of equine pick-me-ups?

Cheltenham's meeting is packed with stars to help start the year with a bang, and here are four who could light up the card.

Willoughby Court (1.25)

Unbeaten in his last five starts, Ben Pauling's chaser returns to the scene of his Neptune Hurdle victory from last season, bidding for a third straight victory over fences.

Willoughby Court defeated Yanworth, who reopposes, in a Grade 2 at Newbury last time, and will be bidding to enhance his position as favourite for the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Willoughby Court puts in a flying leap on his way to beating Yanworth

Yanworth (1.25)

As previously mentioned, Yanworth will be bidding to turn the tables on Willoughby Court, and also answer some of his critics over fences.

He is yet to reach the same level as he managed when hurdling, and has been a beaten odds-on favourite the last twice. Trainer Alan King has plenty of faith in the dual Grade 1-winning hurdler, and has had this race in mind for some time.

Colin's Sister (3.10)

It has already been a festive period to remember for Fergal O'Brien, with Poetic Rhythm giving the trainer his first Grade 1 when claiming the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

A Cheltenham winner would start the year with a bang, and Colin's Sister will not mind how testing conditions are in the Relkeel Hurdle. She also receives weight from the field.

Colin's Sister wins the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby

Acey Milan (3.45)

Anthony Honeyball has been in flying form through December and his bumper team appear particularly strong. Among his exciting candidates is this three-year-old who was a clearcut winner at Wincanton last time out.

This race should demand more but given the form of Honeyball's string Acey Milan could be one to watch.

Cheltenham card

If you are interested in this, you might also like:

Willoughby Court produces bold round to lower Yanworth's colours

Poetic Rhythm provides Fergal O'Brien with first Grade 1


Look back on the best jumps action of the year in the new edition of the Racing Post Annual. Order now at

He is yet to reach the same level as he managed when hurdling, and has been beaten as an odds-on shot on his last two starts
E.W. Terms
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