Jumping The Name of The Game At Cheltenham

Elliott Raider to Take the Prize Back To Ireland

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ WHOLESTONE was a top flight staying hurdler and will probably be made favourite for the Matchbook Most Trusted Betting Exchange Novices’ Chase over an extended three miles at Cheltenham today.

He has six young chasing rivals, however, with Gordon Elliott’s DINON the likeliest to beat him to the prize before going on to better things.

This will be the latter’s sixth chase and he has hardly made a mistake in his previous five, looking a natural jumper in each.

He beat Mind’s Eye at Limerick last time and was impressive, shortening at fences when necessary and pinging the rest.

He had beaten the ill-fated Wicklow Brave in his previous run at Listowel and is clearly progressive over the bigger obstacles.

Further in Dinons’ favour is his performance at this meeting a year ago.

He contested the Class 2 Randox Health Novices’ Hurdle over three miles and won easily, showing ability at the trip and a liking for the course.

The progeny of his sire, Balko are an impressive 24% on the ground and jockey Davy Russell is seven from 47 at Cheltenham, a significant statistic.

Wholestone was the best hurdler of these, with three Class 1 victories to his name and goes well at Cheltenham where his placings read 1,2,1,1,3,1,2,3,2,9 and 3.

He didn’t look the same horse, though, in four outings over timber last Spring and his reappearance over fences at Perth in September when winning a match was unimpressive.

His price represents his old hurdling form rather than recent chase performance.

There may be a champion lurking in the rest of the chase novices and debutants but on what we know Dinons, at Coral’s 11/4 looks a cracking bet and may well make all.

G Lees

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