Duo can repeat Greatwood success
Modus in the Greatwood Hurdle is Anita Chambers' nap for Sunday's racing – she's got a tip for every UK and Irish race.
Modus (l) can win the Greatwood Hurdle
CHELTENHAM: 12.45 Ballyandy, 1.20 Three Stars, 1.55 Simonsig, 2.30 MODUS (NAP), 3.05 Lookslikenowtbrian, 3.40 Brahms De Clermont.
FONTWELL: 12.25 Magic Mustard, 1.00 Aerial, 1.35 Remiluc, 2.10 More Buck's, 2.45 Peak To Peak, 3.15 On The Road, 3.50 Tikkapick.
NAVAN: 12.35 Ainslie, 1.10 Le Martalin, 1.45 Shaneshill, 2.20 Wolfslair, 2.55 Tell Us More, 3.30 Martello Tower, 4.00 Banjo.
Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden combined to lift the stanjames.com Greatwood Handicap Hurdle last term and they can repeat the trick with Modus.
Old Guard triumphed in the ultra-competitive Grade Three heat in 2015 and, on the face of it, Modus would have much stronger form in the book than his stable companion having featured at Grade One level in the past.
Runner-up in the Champion Bumper at the Festival back in 2015 when trained by Robert Stephens, the seven-year-year changed hands for £190,000 that May and went to join Nicholls.
While he hit the mark on his first two outings in the JP McManus colours, he appeared to hit something of a wall after Christmas and finished well down the field in both the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and the County Hurdle at the Festival before being sent on a summer break.
Perhaps those two heats were too big an ask for a relatively inexperienced runner and his holiday appeared to have done Modus the world of good when he pitched up at Ascot last month.
He finished third behind the reopposing Sternrubin that day but was making eyecatching progress at the finish after sitting well off the pace, eventually being beaten just three-quarters of a length and looking as though he would have won given another 50 yards.
Modus is slightly better off at the weights with that rival this time, but given the more-than-able Cobden also takes off 3lb, he looks perfectly placed by Nicholls to claim a big prize.
The absence of Altior in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase leaves the door wide open for Henry de Bromhead's raider Three Stars.
One of two runners for the Irish handler here, Three Stars already has three chase outings under his belt, most recently winning a Grade Three event at Punchestown in decent style.
He won over two miles and two furlongs that day but has a great cruising speed, so the drop back in distance should not be a negative here.
Sprinter Sacre kicked off his renaissance by winning the Shloer Chase last year and Nicky Henderson is hoping Simonsig can follow in his hoofprints.
Simonsig is undoubtedly a huge talent but has never really been able to fulfil his potential as he has struggled with a litany of injury issues that have limited him to just 12 starts at the age of 10.
His third in Grade One company at Punchestown back in the spring suggests the ability is still there and as Henderson reports the grey to have had a clean run of late, it is fair to expect him to be in pretty good trim for this event.
Simonsig has not actually won since lifting the 2013 Arkle so he escapes any penalties for this event and must be followed.
Ballyandy is another former Festival hero who returns to Prestbury Park in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle.
Winner of the Champion Bumper back in March, he made a decent start over hurdles when chasing home Moon Racer at Perth, being beaten just three-quarters of a length after whacking the penultimate flight.
He meets that rival again here and another fine battle appears to be in prospect.
Nicholls can also be on the mark with Aerial as he contests the totepool Southern National Handicap Chase, while Shaneshill can return to winning form in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.
Posted at 1440 GMT on 11/11/16.
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