The change in the ground may have led to the leading Henderson fancies Darlan and Sprinter Sacre being withdrawn; but Crockford feels that with the sun out at Cheltenham the Prospect looks good for more success

Yesterday, Crockford warned you about Grands Crus and gave you Al Ferof who duly delivered. Crockford’s Dead Cert (Stasio) and Archer’s Selection (Farraaj) both won at Lingfield, but with Darlan out who will be the Dead Cert today?

Crockford has heard a lot of whispers about the confidence that there is in Prospect Wells following up on Brampour’s win last year in today’s big handicap hurdle. With the race looking as apparently open as it does Crockford would term this selection much more as a each way whisper than a dead cert. The Racing Post Hurdle is full of talent and talking horses; Domination, Moon Dice and Snap Tie to name a few. Snap Tie is a particularly interesting runner who certainly can produce the goods first time out as he showed in Ireland last year. His trainer Hobbs could well be smiling today with a number of excellent chances across the card including his useful and highly regarded novice Village Vic (3.25). The mercurial Wishful Thinking’s task has been made much easier with the defection of the awesome Sprinter Sacre and Hobbs must also fancy the each way chances of Persian Snow in (1.45).

With Punchestown surviving the weather we will see the return of Hurricane Fly and Go Native in the Morgiana Hurdle. Baily Green will look to continue his amazing winning run against stiff opposition in the novice chase and at Cork Champagne Fever will look to give pointers towards hopeful festival celebrations in the spring.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Village Vic (3.25 Cheltenham)

Hobbs has a lot of faith in this novice and won the same race last year with Fingal Bay. Today Crockford believes that punters will see the Pipe and Nicholls stranglehold of the novice contests at the meeting so far broken by this progressive sort. However, watch out for a big run from Peter Bowen’s runner Awaywiththegreys who he thinks has real star quality.

Crockford’s Whisper – Prospect Wells (2.50 Cheltenham)

Valiant in defeat to his stablemate Zarkandar first time out at Wincanton (when fancied to win) the booking of Harry Derham and the weight he takes off his mount’s back  makes him attractive. Nicholls is definitely looking for a repeat of last year’s victory in the race and this Saddler’s Wells son is a good prospect for him.

Crockford’s other gambles around the courses:

Cheltenham – Captain Conan and Third Intention e/w (1.10), Persian Snow e/w (1.45), Wishfull Thinking (2.20), Prospect Wells e/w and Snap Tie e/w (2.50), Village Vic and Awaywiththegreys e/w (3.25)

Punchestown – Baily Green (1.05), Tofino Bay (1.40) and Hurricane Fly (2.15)

Cork – Champagne Fever (12.45), Blackstairmountain (1.15) and Shinrock Paddy (1.50)

Fontwell – Air Force One e/w (2.05)


(Featured Photograph – Philip Hobbs by Stuart Rice)





Philip Hobbs