Cheltenham preview: Torpillo taken for Masterson Holdings Hurdle

14th September 2021

Our Masterson Holdings Hurdle preview from Cheltenham include Torpillo (right)

Torpillo could not have been more impressive on reappearance, so looks well worth backing to follow-up in the 2m Masterson Holdings Hurdle for four-year-olds on day two of The Showcase meeting at Cheltenham this Saturday (14:35).

Trained by in-form Nigel Twiston-Davies, the son of Alanadi created a big impression. This French import was bought by leading owner Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

Wide-margin successes in juvenile events on heavy and soft ground at Sandown last winter marked him down as a hot prospect.

Although then turned over by re-opposing Quel Destin in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, something was amiss that day.

It forced connections into a rethink and Torpillo ran in the Fred Winter rather than the Triumph at the Cheltenham Festival.

He was again off colour, finishing down the field off top-weight and an opening handicap mark of 141.

The assessor only cut him 4lb for that display. Torpillo made a mockery of his revised rating on reappearance when winning with any amount in hand at Chepstow.

After racing wide in the hands of Daryl Jacob, he cruised clear two out. As Torpillo was soon in command, his regular jockey eased him down afterwards.

He was thus value for more than the winning margin. Now back out of handicap company but still against horses his own age, Torpillo is a major player.

An updated mark of 148 is the highest in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle this year. With underfoot conditions also holding no fears, Torpillo looks a worthy 9/4 favourite with William Hill to go in again.

The Young Master each-way value

In the 3m 1f handicap chase which opens day two of The Showcase (14:00), The Young Master looks solid each-way value.

Trained by Neil Mulholland, the 10-year-old had a fine campaign last season. He won both of his first two starts, showing he retained plenty of ability.

Those came at Chepstow and here at the November Meeting over course and distance. The Young Master made all in the latter and bolted up by eight lengths off a mark of 135.

Although then disappointing when pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy, it may have come too soon after his Cheltenham run.

There were just two weeks between those outings and connections wisely gave The Young Master a break to freshen up.

He ran a fine race in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival next time out. Regular amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen steered The Young Master to third.

As he also chased home Talkischeap in a Grade 3 handicap during the Jumps Finale at Sandown, that form reads well in this lower class affair.

It also looks significant that The Young Master had a spin on the Flat earlier this month.

He is sure to come on for that and, with Waley-Cohen taking a handy 3lb off with his claim, a revised mark of 144 doesn’t look beyond him.

The Young Master is 12/1 with Betfair to enhance his fine record at Cheltenham in a typically wide-open renewal of this stayers’ handicap.

First Assignment also appeals each-way on chase bow

In the extended 2m 3f novice chase later on the card (16:55), First Assignment is another to consider each-way on his bow in this sphere.

Trained by Ian Williams, the six-year-old posted some useful form in handicap hurdles last season. First Assignment won both of his first two starts over 3m here.

That meant he was all the rage for a valuable Grade 3 stayers’ handicap on Betfair Chase day at Haydock. As First Assignment was only beaten 1 3/4 lengths into third behind Paisley Park, that form is solid.

The winner went on to land Grade 1 events at Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival. First Assignment was then a fine third in a Pertemps qualifier at Warwick, giving 8lb to the winner.

Although only ninth in the Pertemps Final at the Festival here in March, that is an ultra-competitive handicap.

First Assignment rounded off the campaign with a solid fourth at this venue in April. He is a fascinating recruit to the chasing ranks on the pick of his form.

In a race on Masterson Holdings Hurdle day where the likes of Secret Investor and Topofthecotswolds are penalised for previous success, First Assignment appeals at the weights if taking to fences.

With the drop back in trip and the return to a softer surface no problem for the son of Vinnie Roe, he is potentially one to watch in this sphere.

First Assignment is 13/2 with Paddy Power and another to consider each-way on day two of The Showcase.

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