Having scored in fine style last time out, Dame De Compagnie looks the one to be on in the 2m 5f Grade 3 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival day 2 this Wednesday (14:50).
Trained by Nicky Henderson, this JP McManus owned seven-year-old showed real battling qualities to land a Listed mares’ contest over 2m 4f here back in April 2018.
Dame De Compagnie was then on the sidelines for 577 and, after being backed from 16/1 to 6/1, shaped really well in defeat when fifth of 14 to Harmabe in the ultra-competitive Grade 3 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at this venue in November.
She raced sweetly on the heels of the leaders in the hands of Barry Geraghty until getting outpaced three from home and losing her place at a crucial stage.
Dame De Compagnie then rallied strongly and stayed on in taking fashion up the run-in to be beaten just under six lengths.
It was a highly promising comeback after such a lengthy absence, and one which suggested she was potentially ahead of her current mark of 132.
Revised rating looks exploitable on Cheltenham Festival day 2
The daughter of Lucarno then proved that to be the case when easily landing a competitive class 3 contest over 2m 4f here.
Dame De Compagnie made stealthy headway from mid-division three from home to challenge at the last. She then quickly asserted on the run-in to beat Indefatigable by 4 1/2 lengths.
She was value for much more than the official winning margin and the runner-up has since landed a Listed contest at Warwick by six lengths to give the form a boost.
It makes an 8lb rise in the weights for that taking success look more than fair.
A revised rating of 140 could still seriously underestimate Dame De Compagnie’s ability, given her lightly-raced and progressive profile.
Her proven form at the track is a big plus. Dame De Compagnie handles soft ground and is once again partnered by Geraghty, who has won three times and been placed once on her in six starts.
At 9/2 with Betway, who are paying six places, Dame De Compagnie thus makes plenty of each-way appeal in typically fierce renewal of the Coral Cup.
Canardier also holds Coral Cup claims
In a race where a case can be made for the most of the 26 runners, Canardier is a fascinating contender on his first start for champion Irish handler Willie Mullisn.
He’s another well-worth considering each-way at 12/1 with Betfred who are also paying six places.
This eight-year-old won at the track back in October 2018 when in the care of Dermot McLoughlin and went on to run a blinder in this 12 months ago when a 2 1/2 lengths fifth of 25 to William Henry off a mark of 141.
He backed that up with a solid third of 22 to Three Musketeers at Aintree off 142 and was also far from disgraced on his final start of the campaign when seventh of 25 to Mr Adjudicator at the Punchestown Festival.
Canardier then had his attention switched to chasing at the start of this season and held every chance at Navan when coming to grief two from home.
He then failed to fire when a well-beaten seventh at Leopardstown back in December.
The son of Crillon now switches back to the smaller obstacles off a rating of 145. That should enable him to be very competitive on the pick of his form.
Canardier also has a good record fresh. Mullins has his team in fine form and may well eake out a bit of improvement out of him.
Tiger Roll tough to oppose in Cross Country Chase
In the 3m 6f Cross Country Chase (16:10), the hugely popular Tiger Roll looks a worthy red-hot favourite to land an incredible fifth success at the Festival.
The Gordon Elliott trained 10-year-old, winner of the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, is chasing a third success in this contest on Cheltenham Festival day 2.
Tiger Roll has also had previous success here in the Triumph Hurdle (2014) and National Hunt Chase (2016).
He is the shortest-priced winner in Cross Country Chase history, having obliged at 5/4 last year.
The Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding is once again a red-hot favourite with bookmakers and even shorter in the betting at evens with Paddy Power.
He comes into on the back of a highly promising run on seasonal reappearance when fifth in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan.
That will have put Tiger Roll spot on for this and he looks one of the bankers of the week.
If looking for an each-way alternative, then the Nicky Henderson trained Might Bite looks well worth considering at 14/1 with 888sport.
The multiple Grade 1 winner has already tasted success at the four-day spectacular, having landed the 2017 RSA Novices’ Chase.
He went on to run a blinder 12 months later when a 4 1/2 lengths runner-up to Native River in the Gold Cup. Things have not gone to plan since with the 11-year-old.
However, he took a step back in the right direction when a 10 1/2 lengths third to old rival Native River in the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury.
It will be fascinating to see if the switch to banks can further rejuvenate Might Bite and, if it does, he has the class to make his presence felt.
Palladium worth a bet on Cheltenham Festival day 2 in Boodles
The hat-trick seeking Palladium has a progressive profile and looks weighted to go well in the 2m Grade 3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (16:50).
He was a fair sort on the level when trained by Martyn Meade and shaped with bags of promise on hurdling debut for Henderson when second of 12 to Maskada in a 12-runner maiden contest at Warwick.
Palladium raced prominently throughout, before throwing down a strong challenge after the last and failing by just a short-head to get up.
The son of Champs Elysees showed distinct signs of inexperience.
He duly came on for that spin when opening his account in impressive style at Sandown where, despite racing keenly in the early stages, he stretched clear from the second last to easily Brambledon by 11 lengths.
The pair pulled 15 lengths of the third home and 122-rated Hereia, so that gives the form a solid enough look.
Palladium has since followed-up in fine style at the same venue when racing prominently throughout, before forging clear from the two out to slam the 130-rated Flic Ou Voyou by 10 lengths.
He now makes his handicap debut on Cheltenham Festival day 2 off a mark of 137. That looks exploitable judged on that performance.
Palladium is also clearly going the right way, has proven form on soft ground, and hails from a yard operating at a strike rate of 33 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing.
He looks to have lots going for him, so – at 12/1 with Paddy Power who are paying five places – makes plenty of each-way appeal here.