NOW that the weights have come out for the handicap races, we have a slightly clearer picture of who will be running where at the Cheltenham Festival.

As usual the handicaps are wide open but there are a couple of each-way bets to be had.

You can take the prices now at non-runner, no bet terms – or wait until the day of the race when there may be more places on offer at slightly shorter odds.

The Coral Cup is always one of the toughest puzzles to solve but IRISH HILL looks to have solid place credentials for Paul Nicholls.

Like many entered in this, he’s also in the closing Martin Pipe hurdle and would be of interest there too.

He was impressive when moving up in grade to score smoothly at Ascot on February 18.

He sat close to the pace and pressed the accelerator between the final two flights to settle a competitive contest quickly.

There will be more pace on at Cheltenham but he travels well and should be open to improvement.

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His best efforts have come on good to soft ground and he’s likely to get those conditions at the Festival.

There will be the usual strong challenge from Ireland but offers of 14-1 look fair enough to make the frame.

It may have been seven years since a British-trained horse won the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle but PERSEUS WAY could break the home team’s duck – or reward each-way support at 12-1 at least.

Gary Moore’s four-year-old ran a good race when second to Nusret in the Adonis at Kempton on Saturday.

The Joseph O’Brien runner is now favourite for this although connections have hinted that he may swerve Cheltenham and head for Aintree.

Perseus Way suffered interference three out but came through that to hold a handy lead before a mistake at the final flight stopped his momentum.

He kept on strongly again to be beaten just over a length.

He’s another suited by decent ground and this proved his ability to run at a high level.

A place on the Fred Winter podium looks within his grasp.


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IRISH HILL at 14-1 for the Coral Cup (he’s also 16-1 for the Martin Pipe)

PERSEUS WAY at 12-1 for the Boodles Fred Winter Hurdle


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