Nicky Henderson 50kb

Henderson Sweet On Chocca’s Chance

Willie Mullins’ followers looking for the canny handler to send out another bucket of winners across the four days will be waiting for Thursday’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (4.50pm), where Limini lines-up as one of his “bankers”.

Mullins’ Limini Looks Real Deal
This ex-French performer is unbeaten in two outings for Mullins, getting off the mark at last season’s Punchestown Festival on good ground, before reappearing in late-January to win a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse (2m2f, heavy).

That 11l victory was mightily impressive, and the fact she barely came off the bridle suggests there is much more to come.

The fact connections are of the view that Limini’s jumping well be even better on decent ground will have Mullins’ followers reaching for their wallets, where they have the opportunity to make a tidy 83% profit upon their investment at odds of 5/6.

Mysaka Offers Each-Way Value
However, there will be others looking for each-way value against the favourite, courtesy of Limini’s stablemate, Mysaka (7/1), who won her first three outings, including a Listed victory at Taunton over Christmas (2m, heavy). Disappointment followed a month later when beaten 26l at odds-on, but was coughing afterwards, and could bounce back at Cheltenham having been rested since.

Mullins’ strong hand is further supplemented by the 4yo, Apple’s Jade (12/1), who won her only race in France, before joining Mullins, for whom she took a Grade 2 over Christmas (2m, heavy). She displayed battling qualities that day, and heads to Cheltenham with sound prospects.

A mention also goes to Mullins’ 4yo, Ria D’Etel, who won a Listed hurdle on just her second career outing in France last September before going to Ireland, and it will be interesting if any money arrives ahead of race time.

Brits’ Talk Looks Smart
Away from the Mullins’ battalion is Brian Ellison’s 6yo, Smart Talk (7/1), who is 4-6 over hurdles and showed major improvement in landing a Listed event in December (2m3f), prior to Grade 2 success at Doncaster (2m, good). That last victory in late-January oozed class, and her ability to handle decent ground will make her a serious contender if lining-up (also entered in Mares’ Hurdle over further).

The Brits also have Bloody Mary (12/1), an ex-French bumper/hurdles winner, who won on her debut for Nicky Henderson last month (2m, heavy). Considering that was her first outing since September, it’s fair to say there should be more improvement to come, as she wasn’t under maximum pressure when coming over 2l clear.

Henderson Sweet On Chocca’s Chance
Henderson has another live chance in Chocca Wocca (14/1), runner-up in the Listed bumper at Aintree in April (2m1f, good), before her belated return last month when making a winning debut over hurdles. (2m, soft). She too is entitled to come on for the outing, and looks well priced at 14/1.

Recommended Bets
Limini is an exciting prospect and deserves favoritism…

but at bigger odds is Chocca Wocca, who showed good form as a bumper, and can only improve from her winning hurdles debut last month.

*Prices correct at time of publication.