By Dave Nevison
It has been a case of Nicky Henderson versus the whole of Ireland this week at Cheltenham and nobody can say that the champion trainer has not put up stern resistance.
The war, if there actually is one, is all but lost but I believe more battles can still be won on the final day. All four of my selection are trained by Henderson.
Serious contenders in the JP McManus colours take the Cheltenham route to the Triumph and Apple’s Shakira has followed that well trodden path in seriously impressive style.
Her ability to go into overdrive up the Cheltenham hill, even when sometimes appearing to be struggling, will I believe be too much for Redicean, who has followed the alternative Kempton juvenile route, and the rest of a strong field.
Looked an out and out stayer when digging in really deep here to beating Black Op, who did the form no harm on Wednesday.
Conditions were very similar to what they will be on Friday and the step up in trip will certainly suit.
I have been with this horse pretty much from the start and he done me nothing but good - admittedly bringing on the possibility of an early heart attack along the way.
Heavy going and an extra two furlongs are the unknowns but he is a class act; as are his trainer and jockey.
To me, he is by far the best horse in the race. I am well in front backing him and am willing to risk some of the profits once more.
Those who have seen the Racing UK Cheltenham previews I have done will know my views on this horse.
He has been my nap of the meeting since his run in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, where he finished a not hard ridden fifth under Mitch Bastyan who to my eyes had left things a little late.
James Bowen takes over this time, which is clearly a significant plus, and I believe the uphill finish will suit him ideally. The one doubt is the ground but I will take a chance in a big way.
Dave's top tips for Friday:
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