Oli to make the Irish smile.
After a remarkable recovery from serious injury - he'll run with three screws in his leg - the People's Champion is back on his favourite centre stage.
And Irish trainer Tom Foley, the man with the crumpled face and suit to match, last night warned: HE'S BETTER THAN EVER.
What an epic race. Plucky mare Mysilv is likely to pull the field along at a decent clip but could be a sitting duck.
I expect Danoli to be handy throughout and Tom Treacy will try to take the sting out of Alderbrook's electric finishing burst by challenging before the home turn.
Reigning champion Alderbrook was majestic 12 months ago and I'll take my hat off to Kim Bailey if he can deliver an action replay.
But soft ground looks a must for Alderbrook who has been operated on to remove bone chips from his knee joints. The likely fast going could be his undoing, similarly for mud-loving Collier Bay.
The ground was decent when Danoli lifted the Sun Alliance Hurdle as a novice two years ago and although he could finish only third to Alderbrook last year Foley is quick to offer a plausible explanation.
"He rapped the third last hurdle hard and came home very sore, so much so that we couldn't put a hand on him for a week afterwards. We also had a rush to get him ready after being held up.
"His preparation has gone a lot more smoothly this year and he's at his peak. I'm not frightened of Alderbrook and I think Mysilv is as big a danger as anything."
Foley isn't concerned about the going.
"Danoli doesn't need it soft and he'll be there even if they run the race up Cheltenham High Street!"
Hotel Minella has the assistance of Charlie Swan and they have to be on the short-list.
I've supported DANOLI (3.30) at an each way price to beat Alderbrook - I'd advise you to do the same.
The Supreme Novices curtain-raiser was won by the Irish last year and Ladbroke winner DANCE BEAT (2.15) is my tip.
She is a tough sort who will handle the rough and tumble of a big field better than many of these novices.
Kimanicky looked pretty decent at Kempton and Castle Sweep has done nothing wrong all season, although this is a more searching examination.
ARCTIC KINSMAN (2.50), a runaway winner at the Festival two years ago, is a progressive type over fences and might well prove good enough.
The game, consistent MAAMUR (4.5) can win the last of the TV races.
Len Lungo's Attadale ran a cracker under a big weight to finish a close sixth last year, but won't run if the ground is firm
I side with PHARANEAR (5.15), a wide margin winner at Warwick.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Mar 12, 1996|
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