The Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury and the Istabraq Hurdle at Leopardstown are the big races on another bumper Saturday of racing action but the big news this morning is Peter Casey's announcement that his stable star Flemenstar will go for the Queen Mother Champion Chase instead of the Gold Cup.
Rory Jiwani of StanJames.com said, "Flemenstar clearly didn't stay the three miles in the Lexus Chase and Peter Casey has decided to drop him in trip for the Champion Chase at the Festival. He might be able to put it up to Sprinter Sacre, but Nicky Henderson's ace looks bombproof and we're offering a top price of 11/2 about the Irish hope.
"There are plenty of Festival pointers on display today, not least here at Leopardstown where Hurricane Fly faces four rivals in the Istabraq Hurdle at 2.00. Willie Mullins' charge should win comfortably and his price of 2/9 reflects that. We go 6/4 that he wins by up to and including 5 lengths, and 6/4 more than 5 lengths. He's currently 5/1 for the StanJames Champion Hurdle behind 7/2 favourite Darlan.
"Mullins also saddles the big two in the Grade 3 mares' hurdle at 2.35 with Zuzka even money from 5/4 and Glens Melody, ridden by Ruby Walsh, a 2/1 chance. We go 3/1 that Zuzka wins by up to and including 3 lengths, and 3/1 she wins by more than three lengths.
"Pat Fahy's Morning Assembly is 5/2 from 10/3 in the maiden hurdle at 12.55 where Sizing Gold is the 8/11 favourite for Henry De Bromhead. And in the beginners' chase at 1.30, Marasonnien is 9/4 from 11/4 for the crack team of Mullins and Walsh.
"At Newbury, we're going top price about Colour Squadron in the novices' chase at 1.35 with Philip Hobbs' six-year-old currently 5/2. Venetia Williams' Bangor winner Tenor Nivernais is 9/2 from 6/1 with Paul Nicholls' Bury Parade 5/2 from 11/4 after a Carlisle victory over some useful types.
"We're top price every runner in the Mandarin Chase at 2.10 with Charlie Longsdon's Pete The Feat 3/1 favourite to notch a five-timer. Stablemate Rey Nacarado won the race last year and he is 7/2 with AP McCoy in the saddle.
"We've laid Taquin Du Seuil in a cracking Challow Novices' Hurdle at 2.45 with Jonjo O'Neill's five-year-old the 7/4 favourite. Donald McCain's Clondaw Kaempfer is 15/8 with Easter Day 7/2 from 4/1 for Paul Nicholls.
"In the handicap hurdle at 3.15, Bakbenscher is 7/2 from 9/2 for Alan King with Nicky Henderson's Top Of The Range 11/2 from 8/1. And in the last, Supreme hopeful My Tent Or Yours is 4/11 to follow up his win over Taquin Du Seuil at Ascot last month."