Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has readied a talented team for this year, headlined by the progressive Al Dancer, the ante-post favourite for The Festival’s curtain-raiser, the £125,000 Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Tuesday, March 12).
Unbeaten in four starts this term, the six-year-old son of Al Namix recorded an 11-length success in a Cheltenham handicap, the Catesby Handicap Hurdle, in December, before capturing the rearranged Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle at Ascot earlier this month.
Discussing the French-bred gelding, Twiston-Davies said: “Al Dancer has come out of the Betfair Hurdle really well. He won nicely there and that race at Ascot didn’t seem to take too much out of him at all.
“He is very exciting and the softer the ground the better. He is as good a two-mile novice hurdler as I have trained. He was quite free at Ascot and we are thinking that a really true-run two-mile race at Cheltenham will really help him settle, so he should be even better.
“I would say he is our best chance of the week and, if he wins that, I could go home happy.”