IT'S the International Meeting at Cheltenham today and that's where my focus lies but I also have one running at Doncaster that looks a great bet too and we'll start with that first.

1.40 Doncaster

AMOUR DE NUIT for Paul Nicholls runs here with Bryony Frost taking a handy 5lb off the weight.  That should be enough to get this classy horse over the line in a race that is a good bit easier than the last race he ran in with Flying Tiger being the only strong danger.

1.55pm Cheltenham

This is a race with plenty of quality horses in it and a few old friends like Ballyalton, Clan Des Obeaux and Romain De Senam.  It's important in jumps racing not to get too focussed on the classy spring festival horses at this time of year when the ground is soft and it's bloody freezing outside.  It's a different game.

That's why trainers like Venetia Williams do so well in deepest winter with horses that relish the very different conditions. Another trainer in that mould is Evan Williams who saddles KINGS ODYSSEY here today.  He likes the heavier ground and is due a good run in a big race like this.  He fell last year when he was travelling well and I think he'll be there or thereabouts if he can stay on his feet.

3.05pm Cheltenham

Faithful followers will know that I absolutely love The New One who is so reliable and honest but he is getting on a bit and certainly isn't capable of any improvement at this age.  MELON on the other hand is very much capable of improvement and I think he will do just that.

Second in a very strong supreme novices hurdle at the festival back in March which has thrown up subsequent winners like Elgin and High Bridge who finished back in 7th and 9th positions.  It was a classy race no doubt about it.  Melon finished second to the freak that is Labaik and I think we'll see Melon improve significantly this year.

The price on offer today, although shorter than I would normally get involved with, will look like an absolute gift come half 3 today.



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