DISCLAIMER: ODDS AND ARTICLE UPDATED 24/02/2019, 18:33.
The Cheltenham Festival is looming up large in front of us, with just days left until the 'Olympics of jumps racing' kicks off in the Cotswolds.
Our series of Cheltenham tips begins with some fancies for day one of the meeting, Tuesday 12th March.
Apple's Jade to Win and Each Way @ 9/4 - BET NOW
Buveur D'Air's bid for three Champion Hurdle wins on the trot comes under major scrutiny now from the opposite sex, with both Apple's Jade and Laurina set to take him on.
The Seven Barrows star scrambled home to beat Melon last year but, as Nicky Henderson admits, that sort of form won't do now. He was impressive in the Fighting Fifth when he swatted aside Samcro but, given how that rival has performed this term, the form is highly-questionable.
He got beaten by stablemate Verdana Blue at Christmas and his Contenders Hurdle win at Sandown since was little more than a glorified workout.
Apple's Jade meanwhile routed the field to win the Irish Champion at Leopardstown, with Melon amongst those that simply couldn't go with her. That win sent her into double figures in terms of Grade 1 wins in her career and, at seven, we really are seeing her form elevated to new levels this term.
Getting 7lb from the two-time winner, Apple's Jade is well positioned to emulate Annie Power in 2016 by winning this race in what is becoming a vintage era for high-class jumping mares.
Real Steel to Win and Each Way @ 12/1 - BET NOW
Willie Mullins nominated this race for Real Steel at a recent stable tour, though the Closutton maestro is awaiting news from the handicapper to find out if he'll get a run.
Should he do so, Real Steel will be one of the more interesting propositions in the Cheltenham odds on day one of the Festival.
He was a faller on his chasing bow at Leopardstown in December (bang in contention at the last when doing so) but has since recorded impressive back-to-back wins.
He seems versatile in terms of trip, with those wins over 2m5½f and 2m2f so far and can also be ridden to lead or take a handy perch in behind – with the latter likely to be preferred should he make this line-up.
His two wins in Ireland suggest there is plenty of potential waiting to be tapped and he is worth following if getting a run.
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