Grandouet tipped to spring a surprise

15 December 2012 04:34:33 EST

Nicky Henderson's Grandouet has looked one of the most exciting horses in training since he first appeared as a novice hurdler.

But a fetlock injury last season saw him laid off - and out of the Cheltenham Festival - just as he was on a serious upward curve.

I'm expecting a really bold show from my lad [Grandouet] on ground that he should handle ok.

Barry Geraghty

He comes out again today at Cheltenham in the  and the fact that he's being plunged in against the current Champion hurdler Rock On Ruby and Zarkandar is a demonstration of just how highly his trainer rates him. He is 5/2 to win the race, while Rock On Ruby is 5/2 while Zarkander is 6/5.

His jockey Barry Geraghty is buoyant too, declaring: "I'm giving Rock On Ruby all the respect that's due to a reigning Champion Hurdler but I'm expecting a really bold show from my lad on ground that he should handle ok.

"And it's not all about Rock On Ruby because his old stablemate Zarkandar will be a serious problem getting 4lb from us both because that puts him ahead on official figures."

For all that, Grandouet has won his races - one against Overturn - with all the ease of a horse out of the very top drawer and is worth an interest today.

In the Paul Stewart Ironspine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at  Alan King's Walkon will take all the beating although Nadiya De La Vega may be closer to him than on their last clash being five lbs better off at the weights.

Proceedings are kicked off at 12.15 when the high class Paul Nicholls novice hurdler Far West clashes again with King's Handazaan who - after being beaten on his debut by the horse - improved last time on the heavy and may just turn the tables on ground he appears to like.

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