The Cheltenham Festival gets underway on Tuesday and we have an awful lot to look forward to over the four days, particularly in Pembrokeshire where a number of horses from the region could be involved. Alongside the sport’s great horses such as Altior, Tiger Roll, Epatante, Al Boum Photo, Benie Des Dieux and Paisley Park, local handler Rebecca Curtis is set to be represented by three entries at the four-day meeting.

Curtis has a fine record at the Cheltenham Festival, enjoying four victories at 'The Greatest show on Turf' courtesy of Teaforthree (National Hunt Chase), At Fishers Cross (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle) and O’Faolains Boy (RSA Chase) also in 2015 Irish Cavalier. Similarly, her overall record at the track is respectable with 14 winners from 155 runners, a competitive 9% strike-rate. Curtis’ trio of runners this year are all big prices, but all look to have interesting claims in their respective targets.

Ruthless Article holds multiple entries, but connections are favouring a tilt at the Coral Cup, an ultra-competitive handicap hurdle on Wednesday, March 11. The seven-year-old backed up victory at Bangor in August with success at Newton Abbot in September. Returning from a break in Grade Two company at Cheltenham in January, he was not disgraced in sixth behind Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle contender Harry Senior and is interesting pitched into handicap company for the first time. A mark of 138 looks fair and he could be an interesting each-way player at around the 20/1 mark given this trip looks ideal and he is unexposed.

Sunset Showdown runs in the JP McManus colours and was a €58,000 purchase back in 2016. He enjoyed a fine summer campaign which featured three victories from six races, culminating in a creditable second in handicap company at Cheltenham in October. The seven-year-old looked badly in need of the run when last of five at Uttoxeter in January in testing ground, but it would be folly to overlook him based on that effort. A mark of 134 could be lenient in a wide-open renewal of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle on Thursday, March 12. Whilst this race is invariably usually ultra-competitive he could outrun his current odds of 33/1.

Curtis’ chief hope of the week looks set to be Lisnagar Oscar, who will target Graded honours in the Grade One Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday, March 12. After an inauspicious start to the campaign which featured two defeats over fences and disappointing efforts back over hurdles at Haydock and Warwick, the son of Oscar roared back to form to finish a fine third to Paisley Park in the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January.

The seven-year-old remains unexposed over a longer trip and whilst he will have to improve again, he is not without a chance at around the 20/1 mark. The Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park is bidding to become the first horse since Big Bucks to win multiple renewals of the three-mile hurdling championship and looks a tough nut to crack. However, Lisnagar Oscar is progressive and could run into a place for Curtis and his syndicate owners Racing For Fun.

Rebecca Curtis Cheltenham Festival Entries:

Ruthless Article - Coral Cup (25/1, March 11), Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (100/1, March 13) or Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle (50/1, March 13)

Sunset Showdown - Pertemps Network Final (33/1, March 12)

Lisnagar Oscar - Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (20/1, March 12)

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