STRATFORD hosts the traditional kick-off to Festival week and Midnight Maestro can swell the coffers ahead of four of the biggest days in the calendar by landing the Sky Bet ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Handicap Hurdle.

His trainer Alan King has an exciting week ahead with the likes of Uxizandre and Yanworth to look forward to and while Midnight Maestro is not of their calibre, he looks just the right type for a race like this.

Midnight Maestro won a Doncaster bumper around this time last year and subsequently changed hands for £100,000 at Tattersalls' Cheltenham sale, so hopes were understandably high for this term.

An initial success at Warwick prompted King to send him to Cheltenham but he proved very disappointing, beating just one horse home after starting to struggle from some way out.

Given a break after that lacklustre show, Midnight Maestro returned to action at Wincanton last month but he ultimately found stablemate Sir Antony Browne three-quarters of a length too good, although he was conceding 6lb to the winner.

That was obviously an improved effort in what were quite trying weather conditions, and while this Midnight Legend gelding may struggle to match his price tag, he can lift this fair prize.

Chandos Belle can get punters off to a winning start in the Sky Bet First Race Special Juvenile Hurdle.

The four-year-old stepped up on her initial third at Doncaster in December to finish a five-length second at Plumpton last time to suggest a win is well within her compass.

She looked as though a step up in trip would aid her hopes, so the extra quarter of a mile here is a definite plus point.

Dr Robin suffered an odds-on reverse last time but can bounce back in the David Cowgill Memorial Handicap Chase.

He was struggling to go the pace dropped back to two miles at Ffos Las, so a switch back up in distance looks a logical move.

Rude And Crude posted a reasonable effort when returning from a long break over fences for the first time and he should have made significant progress ahead of the Six Nations Rugby At 188Bet Handicap Chase at Plumpton.

Merely a moderate performer over hurdles, Rude And Crude was a point to point winner back in 2014 so he should certainly be able to jump a fence.

He was certainly more than holding his own on the jumping front at Leicester last month but the fact he had been on the sidelines for a year really told when the pace upped a notch and Rude And Crude backpedalled significantly in the closing stages.

That outing should have knocked the rust off though, and dropped 5lb to a mark of 100, he should acquit himself well for Gary Moore (pictured).

Ckalco Des Loges suffered a heavy defeat last time but can get back on the right track in the Champions League Betting At 188Bet Maiden Hurdle at Chepstow.

Horsted Keynes can make the most of a slight drop in class to claim the Cheltenham Free Bets For Fallers Handicap at Chelmsford.

David Simcock has been pitching his runner in some decent class two events, most recently when lining up at Lingfield last week.

Horsted Keynes had to settle for third that day – the same place he filled on his previous two outings - but he remains competitive off 91 and slightly easier company should help his chances.

Footlight perhaps paid the price for setting the early fractions at Newcastle last time so should not be dismissed in the Cheltenham Extra Places Every Day Handicap.

While she has yet to win away from Southwell on the all weather, she has been regularly placing at the other winter Flat venues and surely it is only a matter of time until things go her way.


CHEPSTOW: 2.20 Supapowers, 2.50 L Frank Baum, 3.25 Ckalco Des Loges, 4.00 Wabanaki, 4.30 Ratify, 5.00 Lunar Flow, 5.00 Warthog.

CHELMSFORD: 5.50 Casablanca, 6.20 Mustarrid, 6.50 Horsted Keynes, 7.20 Footlight, 7.50 Sawlaat, 8.20 Menelik.

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Solighoster, 2.30 Clonusker, 3.05 Rude And Crude, 3.40 Minella Gathering, 4.10 Top And Drop, 4.40 Big Georgie, 5.10 Thundering Home.

STRATFORD: 2.10 Chandos Belle, 2.40 Lucky Jim, 3.15 MIDNIGHT MAESTRO (NAP), 3.50 Dr Robin, 4.20 Olofi, 4.50 Clondaw Castle.

DOUBLE: Midnight Maestro and Chandos Belle.