Timeform pick out the three best bets at Cheltenham on Friday…
“…she should be very competitive…”
Timeform on Arian
This is competitive, but it could be worth siding with the handily-weighted Crooks Peak, who is having his first run for the in-form Dan Skelton yard back over hurdles after undergoing a wind operation. He ran a solid race on his final start for Philip Hobbs when second over fences at Kempton in October, and has joined a yard who are adept at improving new recruits. He is 3 lb lower than his last win over hurdles and should be ready to roll.
Arian lost her way for John Flint, but has taken advantage of a reduced mark to win both of her starts for Philip Hobbs this season. She proved better than ever when winning at Newton Abbot in October and progressed again to follow up at Warwick last month, scoring with more in hand than the two-length margin suggests. The manner in which Arian travelled and jumped on that occasion suggests she has even more to offer and she should be very competitive from a 7 lb higher mark.
It could be worth taking a chance on the Venetia Williams-trained Fanion d’Estruval. He made a mockery of his opening mark when making a winning start for the yard in a handicap chase at Newbury last season, and he shaped most encouragingly on his return to action in a handicap on the Old Course at the November meeting, beaten only by a well-handicapped, race-fit rival. He looks very interesting stepped back up in grade and this longer trip should be within range.