Cryptic requires rain before Philip Hobbs decides on his Cheltenham plans. Cryptic had a 10lb penalty to overcome coming into this race, but he had by far the best form and he won the opening race the Connaught Novices' Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday in a hack canter. He made most of the running and went right away from his opposition in the home straight to win easing down.
He looks a real galloper and stamina is clearly his strong suit, so the Albert Bartlett Hurdle against fellow novices might be Cheltenham option, but the Pertemps Final, in which he currently has 9st 13lb plus a penalty would be attractive to Philip Hobbs if top-weight Millenium Royal stays in.
He is generally available at between 12-1 and 16-1 for both races, but Hobbs stresses that he would want rain before committing him to either. Stan James cut the six-year-old from 16s to 12s for the Albert Bartlett Spa Hurdle whilst he was also cut into 12s (from 14s) for the Pertemps Hurdle.