THE Cheltenham Festival is looming for jump racing enthusiasts next week and local trainers have their targets in mind, writes Graham Saveker

Tuesday’s big race is the Champion Hurdle with last years winner Honeysuckle is odds-on favourite to repeat the triumph whilst Much Marcle trainer Tom Lacey has the lively outsider Glory And Fortune as a 40/1 shot with his trainer saying of the Welsh Champion Hurdle and Betfair Hurdle winner.

Lacey said: “He’s in great form and we are all looking forward to seeing him run. Our expectations are very much realistic.”

Despite the strong Irish challenge as usual for the meeting Lacey is still supportive of the main UK challenger Edwardstone in the Arkle Challenge Chase on the opening day of the meeting trained by Alan King.

Lacey confirms the view of many who won last time out at Warwick, saying of the improving chaser.

He added: “ He has a progressive profile over fences and is a hard horse to knock. He jumps well and goes on all surfaces and has settled much better for a fence.”

Lacey does however have strong views on the Irish duo of Dino Blue and Facile Vega who he feels have very strong chances to keep up the trainer Willie Mullins’ impressive success rate at Cheltenham.

Kings Caple based trainer Venetia Williams is approaching the Cheltenham Festival meeting with hopes that another big-race success is on the cards with the chances of L’Homme Presse and that of Royale Pigaille.

Her seven-year-old L’Homme Presse is seen as the leading British contender for the Turners Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles on the Thursday of the Festival and has been one of the major improvers of the season since his trainer sent him over fences.

Byton trainer Kerry Lee also has her Storm Control as an entry in the opening day’s Ultima Handicap Chase and the nine year old is sure to enjoy the better going likely at Cheltenham than the soft ground at Doncaster last time out which saw him pull up.