You could find winner in Asian Maze

  By Kevin Hussey   The promised land is now in sight for National Hunt enthusiasts, with the annual jamboree in the Cotswolds due to begin next Tuesday. Each year the anticipation seems to be heightened by extensive media coverage and, locally, the proliferation of preview evenings in which Roscommon participated last Monday.       The first day is dominated by the Champion Hurdle, which features an intriguing confrontation between the old enemies. Detroit City heads the market and this very tough grey bids fair to emulate his celebrated stablemate, Rooster Booster in the hurdling blue riband. Time connoisseurs are devoted followers of this relentless galloper, but Ireland has a significant challenge through Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace and Macs Joy – and in the back of the mind, Harchibald, who has rather disgraced himself here before. Straw Bear has also posted some decent time figures and the whole issue is in the melting pot. It is very hard to be confident about anything, but Asian Maze, wherever she goes, looked a star last year and may reward faithful followers at some time during the week.        The Arkle Chase is also highly competitive. The diminutive Fair Along  heads the market, but the likely soft ground and a stiff track will hardly suit. There are several pretenders to the novices’ title, not least the proven class of My Way De Solzen, but at a sporting price, Good Spirit made a good impression at this trip at Kempton and is from a very powerful stable.        The handicaps are hard to analyse at this point, so it may be best to look at the conditions races. On Wednesday, Aran Concerto carries the dead man’s burden of  favouritism in the Ballymore Properties Hurdle, but he has looked a class act. More solid form is boasted by Silverburn and My Turn Now, while there is persistent support for Scotsirish – a topical tip.        The Sun Alliance Chase has long looked a lay down for Denman, but even money is hardly appealing and an each-way interest on the most promising Snowy Morning is much more attractive. This is an improving young horse.        The highlight for Wednesday is the Queen Mother Chase, where the semi retired Well Chief made a great comeback recently. However, it is hard to fault the underrated Newmills, who is in great form and will be hard to dethrone from his lofty pedestal of last year. The high class Dempsey also merits consideration, but he may be better at tracks other than Cheltenham.        According to the bookies, the jockeys’ title is reserved for Ruby Walsh, but 7/4 makes little appeal in this annual lottery. Established proficients like Murphy, Fitzgerald, Geraghty and Carberry  are more attractive once their full books of rides are known.