HONG Kong-based owners' ties with British racing are mostly on the Flat. It is rare that one should have an association with the National Hunt game, which is viewed largely as novelty value by the vast majority of the punting public. But Ambrose Turnbull, the newspaper and media executive, is the exception. Since his days of following the jumping game at Lurgan, County Armagh, in his native Northern Ireland, Turnbull has been fascinated by the brave men and horses who provide the entertainment over the sticks. Tomorrow marks the start of the most glamorous three days' racing in the jumping calendar when the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival commences, and Turnbull has his eyes on a long-held ambition, to see his colours carried to victory in one of the 20 'championship' events. And the horse selected - and favoured in certain quarters - to pull off the feat is Monicasman in Wednesday's Sun Alliance Hurdle, a race for novices (jumpers who have not won a race over hurdles before the start of the current season). Historically, the Sun Alliance Hurdle is one of the toughest to win at the Festival, and many future heroes have their first sight of the testing fences at Cheltenham in this race. But not so Monicasman, who had a 'taster' - albeit without jumps - when running in the Festival Bumper (Flat race for National Hunt horses) last year. Monicasman comes into the race with very good credentials. He has won two of his three starts this year, including a decisive victory in the Ardington NH Novices' Hurdle at Newbury nine days ago. This should serve as the perfect pipe-opener. Although he jumped violently to his left over the last three flights of hurdles, the issue was never in doubt and he came home to win by an easy five lengths from Just 'N Ace. Alan Jarvis, the winning trainer, was quick to rate Monicasman as the best he has trained - and he has had several stars, including Derring Rose and Hill of Slane. Jarvis said: 'My son, Tim, predicted even before Monicasman saw a racecourse that this would prove the best horse we have trained. His forecast is looking good.' The talking points for the week will be whether the grey chaser One Man can rise to the occasion and take the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most coveted trophy in the course cabinet, and whether Alderbrook can take the Smurfit Champion Hurdle for the second successive year. Richard Dunwoody, who rides both horses, survived two crunching falls, one at Chepstow, the other at Sandown Park, on Saturday. He will be resting up in London for two days before journeying down to Cheltenham on the morning of the first day. One Man is being hailed as a new chasing star, and it is hoped that with his grey-coloured coat, and his exuberant jumping style, he will capture the imagination of the sporting public at large. I believe One Man has the talent and jumping skills, but if I were in the boots of his connections, including trainer Gordon Richards, I would be very worried about Dublin Flyer, who is proven at Cheltenham and a horse with a tremendous, fighting heart.