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Niall O’ Reilly: 13:20 Ballymore Novices Hurdle – Gaillard Du Mesnil
This is obviously a very strong race though I think GAILLARD DU MESNIL could take a lot of beating. He was impressive at the Dublin Racing Festival in a race that probably stretched out his stamina, and I think the slight drop in trip will really suit here.
He’s been very good on the clock on all his starts and to me his form has a deeper look to it than others in the race. Bob Olinger rates a big danger, as does Keskonrisk who caught the eye behind the brilliant Appreciate It at Leopardstown last time.
Dan Collins: 14.30 Coral Cup – Grand Roi
This doesn’t look the greatest renewal of the Coral Cup and one of interest is GRAND ROI who looks to have been laid out for the race. The UK handicapper hasn’t been too harsh on him and he is open to considerable progress back up in trip. His last run when trying to concede 7lbs to Bachasson highlights him as well handicapped, and a big weight in this race is never a negative.
TODAY AT CHELTENHAM
Frank Hickey: 15.40 Cross Country Chase – Hogan’s Height
Tiger Roll has looked a shadow of himself this season, while Easysland will romp home here if replicating the performance he produced when winning this race last year. He was a little disappointing here last November, even allowing for the fact he was conceding plenty of weight. He hasn’t been seen since and it can’t have been Plan A to arrive here without the benefit of a run. As a result, I am looking to play something each way against those two.
Potters Corner could run well but he probably would prefer slower ground and was poor when last seen in a hurdles race. The one that looks worth taking a chance on is HOGAN’S HEIGHT for Jamie Snowden. It is a difficult ask for a horse to be successful on their debut at this discipline but Snowden did train Fact Of The Matter to finish a close second to Josies Orders on his debut over the banks and that horse followed up by winning his second start.
Hogan’s Height is a far better horse than Fact Of The Matter and was extremely impressive when running away with the Grand Sefton at Aintree in December off a mark of 134. He has had two starts over hurdles since, but this discipline could really suit him and I think he has decent claims of hitting the first four at least. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go close at a massive price.
Lorcan O’Rourke: 16:15 Grand Annual – Chosen Mate
Last year’s winner CHOSEN MATE looks primed for a repeat effort here with the switch to the new course and drying ground being major positives. The 9lb rise from last year is reduced to just 2lb when factoring in the jockey’s claim and with a strong gallop expected, Chosen Mate can sit out the back and use his speed to pick up the pieces with a late move. With six places on offer he looks as good an each-way bet as you’ll find all week.
Conor Murphy: 16:15 Grand Annual – Zanza
ZANZA was still right there with a chance when he was unlucky to fall three from home here at the end of last year. Sky Pirate and Ibleo, who reoppose, were the 1-2 that day and have gone up over a stone each since then. He travels very strongly through his races so a strong pace shouldn’t inconvenience him and he looks a well-handicapped horse who can do damage off this mark.
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Ryan McCue: 16:50 Champion Bumper – Sir Gerhard
SIR GERHARD showed at Navan last time that he can quicken off a slow pace and the fact he stays so well, he looks to have all the assets required to win this race. He looks a straightforward type of ride and I don’t think the stable switch will inconvenience him so he looks rock solid.
Allan Byrne: 16.50 Champion Bumper – Kilcruit
Plenty has been made of KILCRUIT‘s time the last day suggesting he wasn’t as good as it looked on first glance but he beat an excellent yardstick as he wanted and he will take all the beating here. We look to have two very exciting horses here with Sir Gerhard having done nothing wrong, but I have to be in the Kilcruit camp.
READ MORE ON CHELTENHAM 2021
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s Cheat Sheet for all 4 days of the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Frank Hickey’s NAP for each day of 2021 Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Our Championship races cheat sheet for the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s sizzling Lucky 15 for the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: 5 former festival winners Paddy’s pundits think will strike again in 2021
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle antepost bets
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s County Hurdle antepost picks
- Cheltenham tips: Gina Bryce’s top picks in the championship races