Frank Hickey’s Champion Bumper take and one to watch at Aintree

Frank has picked one to put in your tracker

Frank Hickey

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*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit are likely to go hurdling over different trips following their battle in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, according to Frank Hickey.

The Paddy Power trader was also impressed with third-placed Elle Est Belle at Prestbury Park but believes the five-year-old will have her work cut out in the Mares’ Bumper at Aintree next month.

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Sir Gerhard ended up beating stablemate Kilcruit by just half a length in the Champion Bumper, giving Rachael Blackmore the third of her six wins at this year’s Festival.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Frank said: “There was some serious money for Kilcruit, and he was very well backed.

“We were on a zoom call in the trading room and initially after the race I said ‘I think Paul Townend would probably like that race back again’.

“I nearly got my head bitten off by one of the other traders for suggesting the best horse came second, but I do think that Rachael Blackmore won the race – and the sectionals show that – rather than Sir Gerhard.

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“That’s just what I thought, and the sections back it up. I wasn’t talking out of my pocket either, because I didn’t back Kilcruit!

“They’re two very good horses, but I think Sir Gerhard is a 2-miler while Kilcruit will step up – he’s more of a Ballymore horse, you would imagine.”

6/1
Kilcruit 2022 Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Antepost)

Sir Gerhard Rachael Blackmore Kilcruit Paul Townend

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Behind the front two, Elle Est Belle caught the eye by running on into third ahead of Three Stripe Life, Super Six and Grangee.

The Dan Skelton-trained youngster is now expected to be aimed at Aintree to compete in the Mares’ Bumper but will come up against rising star Eileendover, who is three from three so far during her career.

However, Frank is already looking outside of the pair for a bit of value and thinks he’s found a decent bet in the form of the John Kiely-trained Shuil Valentine – who won comfortably at Naas by 9l on her debut without coming off the bridle.

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“I’m really looking forward to the Mares’ Bumper at Aintree, as I thought Elle Est Belle ran really well in third at Cheltenham,” said Frank.

“She’s going to be really interesting against Eileendover, and there is an Irish one in there as well that I think could go under the radar.

“The John Kiely mare [Shuil Valentine] will hopefully go over and be a price against Eileendover, and I will be getting stuck in each-way if she does take her place.

Kiely won this race in 2009 with Candy Creek and had the second that year in Liss Na Tintri, so he knows what it takes to win the race.”

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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