Mick Fitzgerald: Here’s who I’m backing for the Welsh Champion Hurdle

FFos Las is the destination for Mick Fitz with the Welsh Champion Hurdle taking centre stage - here are his tips

Mick Fitzgerald


2:10 Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

The opening race is confined to mares and local trainers have good records at this track so Grania OMalley is a confident choice in this.

The trainer has his team in great form having won the two big races last weekend at Chepstow. Arian could be a decent each-way shot too.

2:45 Juvenile Hurdle

Eragon de Chanay showed up really well until getting tired behind a rival that is now rated 132 at Market Rasen last time, he was impressive in France on a soft surface and you would expect him to improve for his first run for Gary Moore.

The danger could be the battle hardened Joseph O’Brien trained Pronounced, when declarations were made for this he was not in the original line-up.

He only came back in when the race was reopened, so they obviously feel he has a squeak in this.

3:20 Beginners’ Chase

Brelan Das was a ready winner of a handicap hurdle at Wincanton for Paul Nicholls last November and the fact that Barry Geraghty is here to ride him will alert lots of people to this horses chance.

Especially when Kimberlite Candy is in the same ownership. Tobefair rattled up a seven-timer last season and was one of the stories of last year. West Approach is the highest rated of these over hurdles having been placed a few times behind the likes of Stayers Hurdle winner Uknowhatimeanharry.

He has always looked like he will be a better chaser, as his brother Thistlecrack jumped fences pretty well this lad gets the vote.

3:55 Claiming Chase

I am hoping that the Bowen family will be victorious in the claiming chase with Flying Eagle. This lad has won a couple of times at Cartmel lately and even though he is wrong at the weights with Grey Gold, I am hoping that James Bowens 7lb claim can help us. He has winning form at the track which is always useful too.

Grey Gold is the danger.

4:25 Welsh Champion Hurdle

The Welsh Champion Hurdle is surely a gilt edge opportunity for The New One to bag a Champion Hurdle – or is it?

Clyne got pretty close to him at Haydock only beaten a length last year on very soft ground in receipt of 8lbs and this time around he gets 13lb so in theory he should beat him.

Evan Williams has a great record here and everything points to Clyne winning this, however, I feel like a cheat if I go against The New One!

This horse has run some great races against some top class horses. This is a golden chance for Zac Baker to use his 5lb claim to really good effect.

5:00 Handicap Chase

We’ve a trappy little contest on our hands here.

Jonagold has been the busiest of these during the summer and I normally loathe to tip a horse at this time of the year that is coming to the end of their season, but Mitchell Bastyan the rider was the star of the show last weekend at Chepstow.

For Evan Williams, the fact that he is riding this horse and literally stealing 7lbs off this horses back gets him the nod.

5:35 National Hunt Flat Race

I think this could be good little bumper and it is amazing to see Brian Cooper here for one ride.

The market is always the best guide for this race so keep an eye on the price of his mount Duc Kauto. Paul Nicholls trains Cereal Killer who was a real talking horse when trained by Jack Barber last season, he was very impressive in his 2 English Point to Points.

The eye is drawn to a newcomer owned by the man who owns the racecourse – Dai Walters. This horse is trained by Christian Williams who is doing really well. This horse is bound to have had a racecourse gallop, and with Dicky Johnson booked I can’t help but have a little each way punt on this well-bred son of Al Namix.

Gallop over to the latest racing odds on PaddyPower.com

What do you think?