Ruby Walsh: Angels will need to take our breath away to justify the hype

Top jock Ruby Walsh is putting his feet up this weekend but will be glued to the tellybox for all the Cheltenham clues ...



I’m sitting it out this weekend but there’s some decent contests in Ireland and the UK as the Cheltenham Festival looms ever closer.

Nicky Henderson’s Angels Breath has been a talking horse since being bought after winning a point-to-point in Ireland and was visually impressive when he bolted up at Ascot on his recourse debut in the UK, although he may have beaten very little. He only jumped four hurdles that day and he’ll really need to be winning the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices Hurdle at 3pm at Kempton on Saturday, if he’s to justify the hype surrounding him for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Earlier, in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle at 2.25pm, which has been a useful trial for the Triumph Hurdle in the past to gauge the strength of the English runners, Paul Nicholls saddles three newcomers. But the English trainers are going to have to provide a convincing winner here, if they’re to challenge Sir Erec at the Festival.

My old boss may have a better chance with Secret Investor in the Novice Chase at 1.50pm and in the 3m handicap chase at 3.35pm, it’s interesting that he’s stepping the Barry Geraghty-ridden Modus right up in trip as he’s been running predominantly over 2m to 2m4f in his career.

I’ve always thought he needed to go further and this looks an ideal opportunity to win a nice prize at a decent price.


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We’ve a couple of runners at Fairyhouse on Saturday, the feature of which is the Bobbyjo Chase.

Fairyhouse 2.15pm

Farid hasn’t brought his homework to the track at all and was fifth under Mark Walsh to Carlo Biraghi at Punchestown, earlier this year. A couple of horses ahead of him, Andalusa and Fenta Des Obeaux, have been beaten since, so they haven’t exactly franked the form.

Until Farid produces his homework on the track he’s probably best watched.

Fairyhouse 2.50pm

Eight and Bob was a winner 28 days ago for my wife and the Act D Wagg Syndicate over three miles but drops back in trip here to 2m 4f. He did it well the last day but I’m not sure the shorter distance is ideal. The one good thing is that he’ll carry a lighter weight, because this is a better race. He could have an each-way chance.

Fairyhouse 4pm

No Presenting Percy in the field but Willie Mullins throws two darts at the board with Rathvinden and Pleasant Company in a race he’s won six times in the last eight years.

Pleasant Company ran well in the Thyestes Chase and is a previous winner of this contest in 2017. He probably has the fitness edge over Rathvinden. David Mullins – who rode him to be second to Tiger Roll in the Aintree Grand National – is on board.

Paul Townend rides Rathvinden who hasn’t run since winning the four-mile amateur race at Cheltenham almost 12 months ago. His target is the Aintree Grand National in April, so he could improve for the run.

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What do you think?