Wednesday sees the first of the real Irish ‘bankers’ with Envoi Allen running for Gordon Elliot, Davy Russell and Cheveley Park Stud in the opener. He’s unbeaten in seven starts and a point-to-point and carries the weight of Irish money behind him.
However, I am not convinced that he’s an out-and-out stayer. I f it turns into a bit of a slog, there is no doubting his ability. I do like Philip Hobbs’ Sporting John and Colin Tizzard’s The Big Breakaway.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Sporting John won.
The Big Breakaway is definitely a horse for the future. His lack of experience may catch him out in this though.
- Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Festival Cheat Sheet
- Frank Hickey’s 3 horses he fancies who are well handicapped
- Paul Jacobs 4 value plays to save the day
- 5 Irish runners to back at the Festival
Nicky Henderson’s Champ was the ante-post favourite for a long time, but I can’t back a horse in the RSA Chase who has fallen on his last start.
There is no doubting his ability, but I am not convinced by his jumping. With 20 fences to negotiate – that’s a big problem. Festival form is a key component for me and Minella Indo won the Grade One Albert Bartlett at this venue last year over hurdles. He is the one I want to be on as he jumps and stays very well.
He looks the one to beat.
The Coral Cup is ultra competitive as usual with up to 28 runners lining up. Dame De Compagnie has risen in the ratings after the horse that she beat won a Listed race at Warwick. They appealed the decision to give her 2lbs more and won it – so if she wins by a short head the team will be pleased!
She was fifth in the Greatwood Hurdle and is a good filly who is still handicapped competitively. Willie Mullins throws eight darts at the board and his Bacchason has some very good form to his name over hurdles and fences.
He’s a live each-way shot in a really tough race.
- Frank Hickey’s best bets for day three at Cheltenham
- Who to back in the Paddy Power’s Stayers’ Hurdle WITHOUT Paisley Park
- Ruby Walsh’s best bets for day three at Cheltenham
- Paddy Power’s day three best bets at Cheltenham
This race has turned on its head now Nicky Henderson has ruled Altior out. I was Altior’s biggest fan but Defi Du SeuiI has been in great form all season and has two previous Festival wins to his name. Chacon Pour Soi has never run at Cheltenham, so we don’t know how he will perform. What we do know is that he beat Defi at Punchestown last season.
His form at Leopardstown reads well as he beat Min at the Dublin Racing Festival in February and he’s a very good yardstick. The momentum is with Defi Du SeuiI now.
Who would bet against the mighty Tiger Roll – he just loves the place. I want to see him win at the Festival for the fifth time but the French challenger Easyland is very strong and a big danger, as is compatriot Urgent De Gregaine.
A Tiger Roll at his peak beats them all.
This juvenile race is a bit of a guessing game. It is a wide-open contest but Nick Williams has had three Cheltenham Festival winners and all have come in handicaps.
His Galahad Quest won a graded race at Cheltenham last time – a Triumph Hurdle trial – but he’s elected to run him here instead. Williams won this contest a few years ago with Flying Tiger.
Galahad Quest looks very good each-way value.
Willie Mullins has a fantastic record in the bumper and has three runners. You get the impression that the No. 1 chance, by some way, is Appreciate It.
He was super impressive at Leopardstown last time and I take him to win the finale on Wednesday.