Cheltenham Tips: Rory Delargy’s Champion Bumper ante-post plays

Rory shakes down the Grade 1 National Hunt Flat race on Wednesday at the Festival.

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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

The Cheltenham Festival 2023 is edging ever closer and with the off slowly looming in to view we’ve got jump jockey icon turned tactical guru Ruby Walsh and top pundit Rory Delargy with us every week to hopefully get you more bang for your buck.

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The Grade 1 Champion Bumper ante-post betting is headed by It’s For Me but Chapeau De Soleil and Queens Gamble have also been strong in the betting. Let’s see what Rory fancies in the 2023 Champion Bumper.

Rory Delargy: Champion Bumper

Queen’s Gamble has looked very good and both of her runs have come at Cheltenham. She won at the April meeting last year when she beat a well established Listed winner. She was getting 14lb in weight from the runner-up that day, but she won very easily.

You’re always slightly worried about a horse who travels so easily through a race. Are they going to be able to find something off the bridle? When she’s been asked to quicken though, she’s taken off both times and she’s careered up the hill and looked very impressive.

She’s got a good chance in a year when you’re looking to find very solid contenders – certainly among the British contingent You don’t get many British-trained winners of the Champion Bumper. There just won’t be that many British-trained runners in this race so by definition, it’s a lot less likely there will be a British winner.

I’m struggling to find any British-based runner apart from Queen’s Gamble that looks like it’s being specifically aimed at the Champion Bumper.

Willmount possibly looks like the other. He’s promising and the interesting thing about him is that in other years he would have been trained by Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott. But it was Neil Mulholland who got him at the sales.

Willmount should be heading for this race  He didn’t beat anything special at Doncaster but did it nicely and won his point-to-point in good style and attracted a lot of attention. A lot of people were keen to try and buy him.

We know that he’s very good, whether that’s good enough to be competitive in the Champion Bumper I don’t know. There’s a Listed bumper at Newbury next month. I’d like to see him in that. If he’s in the confirmations for that I’d be inclined to back him for the Champion Bumper, before he runs again.

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Tom Mullins’ Fascile Mode is well fancied in the bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival and that’s going to be the key race in the build up to this. That’s the perfect race to run in because of the timing and the class of the field.

Fascile Mode was 16/1 when winning on debut and there’s been plenty of winners from that race already. He is nothing special on pedigree but he looks a bit of a throwback if you go back a few generations to the classier members of the family. But he travelled well on debut, got into a bit of a bumping match, and then came through and won very well.

WillieMullinsMar18c

I quite like Chosen Witness at a bit of a price, but I’d like to know whether it’s the intention to run Willmount. He’s still a big price here ante-post. He’d be interesting.

The other one is John McConnell’s Encanto Bruno, won his point-to-point and the runner up won on debut as well and looks very promising. He then won a slowly-run bumper at Cheltenham in October. Encanto Bruno beat Strong Glance who had won all his races apart from that.

Encanto Bruno won it very nicely and John McConnell said he was green and inexperienced but they’d be targeting something decent in the spring. He’s a nice price but I’d like to hear one or two trainers state their intentions about this race. If you want to back something really solid in the ante-post lists, Queen’s Gamble is the one who looks like a definite starter, barring mishaps.

If their respective trainers came out publicly and said Willmount and Encanto Bruno were being aimed at the Champion Bumper, then they would be very interesting at a working-man’s price.

Rory Delargy’s Champions Bumper ante post picks

Queen’s Gamble
Willmount
Encanto Bruno

*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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