Cheltenham Tips: Ruby Walsh’s 12/1 National Hunt Chase ante-post fancy

The National Hunt Chase for amateur riders is full of intrigue but Ruby Walsh thinks Mahler Mission will be targeted at it.

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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

Cheltenham Festival 2023 is eight weeks away and counting and racing fans will be looking for a little bit of insight into every race, so 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.

The National Hunt Chase  seems a wide open affair as it brings the curtain sown on the opening day on Tuesday, March 14th.

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RUBY WALSH: National Hunt Chase preview

Patrick Mullins has been making the case for GAILLARD DU MESNIL.

He obviously wants him to take part in this as the stable’s amateur rider and he’s trying to say: “Well, look he wasn’t good enough in last year’s Brown Advisory Chase and had fallen short at Grade 1 level until he did beat Churchstonewarrior at Leopardstown over Christmas”.

That race fell apart with a few fallers in the back straight but I can see Patrick’s point. Paul Townend is probably saying to Willie Mullins that he’s entitled to his place in the Brown Advisory Chase instead,  because I’m not sure what else Willie has in mind for him.

I’m sure Willie will have a chat with the owners Joe and Marie Donnelly to see what they think. He qualifies for the race the NH Chase over 3m 6f, but he’ll obviously run at the Dublin Racing Festival in February and we’ll get a bigger indication then as to where he’s going to go. If he drops back in trip at Leopardstown and was to win another Grade 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if he runs in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase over 3m instead.  

All’s fair in love and war with jockeys looking for Cheltenham rides and these are just one-line comments dropped in every now which you hope will  land, depending on your agenda!

Willie Mullins has RAMILLIES from Willie Mullins too and there’s also KILCRUIT  too but will he step up to 3m 6f having run over 2m to 2m 4f so far in his career? Nicky Henderson’s CITY CHIEF would be a bit better and is owned by the Donnelly’s also. Ramillies didn’t look to stay behind The Nice Guy both times he went up to three miles last year and will have to stay a further 6f in the NH Chase. TENZING is also entered but will have to improve.

Gaillard Du Mesnil

Two other horse have caught my eye. The John McConnell-trained MAHLER MISSION would definitely be an interesting contender and Henry de Bromhead’s AMIRITE is a wonderful jumper (though did unseat Rachael Blackmore last time at Leopardstown) and looks like a really strong stayer in the making.

Willie Mullins obviously has a couple of handicappers in there like CAPTAIN KANGAROO and CHAVEZ who unseated his rider early at Down Royal. There are plenty entered of horses in there but obviously GAILLARD DU MESNIL stands out. I would watch the Dublin Racing Festival next month and see how Gaillard Du Mesnil gets on. He didn’t quite get home in the Irish Grand National over 3m 5f. 

If Gaillard Du Mesnil is beaten stays on at the second or third last, then Patrick’s case is made stronger. If he wins, Paul’s case gets stronger because he’s won two Grade 1s over shorter trips. You can figure it out for yourself after that.

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Obviously it’s hard to oppose GAILLARD DU MESNIL but at the price is not an ante-post bet to me. I’d be siding with John McConnell’s MAHLER MISSION. I thought he was good at Navan last Saturday under Ben Harvey – he jumps and he stays well.

I’d forgive him his run at Cheltenham in October behind Chemical Energy – that was off the back of a summer’s break and he just needed the run. If you go back through his novice hurdle form, he beat The Real Whacker at Doncaster, was seventh to The Nice Guy in the Albert Bartlett and beat Complete Unknown then at Perth.

I loved how he jumped at Navan, it’s solid and from listening to Ben Harvey’s interview afterwards you got the feeling Mahler Mission will be aimed at the NH Chase – so that always helps in ante-post markets. 

Ruby’s National Hunt Chase pick

Mahler Mission – Cheltenham – National Hunt Chase – Tuesday 14th March, 17:30

*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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