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The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle has been an excellent race for the Irish over the past decade with seven of the previous 10 winners trained in Ireland. Gaillard Du Mesnil heads the ante-post market after his victory at the Dublin Racing Festival for Willie Mullins and the Donnelly family. BOB OLINGER, also a Grade 1 winner at Naas in early January is another leading contender trained by Henry de Bromhead and owned by the Robcour team. Mullins is the leading trainer with a total of four victories, with Fivefourthree, Mikael d’Haguenet, Faugheen and Yorkhill his previous winners.
Nine of the last 10 winners where aged six, which is a positive for Bob Olinger – with The New One the last five-year-old to secure victory in 2013. Another supporting trend towards the chances of the De Bromhead runner comes via the point-to-point scene.
Six of the previous seven Irish winners all managed to win a point-to-point before developing over hurdles and landing this Grade 1. Appreciate It is unlikely to race here which sees Bravemansgame the only other horse at single digit odds at the moment – Willoughby Court was the only horse to win this race in 2017 at double digit odds within the past decade.
Willie Mullins can become the leading trainer in this race if MONKFISH can remain unbeaten and continue his remarkable first season after fences. The Closutton handler has won this race four times previously since 1998, with Nicky Henderson and Fulke Walwyn also training the winner on four occasions.
The home team have the edge in the past decade with six of the last 10 winners, including the last two with Topofthegame and Champ. It’s been an excellent race for horses aged seven and eight with just one winning six-year-old (Don Poli in 2015) since the success of Florida Pearl, also for Willie Mullins in 1998.
The trend would go against the overall chances of both The Big Breakaway and recent Scilly Isles winner Sporting John if contesting this Grade 1. Elsewhere, nine of the previous 10-winners ran at least three times over fences which is trend against Eklat De Rire if turning up here for Henry de Bromhead. In summary, Monkfish has the form in the book and positive trends to secure victory and could become fourth winning favourite in the past seven years if securing victory.
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Another Grade 1 and another Willie Mullins Irish banker in the shape of Chacun Pour Soi, who is hoping to become the first Queen Mother Champion Chase winner for the Closutton team. It’s the only one of the four championship races at the Festival that Mullins has failed to win, with Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls training a joint record among of six winners each. Dual winner Altior is hoping to turn back the clock for Henderson, while Politologue is the defending champion for team Ditcheat.
It’s been a poor race for the Irish in the past decade with Henry de Bromhead training both Irish winners, Sizing Europe (2011) and Special Tiara (2017). The county Waterford handler looks set to saddle last year’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On and stablemate Notebook. In the world of bizarre coincidence, five of the previous 10 winners had a name starting with the letter “S”, which might be a good sign for follows of Sceau Royal or a surprise run by Samcro.
Elsewhere, the trend on betting has seen only two winners in the past decade win at double digit odds and with only four horses currently under 10/1 in our ante-post book, NUBE NEGRA is a positive for Dan Skelton. In summary, Chacun Pour Soi has the best form and plenty of good trends once forgetting the poor record of Willie Mullins in the feature race on Day Two of 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
From focusing on a race Willie Mullins has never won, we move to the Champion Bumper, a race dominated by the Irish champion trainer since his first victory with Wither or Which in 1996. A record nine winners since, 10 in total – including two of the last three winners, Relegate (2018) and Ferny Hollow last year. Kilcruit is the leading hope for the Closutton team and ante-post favourite following his easy victory at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
However, only two winning favourites have won this final Grade 1 on Day Two of the Festival in the past decade – Moon Racer (2016) for David Pipe and Envoi Allen (2019) for Gordon Elliott. The Cullentra House handler has won two of the previous four renewals with Sir Gerhard just one of his many challengers this year. Four of the last five winners where aged five which is good signs for other possible Elliott runners, Three Stripe Life, Gerri Colombe and Hollow Games.
Eilenndover is the leading home challenger for Pam Sly following an impressive Market Rasen victory in January, but only one four-year-old has won this race since 1995 – Cue Card in 2010. Elsewhere, looking towards the top of the market has not been beneficial over the past decade with six of the previous winners returning at double digit figures. In summary, the best form can be deceiving in this race with Mullins or Elliott most likely to secure victory, but perhaps with a bigger priced winner in either GRANGEE or THREE STRIPE LIFE.
13:20 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Bob Olinger
13:55 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase – Monkfish
15:05 Queen Mother Champion Chase – Nube Negra (Betting Without Chacun Pour Soi)
16:50 Champion Bumper – Grangee & Three Stripe Life
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