Cheltenham Tips: Ruby Walsh fancies this 12/1 double on Ballyburn & Slade Steel

Ruby reckons Ballyburn & Slade Steel can confirm the Dublin Racing Festival form at next month's Festival - in two separate races.

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Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Countdown double

Ballyburn & Slade Steel to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle & Baring Bingham Hurdle respectively

          In the fifth of this year’s Paddy Power Media’s ‘From The Horse’s Mouth’ podcast Cheltenham Countdown’, host Tom Nugent together with former champion jockey turned tv pundit Ruby Walsh and well-known journalist and broadcaster Rory Delargy, look at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

                RUBY WALSH

                Ballyburn was impressive in Dublin despite racing a bit free. But that’s how he runs – Paul Townend said that he did get a bit keen, maybe, as they slowed down and headed away from the third hurdle around the bend to the fourth hurdle, and he was happy enough to take him back there.

                I was impressed with the pace he showed. That was a question mark you would have had with him, seeing as he had been beaten by Firefox over two miles and had won a two-and-a-half mile maiden. But the ease with which he travelled over the first three hurdles, the way he jumped. From a long way out, you were looking at this race thinking that the two horses that you might have had question marks over at two miles  – himself and Slade Steel – were in control  from a long, long way from home.

                They both showed pace and Ballyburn showed a better turn of foot when they rounded the home turn and past the bypassed last hurdle. I thought Ballyburn  was able to quicken up better than Slade Steel. But I loved the way Slade Steel kept going behind him. I thought it was a good race, and two very good horses came to the fore.

                I’d say pecking order as in Ballyburn probably opened the door to go both races – it was always open for him but he’s proved that he can go two miles and there’s no doubt about him going two and a half. As regards pecking order, Mystical Power was a very good winner of the Moscow Flyer, he absolutely bolted in when he beat Jigoro. It will depend on what way Willie Mullins goes about it – I would be surprised were Mystical Power to go up to two and a half miles in the Baring Bingham Hurdle seeing as his three runs to date have been at two miles.
                Pedigree wise, I would have no doubt about him staying that two and a half mile trip being by Galileo out of Annie Power. I wouldn’t see any difficulty with Mystical Power staying, but whether he or Ballyburn goes up in trip, I’m not so sure.

                Willie Mullins was at pains not to even to attempt to answer the question yesterday and I most certainly haven’t asked him in the last 24 hours so I don’t know.

                Willie Mullins

                You couldn’t be ‘taking on’ Ballyburn after Sunday’s performance and I have no idea if he will run in the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle or the Baring Bingham Hurdle on the Wednesday. It’s non-runner money back, and I’d be inclined to do the ‘related double’ myself. I’d go for Ballyburn in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Slade Steel in the Baring Bingham.

                They were first and second on Sunday and if Ballyburn doesn’t run in the Supreme, you’re getting your money back. If he does run and Slade Steel runs in the Baring Bingham Hurdle then that’s a bet I’d do under Non Runner Money Back terms  until we know who is running in what race.

                      Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Countdown double

                      Ballyburn & Slade Steel to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle & Baring Bingham Hurdle respectively

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