Cheltenham Festival 2022 – Liam’s Selections

I think the 2021 Festival has thrown up many winner who will win again and as boring as they are, I think come the festival barring not making it they will be shorter and most likely winners.

Supreme Novices Hurdle 

Sir Gerhard @ 7/1

Sir Gerhard came into Cheltenham 2021 with a big reputation but maybe not as big as Kilcruits and that was why he didn’t go off favourite. He beat Kilcruit well enough with the pair pulling clear. I think the Champion Bumper will work out really well and Sir Gerhard looked to have the most speed out of the front 2 and surely this will be his target. It’s a race that Cheveley Park have not yet won so I think he will be aimed at this race.

My Mate Mozzie @ 14/1

I first highlighted My Mate Mozzie as a horse to keep onside with the Supreme Novices in mind after he won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown when beating the highly rated flat horse Barbados. What really struck me that day was the way he responded when Barbados got within a length of him. As soon as Barbados had closed when ridden, My Mate Mozzie quickened away again and was very impressive. This race he was winning had previously been won/contested by some smart horses such as Beacon Edge, Milliner, Samcro and Labaik. He then ran at Navan in a Grade 3 Novice hurdle and was arguably even more impressive winning by 10 lengths and again showed an impressive turn of foot and plenty of strength at the finish. This race had been won by Abacadabras (2nd in Supreme), Aramon (4th in Supreme), Mengli Khan (3rd in Supreme) and Labaik (1st in Supreme) and so again is a race that works out. The last 5 winners have all contested the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and if he were to win that then he would cement his position as a Supreme Novices Hurdle contender and would surely be single figures. I think he will at Fairyhouse and he will start being taken seriously.

Constitution Hill @ 8/1

Was super impressive today with the way he quickened away from Might I and Outlaw Peter who I think are both above average. Personally I think this was a more impressive performance than Jonbon at Newbury who is going to get slightly overrated due to being Douvan’s brother. I can as explained in my video see these 2 being Altior and Buveur D’air for Henderson (they finished 1st and 3rd in the Supreme) and expect to see Constitution Hill run in the Tolworth next back at Aintree. Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard are obvious dangers but we appear to have them in the wrong races so hopefully they prove to be in the wrong races.

Arkle Chase

Appreciate It @ 6/1

Appreciate It has been beating everything he needs to over 2m and comfortably at that. A super impressive win in the Supreme Novices Hurdle means there is no reason whatsoever about going up in trip and having now finished 2nd and 1st at Cheltenham we know he arrives here in good form. I expect him to be odds on come race day.

Monmiral @ 20/1

Monmiral made it 5 from 5 when winning the Grade 1 at Aintree against fellow 4 year olds and I think Paul would be making a huge mistake if he keeps him over hurdles next year. He surely has to go over fences and with that in mind this 20/1 looks a great price for me. Paul suggested he doesn’t always respect his hurdles whilst Harry said he can’t wait till he goes over fences and the stats suggest that going chasing is the right move as well. Looking at the front 2 from the Doom Bar hurdle and their following season form over hurdles and fences from the last few years the stats are as follows. 9/61 over hurdles (14.7%) compared to 7/17 over fences (41.17%). Allmankind and Fakir D’Oudaries have done this in recent years and they have both won or placed in Grade 1 company. Allmankind actually beat Hitman for Paul Nicholls in a race dominated by 4 year olds. I thought there was plenty to like about Monmiral and I think he stays over hurdles he may get found out and going up over fences will happen sooner rather than later. Dusart could well go over fences in England but other than that I’m not sure who will be the best of the British crop and we could easily see Monmiral turning up as one of the front few in the market having beaten the rest of the British contingent

Ultima Handicap Chase (Last year 129 – 159)

Remastered @ 25/1

Remastered was in the process of running a big race in the Ladbroke Trophy before falling 4 out. He then finished 2nd in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock where he may have been outstayed by Enqarde who had threatened to a win a race like that a few times. I hope they go straight to the Ultima now with him and give him time to recover from his 3 runs this season. He finished a good 5th last year at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Challenge Chase which has worked out really well and so he clearly acts at the course. As I think he’ll go straight to the festival, I see no reason why he will drift but can see him shortening when connections start talking about this race.

Does He Know @ 16/1

Does He Know was highlighted to me by @jbrusty before he was priced up and I waited to hear from him that he had got on before posting him here. Why do we like the horse, he’s trained by Kim Bailey who sent the unexposed type Happygolucky to this race last year and he finished 2nd after being sent off a well backed 10/3 and it would be no surprise if Does He Know was sent off at least single figures for this race. In all my videos I talk about how trainers do the same thing time and time again. Does He Know has already been to Cheltenham 6 times and has form of 115112 with his only run outside the places coming when 5th at 50/1 in the Ballymore last year at 50/1. I do think however he was meant to run in the Pertemps Final (a handicap) but failed to qualify when finishing 8th on heavy going at Exeter. He’s much better on better going and both his Exeter disappointment and arguably his 5th in the Ballymore could be excused. In handicap company he should be competitive and the fact we have highlighted Honest Vic for this race and we have advised Threeunderthrufive for the National Hunt Challenge Chase it would be foolish to ignore this horse who BEAT both of them at Chepstow in Oct 21 in a near 3m Novice chase.

I am keen on Vintage Clouds for this race again off the same 143 mark as he ran off when winning last year. The Peter Marsh chase is where I hope he DOESN’T run and if he’s not entered then I’ll be backing him for this race. If he does run in the Peter Marsh and wins then I think he ruins his chance here but also if he does run and disappoints his price will be bigger so that race is very important in my decision as to when/if to back Vintage Clouds.

Emitom could be very well handicapped and I am keeping a close eye on him and see where he runs next. I wouldn’t be against going straight to the festival. His 4th in the 2020 Stayers Hurdle was good form and would be better than his 140 handicap mark over fences. Won’t be running in this now.

Honest Vic disappointed at the weekend but is not one to give up on. His win over 3m over hurdles at Cheltenham was given a massive R Figure by our ratings and if he can get a confidence booster in before the Ultima then I would be keen on his chances. Looks more likely to run over hurdles in the Pertemps Final

Empire Steel is lightly raced and one I am looking out for as well. He was going to play a big part in the Rowland Meyrick when falling. He has some good form in his short career so far including beating Protektorat at Kelso and was only sent off 12/1 for a Grade 1 at Aintree last season. Was poor last time out and I don’t think runs here.

Vintage Clouds @ 33/1

Didn’t run in the Peter Marsh which was great news and off the same 143 mark, I can’t see any reason why he doesn’t run another big race here. He has finished 1st off 143, 2nd of 144 and 3rd off 141. The only time he disappointed back in 8th was when he had won the Peter Marsh and been raised to a mark of 151. His defeat last year of Happygolucky & Aye Right looks really strong form as well.

Cepage @ 28/1 NRNB

Cepage finished 4th in this race last year under a strange ride from Charlie Deutsch who appeared to let him drop back from his prominent position and never really asked for an effort until after the last when he finished best of all for 4th. He disappointed over 2 1/2 mile in December but has dropped 5lb since his Cheltenham Festival run and if they are more confident of his stamina this year I think he’ll be asked for more of an effort and run a big race here.

I’m really hoping neither Kitty’s Light or Escaria Ten take their chance here as they would be 2 big dangers to our 4. I’m also not sure if Cepage will run as he’s not been seen since December but that’s why we have NRNB here.

Champion Hurdle

Mares Hurdle

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Yorksea @ 25/1

Yorksea I think has been very carefully and cleverly campaigned. After finishing a never nearer 3rd on Juvenile Hurdles debut he finished 2nd on his next start at Cheltenham and hopefully they were all about getting the course experience under his belt. Having failed to win he is unlikely to be aimed at the Triumph (particularly as the trainer already has Porticello) and he got off the mark winning a nothing race at Fontwell. This experience, confidence boosting run should have done him the world of good and his mark of 124 was left unchanged. I think it’s been the plan to keep him very much under the radar and hope he runs here for Gary Moore.

Bell Ex One @ 20/1 NRNB

Bell Ex One was an early thought for the Triumph Hurdle particularly as he won a race won the year before by Quilixios and whilst the form this year round is not Grade 1 form, it’s certainly good enough to be considered for the handicap. He improved each run over hurdles and has not been seen since winning at at Punchestown and it was very eyecatching to see he’s now trained by Paul Nicholls which can only be a positive switch. I think he could be better than his mark and is worth a go here.

The Tide Turns @ 7/1

The Tide Turns won a maiden hurdle on stable debut before finishing 4th inn a Grade 1 behind 2 horses I think will finish 1st and 2nd in the Triumph in Vauban and Fil Dor. He then stepped out of Juvenile company and took on his elders in a Grade 3 and ran a respectable race. 4 Years old running against older horses is really tough and I think this is a similar tactic to Riviere D’etel who finished 7th in this race last year. She has gone on to prove she was arguably better than a handicapper and I think The Tide Turns can do the same here. I expect him to go very close here.

National Hunt Challenge Chase

Threeunderthrufive @ 12/1

Threeunderthrufive has been entered this weekend at Warwick and he’s also come out CLEAR TOP RATED on our early ratings. That is surely where he will be seen next and that would strongly suggest to me he’s also going to be in the National Hunt Challenge Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Last year Paul Nicholls won this Novice at Warwick with Next Destination who then finished 2nd in this race at the Cheltenham Festival. Threeunderthrufive also won at Doncaster which the McNeill’s won in 2107 with Keeper Hill who subsequently ran in this race as well. As I expect him to win on Saturday, I expect he’ll be a shorter price for this race already come Sunday whilst his careful campaign this season is similar to a degree to Escaria Ten last year who arguably ran into 2 Grade 1 horses!

Ballymore Novices Hurdle

Didn’t have a bet in the Ballymore this season but do already for the 2022 race.

Kilcruit @ 7/1

With Sir Gerhard now trained by Willie Mullins, I imagine he and Kilcruit will be split up next season and Kilcruit looks more of a staying type and this race should be ideal. As mentioned above with Sir Gerhard, I think the Bumper will work out really well and if Kilcruit can jump then I expect him to turn up next season here closer to evens than 7/1!

Festival Novices Chase

Ahoy Senor @ 10/1

Ahoy Senor may have been beaten in the Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton but I can give him ‘excuses’ for this. Although making most of the running he was unable to really bring his stamina into play and was out-kicked by Bravemansgame. As mentioned in my video, Kempton is a track for speedsters and the 3m trip will not have been to his liking. Interestingly in the last 10 years, the winners who have gone on to run in the RSA/Festival Novices Chase have finished 565P84 compared to those who have finished 2nd or 3rd who have subsequently run in the RSA/Festival Novices Chase have finished 312331. Ahoy Senor’s best 2 bits of form have been at Aintree over a proper 3m trip and over 2m7f at Newbury (Newbury forms work out well at Cheltenham)

Coral Cup (Last Year 138 – 154)

Mars Harper @ 20/1

Despite having qualified for the Pertemps Final after finishing 5th in November at Punchestown, this Coral Cup is surely going to be the target. On both his runs over 3m at Punchestown and Navan he’s appeared to fail to see out the trip and a drop back in trip looked the obvious plan. It almost came off at Leopardstown when the jockey arguably kicked for home too soon and got caught on the line. I wouldn’t be too disappointed as you can imagine whoever rides him at the Festival will be holding on to him longer and with his 2nd getting him a 3lb rise he should now get into this race. I think he’ll go very close here.

Ch’Tibello @ 25/1

Ch’Tibello is currently rated 4lb lower than when winning the County Hurdle and connections have suggested he was being brought along slowly this season. He finished 5th on his return when demonstrating he definitely doesn’t want the 2m trip anymore and then wasn’t asked to do much on his 2nd start at Hereford under a young jockey. I think getting him fit and nicely handicapped for the Cheltenham Festival is the only aim this year and 140 looks a nice mark. I’m unsure if he will run again but if he doesn’t then I would be hopeful of a big run off this mark.

Botox Has is another I am keeping an eye out for. Sent off just 17/2 last year he appeared to not get home after racing prominently however now a 6 year old he’s been running over 3m and running well for most of the way. Dropping back in trip to 2m5f and knowing he’ll see the trip out this year could well be the plan.

McFabulous @ 16/1 NRNB

McFabulous certainly catches the eye off a mark of 150. After he finished 4th at Cheltenham last time out, I suggested he should be dropped back in trip and back into a handicap and he gets both here. He’s only entered here so I would be surprised if he didn’t take his chance. I think he’s better than 150 and can go very close here. It wasn’t that long ago he was finished 3rd at Newbury not too far behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill after again not getting home over 3m.

Champion Chase

Cross Country Chase

Grand Annual

Rouge Vif @ 25/1

Rouge Vif is back down to a mark of 153 after disappointing in Graded races since winning a handicap over the 2m trip at Cheltenham in October 2020. When he won at Cheltenham in the 2m handicap he was very impressive winning by 7 1/2 lengths and could run here off a 3lb lower mark. He’s clearly not Graded class but he’s arguably right at the top of handicap company. Where else could they go with him???

For Pleasure @ 25/1 NRNB

For Pleasure finished 3rd in a Supreme Novice Hurdle last year albeit comfortably beaten before finishing 5th in a Grade 1 at Aintree again pretty comfortably beaten. This season he’s been tried over fences and although he has performed with credit, he’s demonstrated he is not worthy of running in the Arkle. His most recent effort when falling at Doncaster was a good run however and he was not beaten by Third Time Lucki when coming down. He’s only rated 140 over fences and that could be workable if his jumping holds up.

Embittered @ 18/1

Embittered was sent off 9/2 favourite for this race last year when falling at the 9th. He has since won a Grade 3 and a beginners chase and has recently been well beaten in Grade 3 and Grade 1 events that he had no chance of winning. He’s down to a mark of 140 which is 6lb lower than what he ran off last year and if he turns up then I expect him to go very close if he gets round. His 3rd the year before over hurdles was a good enough effort to suggest they will come back to Cheltenham again.

Frero Banbou @ 14/1

This race could be run at a mad gallop and we could see a horse being waited with coming out of the pack. Frero Banbou could well be that horse and he has some good form including finishing 2nd behind Dolos last time out when the race was set up perfectly for the winner. He will be finishing fast, just hope it’s fast enough to get involved.

Champion Bumper

Bonttay @ 33/1

Bonttay I think will go straight to the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper and arrive with form figures of 111 and 2 of these at Cheltenham. This would be similar to Elle Est Belle who won (dead heated) at Cheltenham in November before not being seen again until the Champion Bumper where she ran really well for 3rd. Bonttay is only a 5 year old and has only won on good ground so I imagine connections will be keen to miss all the soft ground over the next month or 2 and hope it’s nice and good come Cheltenham. Her form does have substance as she won at Cheltenham in October and the runner up has since finished 3rd in a Listed bumper (should/would have won if ran straight and didn’t hang badly left handed). The 4th has also finished 3rd in a Listed Bumper and has already opened his account over hurdles.

Marsh Novices Chase

Bob Olinger @ 6/1

Bob Olinger was an impressive winner of the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and looks perfect at this trip. That’s why I think he’ll be sent over fences next season. There is no 2 1/2 mile hurdle at the festival for him and think he’ll stick to this trip. The runner up may be better over fences but I think Bob Olinger is a bit special over this trip.

Pertemps Final (Last Year 131 – 152)

Honest Vic @ 50/1

Honest Vic could run here of 141 which is the same mark as when winning back in October 2020. When he won that day over the 3m trip he was very impressive beating Lock’s Corner & Kansas City Chief. The latter has since won off higher marks. This was Honest Vic’s first run over hurdles over the 3m trip and he then ran in a Grade 1 event finishing a decent 5th in a hot race. His chasing campaign went wrong on handicap debut at Cheltenham when pulling up fairly early on and he returned to hurdles last time in a Pertemps Qualifier. I think this run was a confidence boosting , get round run and qualify. He did just that in 5th and if he ran the same as when winning in October 2020 I honestly think he wins this.

Dallas Des Pictons @ 16/1 NRNB

Dallas Des Pictons has finished 2nd & 5th in Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey Handicap Hurdles and last year arguably ran into 2 very well handicapped horses in Galopin Des Champs & Langer Dan. He’s been stepped up to 3m this season and qualified for this race when finished 2nd when Davy Russell didn’t ask for an effort until the winner had gone. He was then ridden forward on his next start and faded late on (see Mrs Milner – Leopardstown 2020) and then came to Leopardstown and turned into the straight looking like he was going to win. Davy didn’t really ask for much of an effort and somehow finished 14th! If he gets in off a lower mark this year (rated 138 in Ireland) then I think he can go very close here and will be ridden patiently but asked for an effort just before the last.

Mill Green @ 33/1 NRNB

Mill Green would have won yesterday but for a poor jump at the 2nd last hurdle in a Pertemps Qualifier. Finishing 2nd however did qualify him for the Pertemps Final and that was clearly the plan as he had previously unseated in a qualifier. His only other previous attempt over 3m came over fences where he ran ok for 4th behind Enrilo, Hold The Note and Ballymoy. Mill Green has been to the festival twice before and finished 6th and 7th in the Martin Pipe off marks of 140 & 140 respectively. He was rated 136 yesterday and if he only gets 1 or 2 lb for his 2nd place then I would be confident of a big run in the Pertemps Final as in both his runs in the Martin Pipe he suggested he wanted further.

Ryanair Chase

Allaho @ 6/1

Allaho destroyed them this year in the Ryanair Chase and although he may be stepped up to 3m for the King George, that’s as far as I think they will go with him. This 2 1/2 mile trip is ideal as he can go forward and make the running and set a mental gallop and keep going whilst the others drop away. He’s 6/1 to get there for me.

Stayers Hurdle

Thyme Hill @ 14/1

Thyme Hill looks a big price at 14/1 considering how short he was this year before he was withdrawn close to the festival. I can’t imagine it’s anything that serious as Aintree is being talked about and with that in mind I think he’ll end up here next season as the best of the british and be less than 5/1. If Flooring Porter doesn’t get these easy leads anymore we may find that he’s not as good as he has been this season.

Paddy Power Plate (Last Year 140 – 157)

Mister Coffey @ 25/1 NRNB

Mister Coffey is currently rated 137 but I believe when he gets his act together he’ll be rated in the 150’s and regularly (as regularly as Henderson allows his horses to run) competing in Graded chases. He does have 3 entries this weekend and I hope he runs in the 2 1/2 mile chase at Sandown as I think Pic D’Orhy and L’Homme Presse beat him but hopefully his mark is left alone (worried about this!). I think both his best runs have come over this 2 1/2 mile trip at Kempton and Aintree and based on his 3 entries he wont be dropping back in trip anytime soon.

Gaillard Du Mesnil @ 10/1 NRNB

Gaillard Du Mesnil finished 2nd last year behind Bob Olinger and in front of Bravemansgame both of whom are towards the head of the market in Grade 1 events and rated 159 and 160. The 148 mark of Gaillard Du Mesnil looks to be workable. He’s finished 3rd in races behind Capodanno, Bob Olinger & Galopin Des Champs so arguably had no chance against those. He is entered in the Grade 1 events so the NRNB is worth taking here but if he does turn up here off his mark I think he’ll go very close.

Zanza @ 25/1 NRNB

Take out his last run and he’s 14/1 or shorter for this race having finished a never nearer 6th and never nearer 2nnd in 2 1/2 mile races at Cheltenham. The cheekpieces were fitted last time out and he clearly hated them and ran a stinker.  Due to that he’s down to the same mark as when 2nd to Coole Cody and with a strong pace likely in this race he should be finishing best of all and running a big race here.

Spiritofthegames @ 25/1 NRNB

Spiritofthegames is number 27 with a max of 24 allowed to run but with The Shunter (Coral Cup), Embittered (Grand Annual), Busselton, Presentandcounting and Kiltealy Briggs all ahead of him then I would be very surprised if he didn’t get in. We get our money back anyway if he doesn’t. Now, why can he run well? His form at Cheltenham over 2 1/2 mile over fences reads 33P226293 with these coming off marks ranging from 137 to 150. He was beaten just 6 lengths in 2020 when running off a mark of 149. If he can be kept in contention then I think he can go very close here and could be similar to Vintage Clouds who took 5 attempts before winning the Ultima!

Fusil Raffles @ 11/1

Fusil Raffles has the ability to win a race like this over his ideal trip but needs to jump better. The better ground should suit him and if he jumps well then he can certainly go close here. He’s been involved in races where some fantastically well handicapped horses have been running and they are all up in the weights since. If he gets round with a good round of jumping he should be in the finish.

Mares Novice Hurdle

Lady Adare @ 33/1

Lady Adare can’t go unbacked now at 33/1. I highlighted her race as one to watch out for after she won here.

Lady Adare – blog

She was winning the same race as Dame De Compagnie and La Bague Au Roi suggesting this was a Mares Novice Hurdle that trainers target with their smart mares. Lady Adare was an impressive winner and the form of that race has worked out really well. Get A Tonic (2nd) has won twice since from 2 runs, Credo (3rd) has finished 3rd since, Tweed Skirt (4th) has won since, Holly (5th and Grade 3 bumper winner in France) has won since. This form looks very strong and Lady Adare beat these with relative ease. I’m hoping she can be another Sholokhov winner at the Cheltenham Festival (Don Cossack, Shishkin, Bob Olinger).

Nurse Susan @ 20/1

Nurse Susan was one I liked for the Imperial Cup but on the basis it would be a race where you can win and go for a bonus at the Festival. As it wasn’t I don’t think Dan had any need or desire to run Nurse Susan there and comes directly here instead. Her effort last time out behind Love Envoi was good as she came there travelling well but didn’t go past and Harry should know a lot more here. She should also appreciate the better going and I think she can reverse the form with Love Envoi and be the biggest danger to the Irish.

Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Last Year 135 – 145)

Plan of Attack @ 20/1 NRNB

Plan of Attack has been running well but frustratingly over the Cross Country fences at Cheltenham. He’s been sketchy with his jumping whilst showing plenty of flat speed to keep getting back involved. As he’s not won but has been running well his mark has stayed relatively unchanged and he could run back in the Kim Muir off a mark of 138. This was his mark in 2021 when he was just starting to quietly get involved when falling 3 out. He had previously finished 4th in this race off 140 and I hope his campaign this year has been all about returning to the Kim Muir and gaining compensation from his fall last year.

The Bosses Oscar @ 25/1 NRNB

The Bosses Oscar finished 2nd in the Pertemps Final after finishing 2nd in 2 handicaps before that. These 2nd’s probably cost him the Pertemps Final crown. This year he started off ok over fences but has pulled up the last twice. These have seen him dropped in the handicap to a mark that would get in the Kim Muir (if not raised by the British handicapper). If he did get in then he would be very interesting here.

Shantou Flyer @ 20/1 NRNB

Shantou Flyer finished 3rd last year behind the well handicapped Mount Ida and the subsequent Ladbroke Trophy winner Cloudy Glen. With David Maxwell likely to be back on board, you would hope they have saved this horse for him off a 5lb lower mark than when he ran so well last year. He has also finished 2nd in an Ultima Handicap Chase so clearly runs his best races at the Festival. NRNB is important as it’s possible he may not run here/ever again.

Mister Coffey @ 16/1 NRNB

Mister Coffey is currently rated 137 and I genuinely believe he’s a 150 horse but hasn’t given his true running yet. The longer trip and slower pace might help his jumping and keep him in touch and hopefully he can be seen doing his best work again at the finish. He’s been in some quite good races and was even tried in a Grade 1 last time out where he surely demonstrated to Nicky that the handicap is his best option. (entered in the 3m Novice as well)

Mister Fogpatches @ 12/1

Mister Fogpatches is one that I think will give a good account of himself and run a big race even if the trip is maybe just on the short side. Patrick should be aware and have him prominent enough that he keeps involved and finishes strongly. I really like Mister Fogpatches as a future National (Scottish/Irish) horse and think he can go very well here on route.

Triumph Hurdle

Fil Dor @ 4/1

The very impressive performance of Pied Piper has seen Pied Piper move into favouritism with Vauban also shortened but crucially Fil Dor has been drifted to 4/1 a price that I think is now worth backing him at. I believe trainers are a creature of habit and they know who is their better horses and often run their best horses in the same races over and over again. Fil Dor has been following the Zanahiyr route who in my opinion is the better of the 2 Juveniles from last year. Despite finishing 4th last year he has subsequently finished 2nd at Punchestown (in front of Quilixios), won a Grade 2 against older horses and finished 2nd the last twice behind Sharjah. With this in mind, Fil Dor following the same route is a big positive, I expect he’ll be seen at the DRF soon and if he wins there (fully expect him to) then I think he’ll shorten and be the favourite again and the one to beat.

County Hurdle (Last Year 133 – 150)

West Cork @ 16/1

West Cork ran a great race after a long lay off to win the Greatwood Hurdle and the race has worked out quite well already. West Cork went to Ascot afterwards and was travelling really well turning into the straight. He faded late on but this can happen when horses ‘bounce’ and I believe he’s going to be saved for the County Hurdle now. Having won at Cheltenham and his handicap mark staying at 141 after his 5th at Ascot, I think he can run a huge race in a race that the Skelton’s do target.

Eclair De Beaufeu @ 33/1 NRNB

Eclair De Beaufeu has been to the Cheltenham Festival 3 times. He unseated at the last in 2019 off 136 when arguably going for home too soon. He finished 2nd in the Grand Annual over fences in 2020 when clear 2nd best (might have got closer if not hampered 2 out) off 149 and then finished 4th back over hurdles in the County Hurdle again in 2021 off 139 when if the door was not closed on him by Third Time Lucki , I think he would have won. He’s down to a mark of 132 after his most recent poor run however his form coming into last years race read FF06 so it’s not like he turned up in form. If he runs here I think he can run a really big race again and this time instead of being hampered by Third Time Lucki, he can make it Third time lucky (in this race).

My Mate Mozzie @ 14/1 NRNB

In the last few years we’ve had bets like Shishkin in the Ballymore, Appreciate It in the Albert Bartlett & Indefatigable in the Coral Cup only for them to win another race. My Mate Mozzie could well be another of those. I liked him for the Supreme Novices Hurdle earlier this season before he was comfortably beat by Sir Gerhard. He wants better going and arguably should/would have won a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse 2 runs ago but for a bad mistake at the last. A horse of that quality running in a handicap is very interesting and I would be disappointed if he doesn’t go close on better going.

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Envoi Allen @ 8/1

Envoi Allen fell yesterday in the Marsh Novices which was disappointing but I’m sure this was just a blip. Al Boum Photo did the same in the RSA before winning 2 consecutive Gold Cups (tries to make it 3 today) and I think Envoi Allen is better than Al Boum Photo. From those who have ran in the 2 1/2 and 3m Novice chases, I would still be keen on Envoi Allen.

Minella Indo @ 10/1

Minella Indo has now been beaten in his first 2 races this season including pulling up in the King George but this was at Kempton which is not a track comparable to Cheltenham where he does have form. His 3 efforts at Cheltenham have seen him finish 1st, 2nd and 1st and he’s clearly aimed to peak at Cheltenham. 10/1 for last years winner when I don’t think Galvin is a Gold Cup winner (he is just a very strong stayer) whilst I am unsure if A Plus Tard can reverse the form as I do think he will be outstayed again by Minella Indo.

Mares Chase

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle (Last Year 136 – 145)

Langer Dan @ 10/1

Langer Dan finished 2nd last year. He was beaten by Galopin Des Champs who won a Grade 1 Hurdle after and has since won a Grade 1 chase and is favourite for the Brown Advisory Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Simply put, Langer Dan bumped into one. He is now 5lb higher as he was only carrying a penalty in this race last year after winning the Imperial Cup. Take out Galopin Des Champs and Langer Dan would have been one of the most impressive winners last year and it’s very eyecatching that he’s been saved for this race again this year.

Ch’Tibello @ 33/1 NRNB

Ch’Tibello is similar to My Mate Mozzie in that we have advised him in the Coral Cup (and very similar to Indefatigable) and obviously if he turned up here he would have to go close. He’s handicapped to go close and has Cheltenham Festival form. The owners recently won a feature race with another well handicapped horse in Cap Du Nord and it would be no surprise to see Ch’Tibello go close wherever he runs. As we have NRNB, if he does run in the Coral Cup then we get our money back here.

Mars Harper @ 25/1 NRNB

Mars Harper is a selection for us in the Coral Cup as I don’t think he had been getting home in strongly run races over 3m and then looked to have got it right over 2 1/2 mile at Leopardstown but got caught late on and I imagine the same jockey will be on here if this is where he runs. He’s not likely to get in the Coral Cup and as such I think he’ll be running here and I expect a strong pace over 2 1/2 mile will suit him.