Willie Mullins endured a frustrating day at Cheltenham yesterday, mirroring the rollercoaster season he’s had so far, but today could be more like business as usual for the Closutton handler as he has great chances in most of this afternoon’s races.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Chief amongst them, of course, is the mighty Douvan who surely only has to jump around safely to take the Queen Mother. Mullins certainly won’t be counting any chickens after the bad luck he’s had through the winter, but this horse is the best in training and is capable of hammering an otherwise below average Champion Chase field.
The fences look the only danger, although for those wanting to have a bet we think GODS OWN looks best of the rest on ground that should be ideal for a horse who comes alive in the spring. Tom George’s charge has done us a few favours in the past and can chase home the Mullins hotpot here.
|Gods Own (ew)||3.30 Cheltenham||12/1||Bet365|
Neptune Novices’ Hurdle
Mullins has a big chance in the opener too courtesy of BACARDYS. He and Neon Wolf dominate the market, but the Irish raider brings the more solid form into the race. He also has more experience having run in the champion bumper at each of the three big spring festivals last year. He should improve massively for the step up in trip too and relishes a battle.
Mullins also has one of the best each way options in the race under his care in BON PAPA. This JP McManus owned gelding is an embryo chaser, but has shown plenty over the small obstacles and would be unbeaten had he not fallen on his second start when looking all over the winner. He is reportedly thriving at home.
In the same ownership CONSUL DE THAIX is another threat despite being a maiden. He looks ready made for this longer trip.
|Bacardys (win)||1.30 Cheltenham||4/1||Bet365, Sky Bet|
|Bon Papa (ew)||1.30 Cheltenham||20/1||Bet365, Sky Bet|
|Consul De Thaix (ew)||1.30 Cheltenham||20/1||Bet365|
The RSA Chase can go Ireland’s way too courtesy of ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS. This horse has really turned the corner on his last couple of starts and hammered a good field last time out. He is made for chasing and his massive stride allows him to cruise along half a beat quicker than his rivals. Most of his form is on softer ground, but his trainer Sandra Hughes actually think he may be suited by a sounder surface.
The biggest danger looks to be WHISPER, who has struck up a good relationship with Davy Russell this season. He was a top class staying hurdler in his time and has plenty of good course form to further boost his claims.
We’d also give Our Kaempfer a squeak, but his yard is having a quiet time of things at the moment, so Marinero may prove best of the long shots.
|Acapella Bourgeois (ew)||2.10 Cheltenham||7/1||Bet365|
|Whisper (ew)||2.10 Cheltenham||7/1||Bet365|
The Coral Cup is the day’s first big punting heat and Tombstone has been all the rage here since connections decided to swerve the Champion Hurdle. He could prove a handicap snip, but the value has long gone.
At a much bigger price we like MISTER MIYAGI. He’s had a wind operation recently and should be suited by a slight drop in class having run in some graded races on his previous starts. He also comes here fresh after a mid-winter break and the ground has come right for him.
In one of those graded races Mister Miyagi finished behind OLD GUARD here in the International and that rival is also worth backing today. Again, the drop into handicap company is a plus and decent underfoot conditions have always been the key to this horse. He’s shown on his last couple of starts that this trip is within range for a horse that has run in the Champion Hurdle in the past.
With past Festival form always being a massive plus in these races the other one to back is 2014 Fred Winter winner, HAWK HIGH. He loves decent ground and appears to have been trained for this. He also looks ready for the step up in trip.
Supasundae could be the best of the Irish, but it often pays not to ignore the outsiders amongst multiple Willie Mullins entries, so expect a big race from one or two of his at big prices.
|Mister Miyagi (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
|Old Guard (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||22/1||Bet365, Sky Bet|
|Hawk High (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||28/1||Bet365|
Cross Country Chase
The Cross Country Chase looks a high quality renewal with some proven horses over the banks taking on some classy newcomers to this unique discipline.
Cause Of Causes has been all the rage in the build-up, which isn’t surprising given his great Festival record. However, his price has gone now and for the same owner we think the value lies in AUVERGNAT.
At only seven, he is the new kid on the block and has the potential to dominate the division for a few years to come. We think that domination can start here as he was very impressive at Punchestown last month.
We tipped up ANY CURRENCY to win this last year and the old warrior deserves to win again given that last year’s win has since been wiped away by a disqualification for a technical infringement of the doping rules.
He knows his way around here better than most and has his ground. He has been kept fresh for this and has a new training regime to keep his ageing muscles sound.
Finally, don’t rule out French raider, AMAZING COMEDY. One of his compatriots took the last county race run here at a huge price and Gallic raiders are often under-rated in these contests.
Banks virgin, Sausalito Sunrise, looks best of the rest.
|Auvergnat (ew)||4.10 Cheltenham||13/2||Bet365|
|Any Currency (ew)||4.10 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
|Amazing Comedy (ew)||4.10 Cheltenham||66/1||Bet365|
Our tips in the later races are:
|Dakota Moirette (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||20/1||Bet365|
|Candy Burg (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||50/1||Ladbrokes|
|Percy Street (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||28/1||Paddy Power|
|Someday (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||9/1||Sky Bet|
|Fayonagh (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||11/1||Sky Bet|
|Perfect Harmony (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||40/1||Paddy Power|