Racing expert Jane Mangan gives her tips ahead of the weekend's racing

Racing expert Jane Mangan gives her tips ahead of the weekend's racing
Jockey Davy Russell after winning The Lawlor`s Of Naas Novice Hurdle with Envoi AllenMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

A DREAM can be described as a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal – if you asked some racing fans to describe “the dream” they might just say the name Envoi Allen!

It’s sometimes difficult to justify horses who are simply better then the normal good horse. 

Yes, Envoi Allen keeps on winning but why has he caught the imagination so early in his career? 

It took Altior two champion chases to gain traction amongst the wider public.

To my mind, if you asked a sculptor to produce the perfect equine athlete, they would come back with a mirror image of Envoi Allen. 

Physique combined with a cool temperament and awesome desire to win, this horse has everything.

Sport is mainly populated by dreamers. Whether it’s the GAA family who wish to conquer Croke Park, the golfer who aspires to lead out a Ryder Cup team or the girl who aims to emulate Serena Williams – sport is a game of broad minds and big ideas.

For any racing owner, trainer, jockey or groom – Envoi Allen is that dream. He’s the horse you hope walks into the yard. 

An uncomplicated winning machine. Not too much to ask? In reality, this horse is one in a million. 

Follow wherever he goes. National hunt racing has a new star.

Now we are over the Christmas feast, it is finally acceptable to talk Cheltenham and it seems the March Festival has already sparked much debate following the tracks new chairman Martin St Quinton comments in an interview on ITV Racing last week. 

Asked by Ed Chamberlin about the possibility of adding a fifth day to the Cheltenham Festival, St Quinton didn’t rule it in or out.

Talk about fuel to fire. Speculation went from 0-60mph quicker than a Bugatti Veyron. Could this happen? How? What? Why? When? 

JANIDIL and Mark Walsh (far) beats Buildmeupbuttercup (near) to win the Download The App Handicap Hurdle.Healy Racing Photo
JANIDIL and Mark Walsh (far) beats Buildmeupbuttercup (near) to win the Download The App Handicap Hurdle.Healy Racing Photo

Questions come thick fast and everyone has an opinion. Mine is simple. 

The only parties a five-day festival would suit is those who want to line their pockets. It would help make the rich richer and those on the ground work harder. The Cheltenham Festival is the Koh-I-Noor of racing’s crown. Don’t tarnish it with greed.

What have Gold Cup hopefuls Lostintranslation, Monalee, Clan Des Obeaux and Al Boum Photo all have in common? 

They are all going straight to Cheltenham without another run. Citing various reasons, connections have opted to head to Prestbury Park with two months homework under their belt instead of another prep race. 

This is where punters get caught – how do you assess these horses when we see them so infrequently?

Remember Quevega? Punters were forced to trust Willie Mullins and he never let them down. Mullins produced his fragile mare each year without any run and for no less than six consecutive years she landed the odds in the Mares’ Hurdle!

Take Al Boum Photo. Saunters around Tramore on New Year’s Day - apply bubble wrap – unwrap in March. 

Can he do the same this year?

On the other hand, a similar strategy didn’t work for Presenting Percy in 2019 and now connections are plotting one more test before the big day, providing punters one last chance to assess their options. 

Each to their own but be aware from this stage of the season going forward, top horses will be raced sparingly!

Carefully Selected and Janadil are just two potential festival fancies who are hoping to book their cross-channel ticket at Punchestown this Sunday.

Carefully Selected was a late withdrawal from the Neville Hotels Novice Chase on the final day of Leopardstown owing to quick ground and with only one chase start under his belt, connections will be eager to get more match practice into this promising novice in the Grade 3 Killiney Novice Chase.

Later on the same card, Mullins saddles progressive novice hurdler Janidil in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.

A maiden from three starts in his native France for Guy Cherel, Janidil was beaten by Notebook on his Irish debut in a maiden hurdle but hasn’t looked back since winning three from three since October. 

Sunday’s race will be his first attempt at Graded level but the manner in which he beat Buildmeupbuttercup and Articulum at Fairyhouse in December suggests he should be able to cope with the rise in class. 

And so the dream continues…

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