“THE only way to double your money is to fold over your cash.”
These were words of an ultra-confident Patrick Mullins last week when describing his thoughts on Chacun Pour Soi’s even money price for the Champion Chase.
Since then, the horse that has looked unbeatable all season has gone odds-on favourite to provide his trainer Willie Mullins with a first-ever Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Ten runners go to post for the two-mile showpiece event and disappointingly Altior is not amongst them.
After coughing during exercise on Monday, Nicky Henderson’s charge was not declared which is a shame but nevertheless, Chacun Pour Soi will have to be special to repel the challenge of Nube Negra, last year’s winner Politologue and Henry de Bromhead’s duo Notebook and Put The Kettle On.
Considering First Flow is the likely pacesetter for Paul Townend to follow, I’m siding with last year’s Arkle Chase winner Put The Kettle On to prove the best each-way value in the race.
Three wins from three runs over course and distance, this Stowaway mare loves Prestbury Park and could pick up some pieces in the latter stages of this race. Chacun to win but the mare to make us some money!
Before we get to the main event, we kick of day two with a seven-runner renewal of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Won last year by the Irish banker Envoi Allen, this race features a horse under a similar banner.
Bob Olinger went into many notebooks last year after winning a Gowran Park bumper but, the ease of his Grade 1 win at Naas in January must have impressed even the toughest of critics.
A stayer with speed is probably a good way to describe what he’s displayed thus far and despite the confidence behind Bravemansgame, I think Bob Olinger could prove a class above his rivals here.
Paul Nicholls once described Bravemansgame as another Denman, a lofty endorsement indeed but even the great Denman got beaten in this very race back in 2006 when the Paul Carberry ridden Nicanor scooted past him up the hill.
The real Bob Olinger was best known as the last victim of Billy The Kid in the 1800s but today, this Bob Olinger can have the last laugh!
The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (also known as the RSA) features just six runners but they all have one important factor in common – they are all graduates of the Irish point-to-point circuit.
This isn’t a punters race, rather one to sit back and enjoy.
Monkfish triumphed at Cheltenham twelve months ago when outstaying his rivals in the Albert Bartlett but this year, with the benefit of fences, he can simply outclass his opponents.
Colin Tizzard has spoken about his intention to hand over the training reins to his son Joe after this festival, and it wouldn’t surprise me if The Big Breakway were to become that all-important flagship horse for the Tizzard family over the next few years.
Tiger Roll returns in the Cross Country Chase with a point to prove.
Is he the same horse who won four Cheltenham Festival races and two Aintree Grand Nationals or is he crying out for the retirement paddock at Gigginstown House Stud?
This horse is a racing icon and no matter what his recent form suggests, we know he thrives in the spring and especially at this track.
That said, he will have to be near his best to contain the reigning champion Easysland who looks very solid at the top of the market.
We wrap up proceedings with an ultra-competitive renewal of the Weatherby’s Champion Bumper featuring no less than five Willie Mullins inmates as he seeks an 11th win in this race.
Encouragingly from an Irish perspective, 21 of the last 28 winners were trained in Ireland and it appears that we have a serious stranglehold on this year’s race too.
My selection is original!
However, we don’t have layers of form to study here and I have no doubt that some horses are better than their odds reflect (ie Ramillies) but I can’t oppose Kilcruit to provide Paul Townend with back-to-back wins in the Champion bumper.
Chacun Pour Soi