Tuesday, March 14, 2023


The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is the opener on the Wednesday and the betting for this race has really changed complexion in recent weeks. For most of the winter Hermes Allen from the Paul Nicholls yard was the favourite for this race but in recent times all the money has been for Willie Mullins’ Impaire Et Passe (pictured above). He has only ran twice but he’s been really impressive and I think he’ll win this.
Others to note are two more from the Mullins stable, Champ Kiely and Gaelic Warrior and Barry Connell’s Good Land.

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is next up on Wednesday and the Gordon Elliott trained Gerri Colombe is the short favourite. I really like this horse and if the ground is soft he will take an awful lot of beating. The softer the better. Sir Gerhard mightn’t be the best jumper but he loves Cheltenham and he’s a class horse. Patrick Neville’s The Real Whacker won at Cheltenham in November and December so he has to have a chance and the best of the home team looks to be Thyme Hill for Philip Hobbs. Adamantly Chosen was supplemented for this race on Thursday so he has to be worth a second look.

The Coral Cup is up next and this looks really difficult, no surprise when the last two winners of this race returned at 50/1 and 33/1. Charles Byrnes’ Run For Oscar and Philip Hobbs’ Camprond are the current joint favourites. I don’t have a strong opinion on this race at all but an interesting one could be the Noel Meade trained Beacon Edge at 10 or 12/1.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the big race on day two and it is an intriguing renewal of this great race. A few months ago Willie Mullins’ Energumene was the raging hot favourite but he plotted his copy book last time out at Cheltenham in the Clarence House and I’d be slow to forgive him that run as there didn’t seem to be many excuses. Dungarvan jockey, Niall Houlihan, won that race on Editeur Du Gite with a brilliant ride and the pair will have to have a chance here too. The one I like is the joint favourite and last year’s Arkle winner, Edwardstone from the Alan King yard. Two more from the Willie Mullins yard, Blue Lord and Gentleman De Mee could be very live outsiders.

The Cross Country Chase looks set (as it was last year) to be a shootout between two Gordon Elliott horses. Last year Delta Work was the party pooper when he denied Tiger Roll and he looked certain to double up until the appearance in the market recently of Galvin, who ran in last year’s Gold Cup. This reminds me of last year when Tiger Roll was expected to win and his stablemate spoiled the party. Delta Work was very impressive last year but Galvin is a very good horse. A no bet race for me.

The Grand Annual Handicap Chase is another head scratcher. Andy Dufresne (Gordon Elliott) Dinoblue (Willie Mullins) and Final Orders (Gavin Cromwell) are the joint favourites at present. Third Time Lucki for Dan Skelton looks the best of the home team, while Henry de Bromhead has a few entered here, including Couer Sublime and Magic Daze and whatever Rachael rides in this should have a shout.


Willie Mullins is going for four-in-a-row in the bumper and of course he’ll have a huge chance with a massive amount of runners. Patrick Mullins has first choice so he’s likely to be on the favourite, although watch out if he rides Fun Fun Fun because he bred that one and it might be heart over head stuff. Fact or File has been well backed and should like the softer ground, also for Willie Mullins.
The plunge horse in the past week or so is a Waterford trained horse, A Dream To Share (pictured above) from the legendary John Kiely yard in Dungarvan. What a story it would be if the great West Waterford trainer could win another Cheltenham Festival race and he has a massive chance. He was very impressive at the DRF and since then he was sold by RTE Racing supremo Brian Gleeson and his wife Claire (they also bred him) to JP McManus. Brian and Claire’s leaving cert sitting son, John, will ride and he’s definitely and up and coming jockey. I’ve backed Better Days Ahead for Gordon Elliott but I think it’s wide open.

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