Tote Ireland hosted a Cheltenham Preview Night at the Kildare House Hotel on Friday 4th March. The panel on the night were;
MC: Kevin O’Ryan (KOR)
Gary O’Brien, ATR Presenter (GOB)
Joseph O’Brien, Former Champion Flat Jockey/ Trainer (JOB)
Sandra Hughes, Trainer (SH)
Jonathon Burke, Jockey (JB)
Pat Brennan, Tote Ireland (PB)
Below are the highlights from the night:
Supreme Novice Hurdle
GOB was very keen on the chances of Yorkhill citing the strength of the Tolworth Hurdle form. He felt that Min was no real value at the prices.
JB likes Supasundae and thinks if he can replicate the round of jumping from Leopardstown last time he should have a solid each way chance. He thinks that Altior is the biggest danger.
JOB would be concerned about how keen Min has been in his races to date, would be concerned that the occasion could light him up too much.
Arkle Novice Chase
PB described Douvan as the banker of the week and likes the chances of Sizing John to follow him home.
JB like Sizing John and confirmed the Arkle as his target but thinks the only way he can win is if Douvan falls.
GOB also likes the Exacta of Douvan to beat Sizing John while JOB thinks the race could be run to suit The Game Changer and he could be the one to follow Douvan home.
GOB doesn’t think Annie Power is a betting proposition at the prices, thinks Identity Thief could be the one on decent ground. Also gives Sempre Medici a chance each way.
JOB gives My Tent Or yours a chance despite his long absence, hears they have done a lot of work to settle him down which would be a help.
SH likes the chances of Nichols Canyon, her father (Dessie) always said that you needed a 2m4f horse to win a Champion and he should be staying on up the hill.
GOB would be very sweet on the chance of Roi Des Francs if he takes part in this.
Neptune Novice Hurdle
Mixed views on Yanworth from the panel but the general consensus was that he was too short. Long Dog was well fancied by a few.
SH was keen on the chances of A Toi Phil after his performance beating Acapella Bourgeois at Leopardstown last time.
PB and GOB both very sweet on the chance of More Of That, think he has achieved far more in his career to date than No More Heroes.
JB was keen on No More Heroes but has been put off by the confidence in More Of That from his fellow panel members.
GOB feels that Felix Yonger is the value in the Queen Mother, thinks that Sprinter Sacre is 70% the horse he once was.
JB thinks Sizing Granite is a great each way bet at 33/1, will probably have to ride him patiently as he won’t have the speed to lie up with some of these.
JOB not sure if Aspen Colorado goes to the Champion Bumper yet, says he has a good chance if he does. Thinks he is a nice horse. JOB has heard good reports of Ballyandy from his cousin (Johnny Slevin) in Nigel Twiston Davis yard.
JB will ride New To This Town, sat on him for the first time that morning. Felt ok but is reportedly not a horse that shows a lot at home.
GOB suggests the vibes from the Mullins yard suggest that Avenir D’une Vie could be the pick of their runners.
JLT Novice Chase
All of the panel were quite keen on the chances of Outlander but wouldn’t write off Zabana improving for some better ground.
Pertemps Handicap Hurdle
PB very sweet on the chance of Join The Clan for this at a big price.
SH gives a good mention to All Hell Let Loose saying that he hates heavy ground and will be far better on a sounder surface.
GOB will be happy to go with whatever Barry Geraghty chooses as he feels JP McManus has a very strong hand in the race. Also Mall Dini got a mention at a bigger price but may go to the Martin Pipe instead.
GOB very keen on the chances of Smashing, JB reports him to be in great order. Says that 2m on good ground in the Arkle last year was too sharp for him but that this test should suit more.
Entire panel very sweet on the chance of Thistlecrack. GOB said he would be shocked if he gets beaten.
JB spent this time trying to talk himself onto SH’s Lieutenant Colonel despite the urgings of KOR (Davy Russell’s agent)
Dawn Run Mares Novice Hurdle
The entire panel believes this is a formality for Limini, talk that she could be good enough to run in a Yorkshire Oaks. Also worth noting that she is Mrs. Mullins (mother of Willie) NAP of the Festival.
JOB reports Ivanovich Gorbatov to be in good order, blames ground for his run at Leopardstown last time. Thinks he is a very good horse.
JB and GOB both keen on the chance of Zubayr but think Apple’s Jade has a chance at 20/1.
Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
Shantou Village was tipped up by both PB and GOB as a much better value alternative than Barter’s Hill.
All in agreement that it was a fantastic race, GOB thinks that Bryan Cooper would be mad to get off Don Cossack.
Most of the panel seem to question whether Vautour would stay, Cue Card got some favourable mentions.
The form of Don Poli was questioned by GOB who was also worried about Djakadam’s fall last time being far from ideal.
Gordon Elliott made a brief appearance, reported his string to be in good form. Gave Our Father (Kim Muir) and Missy Tata (Fred Winter) as horses to look out for in handicaps.
JOB was asked for a horse to follow in the coming weeks and nominated Bacilius who should appear in a bumper shortly.
SH put up The Grandson as a horse to follow in Limerick on Sunday 13th March.
KOR: Missy Tata – Fred Winter
GOB : Smashing – Ryanair
JOB: Minella Rocco – NH Chase
SH: All Hell Let Loose – Pertemps
JB: Supasundae/ Sizing John Betting W/O Double – Supreme/ Arkle
PB: Dandridge – Grand Annual