1.30 – Supreme Novices H’dle
Melon heads the market for this race and based on his homework, he’s certainly the standout horse of Willie Mullins’ string. He probably shouldn’t be as short a price as he currently is, simply based on what he has done so far. However, he works very well at home and has schooled very well. He made a mistake at the last in Leopardstown but that isn’t a worry, he will have learned from it and he will have improved from his first run.
I ride Crack Mome and I schooled him recently, he’s working very well and if he had won his race at Punchestown he’d be a bit shorter in the betting for this race. Lots of Willie’s previous Supreme contenders took a similar route to this horse on their way to the Festival. He made a mistake at the last which probably cost him the race but he has worked well since and I’m very hopeful of making a real race of it and getting the week off to a good start.
Paul Townend rides Bunk Off Early and if the horse can mature a bit from what he showed against Bacardys in Leopardstown on his last run, he would also have a great chance. I think the general rule is to respect Willie’s horses in this race every year as he always has such a strong hand and I hope I can be the one to come out on top.
2.05 – Arkle Chase
There’s not a whole lot that can beat Altior to be honest. It’s probably a race to just sit back and watch him in action. It’s likely that the only danger to him is the fences. Regarding the race for second, Royal Caviar could be the one to side with. A faller at the last in the Irish Arkle last month, he could be the one to pick up the pieces as Charbel could be the one to take on Altior and that could benefit Ruby Walsh who will come late to pick up the pieces if for some reason Altior doesn’t win.
3.20 – Champion H’dle
This year’s Champion Hurdle is a hot race despite the absence of a real standout horse. It’s definitely a very competitive race and I would be in the Yanworth camp at the moment. He’s a very good horse and never seems to win too far. He’ll probably never be a horse to win by 10 lengths on the bridle and in what he does he never over exerts himself. I think he’s yet to empty the tank in any of his races so we may not have seen the best of him yet.
I would love to say my cousin David win the race on Brain Power but so far, he’s still a handicapper who needs to prove himself at the highest level.
David rode Petit Mouchoir to win an Irish Champion Hurdle in Leopardstown but he obviously feels Brain Power has a better chance as he has chosen him over Petit Mouchoir.
David Pipe has thrown Moon Racer in to the race but he will need to prove himself to be an exceptional horse to come out and win a Champion Hurdle off the back of what he has achieved so far. To me, the rest of the field aren’t up to the standard so it will probably come down to those I have mentioned and I think Yanworth will take a lot of beating.
4.10 – Mares H’dle
Ruby Walsh has opted to ride Limini in this race. I would have fancied Limini if she had ran in the Champion Hurdle but over this trip I would side with Paul Townend’s horse Vroum Vroum Mag who won this race last year. She’s a solid horse who was probably very unlucky not to win the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse before winning the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. She just wasn’t herself at Doncaster but still got the job done and the team are very happy with her. She has travelled over to Cheltenham well and was looking great on the gallops this morning.
I think both of Willie’s horses will have the measure of Apples Jade who got the better of Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hatton’s Grace but Limini beat her in Punchestown a couple of weeks back. To be honest I think it’s between these three as I don’t think any of the rest are in the same league. I would have a preference for Vroum Vroum Mag in this race over the other two. Over 2 miles I would think Limini would win but at this trip, I think Paul’s horse will take the beating.
Stay tuned for Danny’s take on Wednesday’s Champion Chase Day.