The big one the Gold Cup. We are likely to see one of the shortest priced favourites in recent times in the shape of Galopin Des Champs. An unlucky faller when looking to have the Turners won this time last years he has taken the step up into open company in his stride this season. He looked to put any stamina doubts to bed when winning at Leopardstown last time when doing all his best work at the finish. He`s certainly the one to beat now but the extra 2 furlongs on rain softened ground at Gold Cup pace is still a further test and given the price I`m happy to look for an alternative angle in the race.
I think Bravemansgame has caught the Irish horses to some degree ,I think he didn’t have the experience when facing them over hurdles of large fields, graded races and races like the Ballymore have actually helped him for me a lot. I was very impressed with him in the King George and the track doesn’t concern me my worry though is though that I think he more of speed type and decent ground play to his strengths and might just again be found wanting up the famous Cheltenham hill
Conflated Probably would have finished 2nd in the Ryanair last season when they were undecided whether to run in the gold cup or not. I think they quickly decided it was the Gold Cup this year and he was impressive in the Savills over Christmas; he’s got the odd bad jump in him which is a concern. I think he`s at his peak now the issues again though is now the ground has turned that this becomes too much of a stamina test for him.
With this in mind I think you can make a really good case for Noble Yeats, he looked to hate every second of the Costwold Chase last time when finishing behind Ahoy Senor and Sounds Russian yet still manged to close to within a couple of lengths at the finish. This will be a totally different test for last seasons Grand National winner though the softer ground stamina test will play to his strengths and the reapplication of cheekpieces should help him travel into the race better.
The other proven stayer in the race after winning last seasons NH chase is the Stattler. He has a bit to dinf with the favourite on when they meet last time but we know he will be more suited to this course and distance.
Last years winner A Plus Tard has not looked the same horse to me first season and I`d have liked his chances more on a better surface.
Of the outsiders Minella Indo should be in the frame would be the one at the prices not likely to win, Beat the Statler at Tramore last time 1st 2 years ago 2nd last year.
Selection Noble Yeats – Each Way Alternative Stattler
Hunter Chase is up next and again a pretty short price favourite in the shape of Vaucelet, of the market principals I probably prefer him to the likes of last years winner Billaway and Famous Clermont. He has looked impressive recently and could simply be to good but in a race that can throw up the odd result I`m happy to look at those less found by the market.
The Storyteller is the first of those runners, he will need to jump better than he has recently but he has back class and it seems a tip in itself that connections are letting the 12 year old take his chances under the services of Jamie Codd. The other who could out run is odds is Le Malin he was`nt far behind Billaway at Naas in February and has since won another point. This test on soft ground and he doesn’t need to find a great deal on his best form to be involved.
Selection The Storyteller Each Way Alternative Le Malin
Time for the Mares Chase one of the newest races at the festival, Willie Mullins trains the short price fav Allegorie De Vassy in what looks to be a match between her and Impervious. The former is unbeaten in 4 starts and she has looked impressive this season over fences despite having a tendency to jump right at her fences. A winner over further she should have no stamina issues and will be tough to beat if her jumping is on song.
Impervious ran well at last years festival when 5th in the Mares novice behind Love Envoi over a trip that was probably always going to be to sharp for her in time. She has taken well to fences being unbeaten in 3 starts including in a grade 3 when last seen. She seems to jump well and is more uncomplicated type than her chief rival. Conditions look ideal and overall, I think her form has more depth to it given that she has taken on the like of Dinoblue this season in open company and fro me should be favourite here.
Elimay has shown little this season but last year’s winners deserves a mention and if able to bounce back to form under new headgear could still be a threat
Selection Impervious Each Way Alternative Elimay
Finally, it’s the Martin Pipe which wraps things up, normally a race won by a horse who needs to be graded class in time. What`s this year’s plot?
Well for many it will be the Willie Mullins trained Spanish Harlem who steps into handicap company for the first time. He is probably going to prove better than this mark in time and has to be respected.
Gordon Elliot is another trainer who has had success in this race in the past and it`s his Cool Surviocor who really catches the eye here. He was not beaten far in a grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival when last seen and was probably good enough to take his chances in the Albert Bartlett if connections had wished. I`m convinced he will prove much better than the mark he has been given and he looks to have the ideal mix of class and stamina to win this race. Connections learnt a lot about him last time it seems in how he was ridden and finished his race so it will be no surprise to see him produced late and the demands of this race could suit. Might I ran well her last time over a trip probably shorter than ideal the tongue tie goes on today, he handles soft ground and could still be ahead of the handicapper. He is a solid type against the market principals who should run his race
Selection Cool Survivor Each Way Alternative Might I