Brown Advisory Novices Chase
One of the bankers of the week for many is Irish raider Gerri Colombe at 7/4 who runs in the Brown Advisory. This horse is familiar with English shores after winning Sandown’s Scilly Isles Novice Chase which shows he has no issue with travelling over.
His rider that day Jordan Gainford retains the ride after giving him a peach at Sandown. He looked to be beaten at one point but the stamina reserves kicked in and he actually won snugly in the end, suggesting this step up in trip would suit him down to the ground.
So far to date he’s won 7 out of 7 starts and looks like he has a magnificent chance of making it 8 in this intriguing contest. He isn’t the highest rated in the field as that accolade belongs to Thyme Hill who was a great hurdler but looks a bit dubious over fences. I think the Irish take this prize back home courtesy of Gerri.
Cross Country Chase
Last year’s winner Delta Work heads the market but I’m opposing him with 9/4 shot and stablemate Galvin who looks to be running over these fences for the first time in his career.
It is quite hard to win this race with no prior experience but if you’re classy enough then it’s more than possible as Delta Work showed last year when dethroning the retiring Tiger Roll. Galvin is rated 7lb higher than Delta Work and has younger legs on his side so if he was to turn up in form, he’d certainly have a fantastic chance of claiming this on route to the National.
All the talk in the media has been about just how well he’s taken to the fences in his schooling so he just needs to get out on track and replicate it in the race now. He’s a great price to oppose the favourite and I’d be surprised if he or Delta Work did not win the race.
Grand Annual Handicap Chase
In the handicaps it always pays to look for a bigger price and side with something each way because you get much more value for your money! My pick here is Thyme White at 16/1 each way and he goes for the red hot Paul Nicholls who is operating at a 37% strike rate at time of writing.
Him and jockey Harry Cobden have been banging in winners left, right and centre as of late and this lad holds probably the best chance of any English horse in this race so I’m quite astounded at the price. He was really well fancied for the race last year and unfortunately got made a non runner when the heavens opened.
With a bit of luck on his side this year, he’ll get the ground he needs and he’s only 5lb higher than his win at Ascot at the start of the season where he won effortlessly. His previous visits to Cheltenham wouldn’t inspire you but he’s a much better chaser and travels through his races very nicely so Harry Cobden should be able to get a nice tune out of him and hit the frame.
With so many runners in this year’s Champion Bumper I think the play is to be safe and go each way. With that in mind, I’m siding with the mare Fun Fun Fun at 9/1 best price.
She was a remarkably easy winner of the Dublin Racing Festival mares bumper which surprised even Willie Mullins who went on record as saying he didn’t expect her to be fit enough to do what she did. It would also be extra special if she was to go and win as Patrick Mullins actually bred her.
Don’t be too disheartened that he hasn’t chosen to ride her, I don’t think he’s actually capable of making the weight and Daryl Jacob, the owners retained rider, is more than capable of doing the job.
For the way she’s gone about her business in her last 2 performances, it looks like she has a very lofty ceiling. Willie has said she could be anything so let’s hope she could be a Champion Bumper winner!