Much depends on how much rain has fallen overnight and its effects on the going after a day’s racing. It was describe as tiring on Tuesday and front runners did appear to feel the pinch late on. It’s another Mullins v Connell battle with both camps sending out positives in the last days.
Barry Connell was supremely confident after Marine Nationale’s win that Good Land would do the double. His form is stronger than the two Mullins contenders. The matches earlier confident reports from the Mullins yard on Impaire Et Passe and some positive reports from Danny Mullins on Champ Kiely but will he hold on from the front?
Paul Nicholls runners cut little ice yesterday and Hermes Allen is passed over and the first eight home in the Supreme were all Irish-trained so British runners are left alone.
Selection: Good Land Next best: Champ Kiely
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
The first of the high-class Elliott novice in Gerri Colombe goes into action and has done everything right in his novice campaign.
Sir Gerard surely needs more experience.
Thyme Hill didn’t impress with his jumping until winning at Kempton at Christmas and that turned out a weak race with the second finishing lame.
Galia Des Liteaux impressed with her jumping at Warwick and could be underestimated.
Could The Real Whacker repeat his two curse successes? This is a lot rougher and could he make all? Ramillies could stay on for third.
Selection: Gerri Colombe Next Best: Galia Des Liteaux
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
Where to start? Follow the money with An Epic Song? You are taking a lot by chance.
HMS Seahorse, Icare Allen, Run For Oscar, San Salvador are on the short list.
And Fil Dor left in as top-weight when he has lots of options catches the eye. Though it’s a lot of weight for a five-year-old. Would stable companion Sa Fueur come into the mix?
Selection: Sa Fureur Next best: HMS Seahorse
Champion Chase (Grade 1)
Reigning champion Energumene must shrug off his poor run in the Clarence House on the new course in January when behind Editeur de Gite and Edwardstone.
Edwardstone, winner of last year’s Arkle, looked the moral winner that day and ridden close to the leader, can take the champion crown.
Niall Houlihan is going have to use all his guile to make it three wins in a row from the front.
Enegumene will be suited by softer going but he was disappointing last time and Edwardstone is a tougher rival than those he beat here last season.
Selection: Edwardstone Next best: Editeur de Gite
Cross Country Chase
This one of the highest quality renewals of the race although you can never be sure how better class horses will take to the obstacle and the twisting and turning.
Galvin is a Grade 1 horse should be well schooled as is Franco De Port and the two mares, Gin On Lime and Snow Leopardess are good jumpers. Snow Leopardness’ run last time showed she still game for action and could improve on her January run here.
Delta Work took all his time to overhaul Tiger Roll in favourable conditions last year and must be vulnerable, with cross-country specialist Keith Donoghue is on board.
Selection: Galvin Next Best: Snow Leopardess
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
A 66 and 28/1 winner in the last four years sound caution as does four British-trained in the last six years.
It might be worth going with Sam Thomas’s Before Midnight at around 16s. The trainer is deft at landing a big handicap and first time cheekpieces could motivate him. An Irish trio top the weights and have plenty to do on that. Dinoblue does look the best of the Irish.
Selection: Before Midnight Next Best: Dinoblue
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
The saying goes something like, if you think you have five Derby horses you usually have none. Does Willie Mullins have 10 bumper horses with a chance of winning? Ruby Walsh has put up Fact To File as the better stayer, a quality he believed is needed,
12 of the last 12 winners won on their previous run which would rule out one I still had hopes for at a price, Chapeau De Soleil. Fascile Mode and Chosen Witness.
There appears to be confidence behind Gordon Elliott’s Better Days Ahead and Encanto Bruno is not ruled out. A Dream To Share was pretty impressive at Leopardstown.
Of the British, Queens Gamble didn’t impress last time but her two wins at Cheltenham were impressive and at 20s, with mares having a good record in this, she is worth the each-way. What better way to end a Festival afternoon than a win for the Trevor Hemmings colours, and Alan King’s Favour And Fortune, a half-brother to Dreal Deal, was very impressive at Warwick and might be worth an each-way at big odds.
Selection : Better Days Ahead Next best: Queen’s Gamble