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This week appears to be getting more difficult as it progresses. Day one was the Willie Mullins show, whilst day two hosted what could be one of the poorest Champion Chases of recent years, with the market protagonists under performing. Day three has some very competitive racing but in reality there is only one potential superstar on show.
1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase
The chosen race for the Willie Mullins trained Vautour. Won a novice race last year at the festival last year, prompting his trainer to wax lyrical, describing the son of Robin Des Champs as easily his best horse (quite some praise considering subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen was also in the string that week). Started with authority over fences at Navan winning in a canter, but inexplicably bombed out on penultimate start at Leopardstown, well behind a horse he had destroyed the race before. Won easy enough last time out and but for that blip, would be odds on for this contest. Ruby Walsh loves the horse and has jumped very well in the main. Available at +225 with Coral.
Mullins is also represented by Valseur Lido who has already won a Grade One chase and finished second in one last time out. Is passed over by Ruby Walsh, but shouldn’t be totally disregarded.
Vautour’s main market rival comes in the form of Ptit Zig. Usurped hurdles form this year, looking very impressive over fences. Fell last time out however when favourite against his elders at Ascot and hasn’t been seen since. Has a very solid chance of making the frame if unscathed by that fall, but perhaps lacks the star quality of the Mullins runner.
Vautour has already won at Cheltenham, and if he can return to his earlier season form, then he should win. At odds of +225 , he is worth chancing to do so.
Bet – 1 point – win – Vautour – +225 – Coral
2.40 Ryainair Chase
Don Cossack likely to go off market leader for this contest over 2miles5f and horses form on good ground will be a plus. Has won last four on the spin, perhaps most impressively on penultimate start at Punchestown, careering away from Boston Bob after jumping the last. Only concern is that horse isn’t the slickest in the jumping department and paid for his occasional errant tendencies last year at the festival, falling in the RSA Chase when going well. If he stands up, has to go close and could be a notch above the rivals (has been described by Gordon Elliott as the best horse he has trained). +400 with BetVictor
Balder Success beat Ma Filleule, with the two pulling clear of their rivals in quick time. The latter was closing towards the line and may be better suited by Cheltenham, having gone close at the course over 3miles before. Nicky Henderson’s mare stays strongly, which will be an asset in a race which requires stamina to get up the hill. She has a very likeable attitude and will capitalise on any underperformance from the favourite.
Bet – 1 point – win – Don Cossack – +400 – BetVictor
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