The equine flu has hit UK racing like a bolt of lightening, and hopefully the action can resume as quickly as possible. We miss some great races this weekend which, if we are back relatively soon, can with any luck be re-scheduled.
After Off You Go did us a nice turn last weekend, this week we go off to the Cheltenham ante post market and wade in on three real banker bets for a trixie.
For sure the prices are skinny, but most of the really top races at the Festival are won by horses from the first three in the betting. The big race on opening day is the Champion Hurdle and here it's hard to get away from the defending champion BUVEUR D'AIR. For sure a couple of Irish mares are looming large with Apple's Jade being diverted from the Mares Hurdle after her demolition job at Leopardstown last weekend, and Laurina whom Willie Mullins, never a man to get carried away, is already comparing favourably to Annie Power.
Yet Buveur D'Air has been there and done it, a marvellously consistent performer trained by that masterful Cheltenham big hitter Nicky Henderson. It was See You Then - ironically nicknamed See You When because he appeared so rarely - that really launched him as a Festival maestro and, while the horse appeared about as often as Lord Lucan during the season, he turned up primed to perfection on the day that mattered.
He won three Champion Hurdles in a row - 1985 - '87, and now Buveur D'Air bids to complete the same hat trick. A recent Sandown win showed him in good heart but little else really. Yet he wasn't tearing up any trees in the build up last year either, but we can be sure that he'll be mighty quick on the draw at Cheltenham.
PAISLEY PARK in the Stayers Hurdle is the second leg of our treble. He has been an absolute revelation this season, and his astonishing Cleeve Hurdle victory not only testified to his current electric form, but also buried any fears about his ability to handle Cheltenham.
Those concerns were justifiable after the Albert Bartlett last year where they were nearly launching a search party to find him. Clearly a first time visor did not prove an inspired idea but it will be a very different story at the Festival this time where he can put them all to the sword. No question he's the one to beat.
PRESENTING PERCY in the Gold Cup completes our trio of "good things." It's hard to remember a more impressive RSA winner, and while the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park - where he won with a ton in hand - might be an unconventional preparation, it's the same path he followed last year. The Red Mills Chase back at Gowran Park next Saturday should - just like last season - complete the build up perfectly and his shrewd trainer Pat Kelly will leave absolutely nothing to chance.
Bet only with those bookmakers already offering Non Runner No Bet.
Advised Bet - 0.5 point win Trixie (2 point in total)
CHAMPION HURDLE - Buveur D'Air 15/8
STAYERS HURDLE - Paisley Park 2/1
GOLD CUP - Presenting Percy 11/4
Above odds give ~31/1 should all three win.
(A trixie is four bets on three selections in different events. 3 doubles, 1 treble. Two or more must be successful to have a return. A £1 trixie costs £4.)
Compare Odds at https://www.oddschecker.com/Cheltenham-Festival
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