Wednesday at Cheltenham – According to our resident Tipster;
ENVOI Allen is considered an Irish Cheltenham banker and punters will get an early opportunity to see if Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten gelding can live up to the task.
The trainer considered the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle for this fellow, such is the regard in which he is held.
1:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
But the extra half-mile of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30), is seen as Allen’s optimum trip and will take all the stopping after winning three home bumpers and of course, the Champion bumper here 12 months ago.
There are plenty of threats of course, such as Philip Hobbs’s unbeaten Sporting John and the Willie Mulllins contender The Big Getaway but Envoi is a confident selection to give Elliott his second win in three years, Samcro obliging in 2018.
3:30 Champion Chase
The Champion Chase (3.30) is the day’s feature race with the Nicky Henderson trained Altior bidding for a hat-trick. But he suffered a slight set-back at the weekend and for that reason, has to be opposed.
Altior has drifted in the betting from evens out to 5/2, leaving the Hobbs runner Defi Du Seuil as market leader. He’ll carry plenty of support in view of his transiton from hurdling into a two-mile chaser but the value, lies with Chacun Pour Soi whose last success at Leopardstown was top drawer, beating Min in the process. He also holds a victory over Defi Du Seuil at last year’s Punchestown festival and that puts Chacun right there in the firing line.
4:10 Cross Country Chase
Grand National double hero Tiger Roll is unopposable in the Cross-Country Chase (4.10), having been victorious for the last two years. If he wins again, he will equal Golden Miller’s record of five Festival winners.
Elliott has given Tiger the same preparation as last year and he will surely pounce before heading to Aintree and an attempt at a third successive Aintree crown.
5:30 The Champion Bumper
The last race on the second day, the Champion Bumper (5.30), is always of interest in the search for future stars – it produced Envoi Allen 12 months ago.
Mullins has a great shout with the well-backed Appreciate It who is blessed with pace and stamina as seen in his comprehensive victory at Leopardstown last month.
Willie also has Ferney Hollow as a live threat but he will be disappointed if Appreciate It proves inferior.
Rachel Blackmore is quietly fancied to enjoy success in the RSA Novice Chase (2.10) with Minella Indo who has taken to the bigger obstacles with aplomb for Henry De Bromhead. This is a step up in class with Mullins relying on Allaho and rivals such as Champ, Copperhead and Battleoverdoyen to contend with but Indo can rise to the occasion.
Selections: 1.30: Envoi Allen; 2.10: Minella Indo; 2.50: Top Moon; 3.30: Chacun Pour Soi; 4.10: Tiger Roll; 4.50: Blacko; 5.30: Appreciate It