Cheltenham 2017 – Day 1 Preview & Tips
After months of waiting, preparing, analysing and weighing up the options for the Cheltenham Festival, the time has come for dreams to be realised or shattered.
This is a race that is missing a few stars but is certainly nothing if not competitive. Brain Power is an upwardly improving horse that is the fancy of a lot of people.
Buveur D’air also represents Team Henderson and is the pick of the JP McManus runners from this corner, while Willie Mullins will go for three-in-a-row with Footpad and Wicklow Brave representing him.
The inclusion of the novice, Moon Racer, offers more intrigue but Petit Mouchoir is the horse to beat in this one.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Irish Champion Hurdle winner is being wrongly dismissed for this race on the basis that Footpad finished so close at Leopardstown, but this is a six-year-old that was highly regarded during his time in both Gordon Elliott’s and Willie Mullins’ yards. Now well settled in with Henry, he can make every yard a winning one under Bryan Cooper.
The 7/1 on offer this evening may even get bigger again on the day
with Yanworth, Brain Power and possibly even Moon Racer candidates to be well supported on the opening day.
Power To The Longshots
The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but there’s an Irish raider in here that is way over priced at 25/1.
Powersbomb has been let down a couple of times by his jumping but if he can put in a clear round of jumping, this horse won’t be far way.
On St Stephen’s Day at Leopardstown, Powersbomb looked all over the winner until falling at the last in a race won by Lake Takapuna. Set to finish behind him that day was Ball D’arc, a winner of two Grade 3 races and a €100,000 handicap since and that form doesn’t really get much better.
Back at Leopardstown last time, Powersbomb made a horrific mistake at the second last fence but recovered from that to come back on the bridle, and albeit, he had to settle for second behind Elusive Ivy, he lost little in defeat given the circumstances and he’s a big player.
The most tentative selection of the day now is Jer’s Girl in the Mares’ Hurdle. She faces the unenviable task of taking on not one, but two Willie Mullins-trained high class mares in Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag.
Jer’s Girl hasn’t reached the peak of her powers this season taking on the seasoned open horses over two-miles but now back over two and a half miles and against her own sex, Jer’s Girl can be seen to good effect.
The five-year-old would prefer a bit more juice in the ground but given that neither Limini or Vroum Vroum Mag pitched up in the Champion Hurdle, they could just be worth taking on this time around and at 10/1, Jer’s Girl is a good each-way price at worst.
Petit Mouchoir (7/1) – 3:30 Cheltenham
Jer’s Girl EW (10/1) – 4:10 Cheltenham
*Prices correct at time of publication