Robbie Power: Buveur d’Air Can Capitalise On ‘Vulnerable’ Apple’s Jade
Former Gold Cup winning jockey Robbie Power has claimed Apple’s Jade is ‘vulnerable’ at Cheltenham as she bids to deny Buveur d’Air a hat-trick in the Champion Hurdle.
Speaking to us directly from Cheltenham, Power made his call on each race on day one of the Festival, starting with his ride for Colin Tizzard in the opener.
1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
“It’s a wide open race and Beaufort West is a big outsider and is still a maiden. He would need to improve an awful lot to get involved. Usually there would be a short-priced favourite or a potential banker and this year there isn’t one. What’s interesting for me is that I thought Willie Mullins would run Klassical Dream in the Ballymore on Wednesday. He was a Grade 1 winner over 2 miles on quick ground the last day and he’s gone for the 2 miles today and he’s probably the one I’d pick out in the race.”
2.10 Arkle Chase
“There should be a strong pace in the race and there’s plenty of frontrunners. I’m looking forward to riding Paloma Blue, I think a strongly run 2 miles is what he wants and he was a very good 4th in the Supreme Novices’ last year, staying on strongly up the hill. He’ll need to improve a bit on Chase form but I schooled him after racing last week and he gave me a very good feel and he jumped super. He’s good each-way value.”
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase
“With 24 runners it will be tough but Magic Of Light has had a fantastic season. She was unlucky the last time out in the Bobbyjo where she unshipped me but she’s come out of it in good form.
She felt good when I schooled her last week and she felt very good when I took her for a trot at Cheltenham on Sunday morning.
The word in England is that Give Me A Copper is strongly fancied, there’s been plenty of talk that he’s been mapped out for this race for quite some time and he’s a young horse who could be open to improvement.”
3.30 Champion Hurdle
“It’s a fascinating race and I think if Apple’s Jade turns up like she did at Leopardstown she’ll take all the beating. My big concern is that she’s never run to the same level of form that she’s shown at other tracks and she might be a mare that suits flatter. For that reason I’m going to stick with Buveur d’Air.
He’s been there and done it twice and this while is his toughest test I think he can take advantage of Apple’s Jade’s vulnerability.
I’d be very surprised if the winner came outside the top 3 in the betting, but if there was one to cause an upset it could be Espoir d’Allen, who has only been beating once over hurdles and there was an excuse for that.”
4.10 Mares’ Hurdle
“I think Willie Mullins will win the race again and most likely with Benie Des Diuex. She was a good winner of it last year, she’ll love the soft ground, she stays very well. If there’s one of Willie’s that could beat her it could be Stormy Ireland who was 2nd the last time behind Laurina. Alletrix will be ridden to be placed and this trip on soft ground is what she wants, so she’s probably a bit overpriced.”
4.50 Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase
“The Irish have a very strong hand in this race with Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard a good winner the last time at Punchestown. Cubomania has plenty of experience as well and it’s hard to put my hand on my heart and say which one is the best. It’s possibly Tower Bridge, a Grade 1 winner as a novice over hurdles and he looks well enough treated.”
5.30 National Hunt Challenge Cup
“Ballyward was a good winner at Naas and he beat Chris’s Dream that day, who went on to frank the form with a Grade 2 win at Navan over 3 miles. I like OK Corral of Nicky Henderson’s with Derek O’Connor booked to ride. I think this horse could have won the RSA Chase on the Wednesday and it’s interesting that they’re sticking to the plan and going for this even though JP McManus has nothing else for the RSA. I think outside of Benie Des Dieux, Ok Corral is probably the banker of the day.”