Kalondra Going For Gold At Cheltenham
Coneygree is going to be the name that will attract most attention when glancing over the card for Cheltenham this afternoon as some real quality National Hunt racing returns to the Cotswolds.
There is also plenty of interesting fare at Punchestown as the jump season ramps up a gear or two even without the rain that trainers and jockeys on both sides of the Irish Sea re crying out for.
Fehily For The Feature
Noel Fehily has a good book of rides at Cheltenham today and he could well team up with Neil Mulholland to land the major honours.
The Mulholland-trained Kalondra is given the nod to score in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham today as he looks a progressive handicapper who may just appreciate the ground and the conditions of this race.
A faller when last seen, Kalondra came to Galway where it looked like he might run a nice race in a contest won by Sub Lieutenant but he fluffed his lines at the third last.
Some of those prominent in the betting for today’s feature may have been lined up for this expecting much softer ground conditions but Kalondra has proven to appreciate a sound surface and this extended 2m4f trip would look his ideal distance.
There are a few runners in the mix here that could hold their own in Graded company consistently and maybe even at Grade 1 level but the selection appears to be more of a solid handicapper…
who is off a reasonable mark to compete well in a race of this nature and is sided with to do so.
Mullins In The Bumper
The sight of a Willie Mullins runner at Cheltenham always signals danger, a bumper runner would strike even more fear into the bookies and a mare in mares company that has won on her only two starts would look a dream for punters.
Royal Illusion really has done all that has been asked of her so far and while that statement might also be valid for some of her rivals, the standard of bumpers that she has won would look a notch or two above the English form.
Royal Illusion was priced up as an 6/4 chance last night and that appeared to be quite good value about a mare…
that could well win this concluding race with a bit in hand.
Mall Dini To Score For Kelly
The early prices chalked up last night were a determining factor into the Punchestown selection for this column but Mall Dini looked overpriced at 7/2.
Pat Kelly would be renowned for getting his team primed for the second half of the season and landing a gamble or two along the way but with the 150-rated Mall Dini he looks to have a perfect candidate to win the beginners chase today.
Despite there being Grade 2 and Listed action on the Punchestown card it is Mall Dini that will enter the racecourse as the highest rated runner on the card and he wouldn’t be out of place in the Grade 2 novice event.
A runner-up in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last season the eight-year-old Pertemps Hurdle winner from 2016 didn’t manage to land a blow in the Irish Grand National but should certainly be up to running a big race here.
Tower Bridge was a Grade 1 winning hurdler and JP McManus and Jospeh O’Brien have admirably left JJ Slevin keep that association and they would be a big danger to the selection but Mall Dini sets a very high standard with my memory unable to recall a higher rated runner in a beginners and…
anything around the 7/2 mark would seem value for the connections of Gold Cup fancy Presenting Percy.
Kalondra (13/2) – 2.25 Cheltenham
Royal Illusion (6/4) – 4.00 Cheltenham
Mall Dini (3/1) – 12.35 Punchestown
*Prices correct at time of publication.