1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Both Dysart Dynamo and Sir Gerhard will be split up. Which way they go I don’t know. I think whichever horse goes to the Ballymore will win and the one that runs in the Supreme will win. I think the Supreme is a cracking race. Mighty Potter could be a dual Grade One winner, he got caught in a pocket in the Royal Bond. Kilcruit, the application of a tongue-tie has really helped him and he was very good at Punchestown. At a push, I would be picking Jonbon. I loved him at Newbury. They will go hard in this race and I think the race is made for Jonbon. I didn’t think there was anything to dislike in his run at Newbury and then you have Constitution Hill who the vibes seem strong about from Seven Barrows. It is going to be a fascinating race to open the meeting. The race has everything.
2.10pm Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase
The Arkle is a reverse of Cheltenham’s of the past. You have Edwardstone being the leading British hope and then you have the net seven horses in the betting being Irish ready to take him on in the shape of Blue Lord, Riviere D’etel, Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam, Ciel De Neige, Magic Daze and Coeur Sublime. Edwardstone has been rock-solid. He was very professional at Warwick last time out and he sets the standard. It’s a big ride for Tom Cannon. Not much separates Blue Lord and Riviere D’etel on their run at Leopardstown and a better jump at the last may have swung it for Riviere D’etel. I think Paul Townend was brilliant on Blue Lord and I don’t think there is much between them. What puts me off Riviere D’etel, Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam is the poor record that five-year-olds have. I would say Edwardstone is the one. He is a brilliant jumper and he is the most likely winner of what is a very open race.
3.30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle
I think Honeysuckle is very hard to beat. Appreciate It is in great form. He bolted up in the Supreme, but I don’t know how strong a race it was. Appreciate It was an each-way price, but he is shorter now and I just think Honeysuckle is a brilliant mare. From a betting point of view, it looks like a betting without race. Appreciate It, Teahupoo, Zanahiyr, Epatante and even Tommy’s Oscar who continues to improve throughout the season are all decent horses, but they are running into a champion. I think for Honeysuckle to deliver in front of a sell-out crowd on the Tuesday afternoon, I think she’ll get the reception she missed last year and truly deserves. I wouldn’t mind being on her back to walk back in front of the crowd.
4.10pm Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle
Stormy Ireland. I thought she was really good in the Relkeel and I thought she was good at Fairyhouse and Punchestown. She has run well at the meeting in the past and I think this is the weakest Mares’ Hurdle she has run in.
4.50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Gaelic Warrior is a nice horse, he stays well and has plenty of gears. He does look to have a favourable mark given what he has achieved and what he has shown us at home. You’d hope he would be better than a mark of 129, but you could make that case for a lot of horses. Why would you back a horse at 5/2 in a 22-runner handicap hurdle at Cheltenham. I think there is no value in him at 5/2 and I like Interne De Sivola.
1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Dysart Dynamo and Sir Gerhard are likely to be split up and whichever one runs here will win.
2.10pm Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Bravemansgame is a brilliant jumper and quickened up very sharply at Kempton. I think he is a fabulous horse and I think he will win a King George. Will he get three miles here? I think it depends how hard they go up front. If Ahoy Senor is dragging him along, I think Ahoy Senor might outstay him.
2.50pm Coral Cup
Saint Felicien if he runs for me. The race he won at Gowran Park this year has thrown up some really interesting horses. There is a good roll of honour from that event.
3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Everything was perfect for Energumene at Ascot. It was tailor-made for Energumene on that occasion going right-handed and I think the position of the jumps also suited. Shishkin made a mistake going down to Swinley Bottom. I think Energumene got a perfect ride and executed his own performance perfectly, but he just wasn’t good enough. Shishkin is a hell of a racehorse, he has proven in the past that he can win when staring defeat in the eye. You know he has guts, has stamina and is going to be so simple to ride here. I think he will be very hard to beat. Chacun Pour Soi, I think if you put Shishkin and Energumene in the same position that Chacun found himself in when coming down the inside in the Champion Chase last year, they would have won that race. Chacun Pour Soi didn’t win and I think he has something to prove here. Nube Negra has an each-way shout, but I think the race resolves around Shishkin. I’d want to be on Shishkin’s back.
4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
I’m with Tiger Roll. I think he is rock-solid on the Cross Country course. He is a better horse in the spring.
5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Redemption Day and St James’s Gate are fair horses. It’s a bumper anything can happen and Facile Vega is a good horse. American Mike was very good at Navan, but I thought Facile Vega was brilliant at Leopardstown and I’m with him. Facile Vega has been exceptional and he just seems to have so much natural ability. Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd are not hiding their admiration for American Mike. Willie and Patrick love Facile Vega and there can only be one winner on the day. They are two big names taking each other on.
1.30pm Turners Novices’ Chase
We are getting the clash that not everybody saw coming between Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champ. Bob Olinger was brilliant in the Ballymore last year and how he went to the line was outstanding. Galopin Des Champs won the Martin Pipe and then won the Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle. However, over fences to me at least, I don’t think Bob Olinger is a better horse as a chaser. He is still brilliant but they haven’t improved him, whilst Galopin Des Champs has improved for the switch to fences. He attacks his fences and is fast through the air, whilst Bob Olinger is a bit safer at his fences. I know connections think Bob Olinger is the second coming, but I love the way Galopin Des Champs has attacked his fences and the manner in which he has hit the line. My feet are in the Mullins camp and that is where my heart will be.
2.50pm Ryanair Chase
Allaho is rock-solid. He looks to have the most leeway to underperform.
3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
I had been a huge fan of Champ’s and I think he was half-ready at Cheltenham in January. I think the single best piece of form is Champ beating Minella Indo and Allaho. He is the one I would be siding with. Flooring Porter and Klassical Dream both live off their nerves. Paisley Park is the opposite and has had a think about going forward. It’s a race I’ve been look at all throughout the winter and my opinion keeps changing on this race. I had Paisley Park written off but he impressed at Cheltenham, I can see myself standing in the parade ring not being shocked who has won the race. However, I won’t be surprised if Champ put his best foot forward in this event.
4.50pm Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
Dinoblue was impressive last time out and is the one I am with. However, Night And Day is one to note. She has never run for Willie Mullins is interesting, but I wouldn’t put anyone off Night And Day. She does work well and I wouldn’t be surprised if Willie ran her. I wouldn’t think she is a 50/1 shot in that event.
1.30pm Triumph Hurdle
There is nothing much between Pied Piper and Vauban. They clashed at Punchestown on their respective hurdling debuts and Pied Piper backed up victory there with success at Cheltenham. Vauban then went to Leopardstown and was really good when beating Fil Dor and Il Etait Temps. Triumph Hurdles are funny races and whilst the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle have made this a proper Grade One race. I think Knight Salute is a good horse, Porticello is a strong stayer and Doctor Parnassus won over a longer trip last time out. The Irish form looks stronger. I thought Il Etait Temps ran a blinder on debut for Willie. I thought that was a great run over hurdles when third to Vauban on debut thrown into a Grade One and I think he makes plenty of appeal in terms of each-way value. I don’t see this as the match that everyone sees it as. I think there are lot of decent horses in here.
2.10pm McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
State Man is a fair horse, but he lacks experience. He should be better than a mark of 141.
3.30pm Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
I thought after last year’s Gold Cup that Minella Indo had won a really strong race beating A Plus Tard and Al Boum Photo. Al Boum Photo looks to have come back to himself in the last couple of weeks. Minella Indo shaped well at Downroyal, blew up at Kempton, but then ran well in the Irish Gold Cup. I thought Galvin and A Plus Tard was a great tussle in the Savills Chase. I’m not discounting Protektorat, but the more I watch the races, I think A Plus Tard’s Betfair Chase win was special. I think he is the one to take out of it. He is now an eight-year-old and whilst Galvin and Al Boum Photo will stay well, I think A Plus Tard could be the most likely winner and provide Rachael Blackmore with some satisfaction after the pain she felt after the race last year.
4.50pm Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase
Elimay. I think the cheekpieces are the making of her. She is tiny, but very well built. I just think cheekpieces are going to be the difference.
5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
I’m not sure if State Man runs here or in the County Hurdle. I think Good Risk At All is interesting if he runs here. I wouldn’t fancy him in the Coral Cup, I think he will go well on the New Course in this event.
Ruby’s Lucky 15 for the Cheltenham Festival: Stormy Ireland (Mares’ Hurdle), Saint Felicien (Coral Cup), Champ (Stayers’ Hurdle) and Elimay (Mares’ Chase)