Ron – This is just the second running of this race but refer back to what I said in my write up on another race, regarding the Willie Mullins “mares only” Cheltenham races (won 15 of the 21 run to date), and you do not really need my help solving this one.
Last year he saddled the winner, the runner up, and the fourth placed home, too.
This year Mullins and Gordon Elliott saddle the first four on the tissue, two each. On official ratings it’s a match between ELIMAY and MOUNT IDA, with the second named rated a pound superior and arriving the winner of last seasons Kim Muir.
However, this is a monkey of a horse who also has a Gold Cup entry but who can give her jockeys all kinds of problems. Jumps out to her right, can get herself tailed off but has so much ability that it has not stopped her winning four of her chase starts and placing in the other three.
On New Years Day MOUNT IDA beat ELIMAY by half a length and last year my gut feeling was that ELIMAY doesn’t like a fight. She was looking all over the winner against her stable companion COLREEVY in this, but got done half a length.
I’m going to suggest a little e.w. CONCERTISTA. She arrives unbeaten in two races over fences, her Cheltenham form figures read 2, 1, 2 and both defeats saw her come out wrong in a photo finish.
Not a race I’ll be able to Profile because I’ve nothing to work with so that’s my bet here and now.
Sean – With the first five in the betting trained in Ireland I think we all know first prize is heading overseas once again, though which horse is the big question. I am not convinced this trip suits Champion Chase winner Put the Kettle on and will pass her by, and it looks as if Elimay could come out best of the Irish team. A change of tactics saw her make all at Naas to stroll home unchallenged and a repeat of that effortless victory may well prove to be enough. That said, she will not get things all her own way at the front of affairs here with the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Zambella looking to use similar tactics, and if you want a bigger priced option, she may be your each-way call.