Leading jockey and Closutton insider Danny Mullins puts up his Tote Ten to Follow Cheltenham Mini Game.
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He’s done very little wrong so far in what’s going to be one of the best match races of the Festival. I hope he can come out on top and land the Arkle bonus points.
Jason The Militant
Everyone is going to go with Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle so I’m going to be bold and go with Jason The Militant. His jumping in Fairyhouse was very slick and he’s a horse that’s gone under the radar somewhat this season. If he can get back to his run in the Morgiana he’s a serious Grade 1 contender.
Chacun Pour Soi
In the Champion Chase I’m going for Chacun Pour Soi. He looks so far ahead in the division at the moment. Altior is obviously a past champion but time is not on his side and I just don’t think any of the rest of them will be able to match Chacun Pour Soi.
He’s looked foot-perfect in what he’s done so far this year. Stepping back in trip was no issue to him the last day and the fact that he’s won an Albert Bartlett shows 3m is no issue. He’s probably as good a banker as you’ll get for the week.
Sire Du Berlais
His Cheltenham form is fantastic and he had a solid run at Leopardstown the last day. He’s been given a nice break between Cheltenham and Leopardstown at Christmas which should leave him spot on. He ran only the second week of January last year and went straight to the Festival, so a long absence doesn’t really seem to be of any concern and the year before he won at Cheltenham coming straight from Leopardstown as well. I think the fact he likes the track so much has to be a big factor here.
Willie has a great chance in the Ryanair but the fact that the three of his are front runners in Allaho, Min and Melon, they might just end up taking each other on a little bit on the front end and it could set a race up for Imperial Aura. He’s a past winner at the Festival and you couldn’t knock him for unseating at the second last time out as that can happen to any horse.
In County Hurdle, I’ll chance the mare I rode in it last year. Her run the last day was quite disappointing behind Concertista but I don’t think it was her true running. She won at Punchestown beating Elimay earlier in the year and had won a nice race in Gowran Park before that. I travelled very well on her last year down to the last hurdle and she just flattened out a little bit. I think the way the race is run it will suit one like her coming from off the pace.
Al Boum Photo
He’s very solid, there’s nothing flash about him, but when you go through the form of the others in the Gold Cup there are just so many holes and question marks beside them. I think A Plus Tard is most likely to give him a race of it but Al Boum Photo has been there and done it twice. He’s a deserved favourite in a competitive race and hopefully he can make history. It won’t be easy for him but he looks the most likely winner.
I’m going to go with Elimay in the Mares’ Chase. She’s been very good in what she’s done so far this year. She was an impressive winner in Naas the last day over 2m and her previous run to that she was a good second to Allaho in Thurles. They went a true gallop in that race and she gave Allaho a little fright going to the last and back in against the mares here she’ll take all the beating.
She’s been very good in what she’s done this year. Normally she comes through the winter on a bit of a lull on her form and improves through the spring. This year she’s come out all guns blazing all the way through the season. She won very cosily on her last couple of starts, probably not beating huge opposition, but the manner in which she’s done it you’d have to be taken by. I just don’t think the opposition is really there to beat her. Roksana is a possible runner in the Stayers’ and I think Roksana probably has a better chance of winning that than beating Concertista.