Betting Tip: @ Acey Milan @ 8/1 with bet365
5:30 2m½f (2m87y) (Old Course) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4-6yo)
Last year (horse – trainer – jockey – SP):
1. Fayonagh – G Elliott – J Codd – 7/1
2. Debuchet – Ms M Mullins – D Mullins – 10/1
3. Claimantakinforgan – N Henderson – N De Boinville – 22/1
Nature of the race
With little form to go on, punters have to read into what connections are saying in the run-up and a choice trainer quote can have a big impact on the market. That said, the perception that this race is a bot of a lottery – recent results suggest otherwise – often means that the horses with the best form, mostly wide-margin wins at the bigger tracks, can go off at relatively big prices.
The Irish dominated the early runnings of this race but this is no longer a benefit for them, with the score standing at 4-4 between the home team and the raiders in the last eight renewals. That said, fifteen winners this century made their racecourse debut in Ireland, either in a bumper of point-to-point. All the last ten winners won last time out and the larger the field the better – seven had won a bumper with at least 13 runners – with nine of the last 10 aged five or six. After a string of shocks, the market has proved a more reliable guide with the last three winners being returned at 7/1 (last year), 5/1 and 9/2 favourite.
Willie Mullins has the best record with eight winners but just three in the last ten years. He’s often mob-handed and, on four of the occasions he has win it, he has saddled just one runner. On the other four, the winner was not his most fancied in the market. Indeed, if you’d backed all 42 of his runners that went off at 10/1 or bigger, you’d have found four winners and made a 29-point (69%) profit. Early indications are that he will have multiple runners this time around and anything ridden by his son Patrick, who is 2-10, deserves close attention as it’s pretty well known that he has the pick of the stable runners over Ruby Walsh.
Best of the Irish
Willie Mullins has declared five and Blackbow, who is the mount of son Patrick, is preferred in the betting having won both his bumpers, the latest of which was probably as good a bumper as we’ve seen in Ireland all season. Some bubbles were burst in that contest and the front pair pulled well clear of the remainder. The runner-up Rhinestone, trained by Willie’s son Joseph, might be able to reverse the form, though, as he travelled very strongly through that race and was perhaps given an overly confident ride by Derek O’Connor. The way he was staying on again inside the final furlong suggests that the Cheltenham hill won’t hold any fears for him.
Best of the home challenge
Anthony Honeyball’s Acey Milan has the best form of the British challengers, with his two of his three wins coming at Listed level, including one on the New Course here on Trials Day (beat 12 others on that occasion). He goes well on soft/heavy ground, which can’t be said about the other leading British contender Didtheyleaveuoutto, a winner at Ascot last time on ground that was “soft enough” according to his trainer Nick Gifford.
Others to consider
The Mullins quintet is made up with Tornado Flyer, the mount of Paul Townend and a game winner at Fairyhouse in January, Carefully Selected (Ruby Walsh), Colreevy (David Mullins) and Reiegate (Katy Walsh). Gordon Elliott’s Felix Desjy is another for the shortlist, although he wasn’t overly impressive when bringing up his hat-trick at Down Royal and is now tried in a hood.
Best bookmaker offers
Boylesports are refunding losing stakes on this race (as a free bet up to £20) if your horse finishes 2nd or 3rd to the SP favourite, which is most likely to be Blacbow. Each-way backers will be interested in the enhanced place terms at bet365, with one quarter the odds available instead of the standard fifth.
I can see Rhinestone finishing in front of Blackbow this time and he’s the biggest price of the pair, but for the winner I’m going for ACEY MILAN, who ticks most of the trends boxes and ‘could be anything’ according to his shred trainer. I’ll take bet365’s 8/1 as it’s Best Odds Guaranteed and I can’t see him going off much bigger besides.
Betting Tip: @ Acey Milan @ 8/1 with bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.