COUNTY WICKLOW Cheltenham Preview Debrief
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ere are the key notes from our Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening held at Castle Inn, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow on Thursday 27 February.
On the panel:
Dessie Hughes DH (Trainer)
Barry Connell BC (Owner)
Tony O Hehir TOH (Journalist)
Donn McLean DM (Journalist)
Geoff Lester GL (UK Sports Writer)
Denis Kerwin – chairman
Don’t forget to check out:
Panel’s Best Bets of Festival
DH Wicklow Brave – Supreme Novices
BC Foxrock – National Hunt Chase
DM Morning Assembly – RSA Chase
TOH Sea Beat ew – Fred Winter
GL Pendra – Nov Handicap Chase
Tuesday 11 March
DH – Willie Mullins will be hard to beat. WICKLOW BRAVE beat a horse of his that he thought was very good, Lieutenant Colonel, quickening away nicely. Tip WICKLOW BRAVE.
BC – IRVING is quality and speedy but won’t go left handed. Toss up between VAUTOUR & WICKLOW BRAVE.
GL – Barry Geraghty keen on JOSSES HILL.
DH – TRIFOLIUM jumps great which is what you need. Tip – TRIFOLIUM.
BC – CHAMPAGNE FEVER is the lay of the meeting, far too short.
Denis – ROCK ON RUBY is a hurdler going chasing. Can’t have him. Tip – TRIFOLIUM.
TOH – ROCK ON RUBY is fav only on Cheltenham form. Don’t dismiss DODGING BULLETS. Tip – VALDEZ ew.
GL – Tip – GRANDOUET.
Panel think QUEVEGA is exceptional.
BC – COCKNEY SPARROW for the forecast.
The panel left the Champion Hurdle Day 1 till last. All agree it is the best race of the meeting.
BC – His horse, OUR CONOR has shown marked improvement. Loves Cheltenham. This race is all about jumping at speed, he says they beat HURRICANE FLY, they have only 1 and a half lengths to find. MY TENT OR YOURS is too free and THE NEW ONE has jumping issues.
DH – HURRICANE FLY will be hard to beat, he thinks the two English are very good. On the day THE NEW ONE won at Cheltenham last year he immediately said ‘that’s the Champion Hurdle winner next year’. That was before his horse OUR CONOR won and he thinks they have a great chance in a tough race.
TOH – The handicapper Noel O Brien has said, HURRICANE FLY has only run to 170 this year with a rating of 175 so there is improvement. THE NEW ONE will turn tables on MY TENT OR YOURS, but don’t rule out JEZKI for a place.
DM – HURRICANE FLY is horse to beat. JEZKI to place.
GL – MY TENT OR YOURS, with OUR CONOR, HURRICANE FLY the dangers.
Note: When the question was put as to where the pace would come from in the race DH confirmed that OUR CONOR will not make the running.
Wednesday 12 March
TOH – ROYAL BOY value ew @ 8s
DM – FAUGHEEN
DH – FAUGHEEN
TOH – BALLYCASEY too skinny. Tip – SMAD PLACE.
GL – Tip – SMAD PLACE. DON COSSACK ew.
BC – likes MORNING ASSEMBLY. Doesn’t think SMAD PLACE jumps well enough.
DH – Toughest race of meeting. He likes SMAD PLACE too but he spoke to Gordon Elliott last week and he likes DON COSSACK.
GL – MORNING ASSEMBLY.
GL – SIRE DE GRUGY better going the other way. Tip – CAPTAIN CONAN.
DH – Tip SIRE DE GRUGY.
BC – Thinks SIRE DE GRUGY is an exceptional horse and would have given Sprinter Sacre a race.
TOH – BENEFFICIENT if it’s soft. If BAILY GREEN runs he’s a very good ew.
DM – SIRE DE GRUGY jumps right and that will be exasperated at Cheltenham. Forgive KID CASSIDY his last run, he needs to be held up, he’s a good ew. Tip – BAILY GREEN.
BC – GOLANTILLA 14/1 good value.
GL– OUR KAEMPFER. Longsdon said great chance at a big price.
DM – KILLULTAGH VIC impressed him don’t dismiss a Willie Mullins 3rd or 4th choice.
Thursday 13 March
DM – OSCAR WHISKY doesn’t perform at Cheltenham. WONDERFUL CHARM a worthy fav, but DJAKADAM or FELIX YONGER are the ones.
DH – Tip – OSCAR WHISKY, but BRIGHT NEW DAWN is a good ew if he gets his ground
GL – Likes OSCAR WHISKY but VUKOVAR ran first time for Harry Fry and got beaten. They then discovered that he had always worn a tongue tie in France. When they fitted it next time he was very impressive.
TOH – WONDERFUL CHARM
None keen on this race or the quality of the field.
DM – AL FEROF the one to beat.
BC – HIDDEN CYCLONE ew
DH – BENEFFICIENT
TOH – AL FEROF around Cheltenham most likely winner.
GL – Again AL FEROF because of the track
DH – ANNIE POWER has a great chance but if you allow for his fitness on his first run back, BIG BUCK’S is the one to beat.
DM – BIG BUCK’S too old. Winner is generally from first 4 in the betting, he’d go for RULE THE WORLD or AT FISHERS CROSS.
GL – Nicholls will run 4 in the race to ensure proper test, ANNIE POWER well need to stay.
BC – Doesn’t see it as strong as previous years and is supplementing MOUNT BENBULBEN
Friday 14 March
DH – GUITAR PETE has a great chance.
GL – Daryl Jacob had ridden top two in the market and says CALIPTO is the one.
DM – GUITAR PETE has improved (Dessie confirmed that he has improved massively). TIGER ROLL that he beat was impressive and is over priced.
TOH – Mullins horses need dig in the ground. GUITAR PETE looks Irish pick.
All tip BRIAR HILL. He always just does enough.
TOH – BOBS WORTH but would be afraid of SILVINIACO CONTI
DM – SILVINIACO CONTI wouldn’t have beaten BOBS WORTH despite the fall last year. Tip – BOBS WORTH. LAST INSTALMENT good ew.
BC – One horse race. BOBS WORTH bet of meeting.