Katie Walsh: The rain will suit Energumene down to the ground
The Betway ambassador previews the second day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival and picks out her fancies for each race on the card.
13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
IMPAIRE ET PASSE has showed a good turn of foot to win on two occasions, including in the Moscow Flyer last time.
There has been so much chat about how much this horse has improved of late and how his work at home has been very good. Obviously, he needs to do it on the track now but the vibes are strong and it’s hard to stand in the way of that.
14:10 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
THYME HILL was much the better of these over hurdles and is one I’d like to keep onside. He was narrowly beaten in an Albert Bartlett and in Stayers’ Hurdle which is top-class form. He’s been good over fences so far and it would be great for his connections were he to win this.
Sir Gerhard is obviously the class horse in the race. He won the Bumper here two years ago and won the Ballymore last season, but he’s only had one run over fences and I’m not sure that’s ideal.
14.50 Coral Cup
If I was to ride one in this, it would be RUN FOR OSCAR for Charles Byrnes. He’s high enough in the weights, but he’s a solid horse who has run well in England before and that’s a plus in my book.
I also think that HMS Seahorse could run well for Paul Nolan. He was fourth in the Boodles last year and was a good winner last time, too.
15.30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
I’m really looking forward to the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
As you know, I’m a big fan of Edwardstone in general, but all this rain that has fallen will suit last year’s winner ENERGUMENE down to the ground.
I think Paul [Townend] will buck off out in front and make it a real test. He’ll love the ground and will stay further than this, and I think he’ll come on for his recent run at Cheltenham, too. Edwardstone should finish second, though.
16:10 Cross Country Chase
DELTA WORK is the class horse with course experience, and I think he’ll take all the beating in the Cross Country.
It should be going to Gordon’s [Elliott] yard though as he’s got another great chance with Galvin, but you’d question if he’d really love soft ground if it continued to rain.
Delta Work won this race last year and has run well since, but you know he’s been trained for this race from the second they crossed the line last time.
16:50 Grand Annual Challenge Cup
FINAL ORDERS jumps like a stag and that should help him in the Grand Annual. He’ll be ridden handy and that’s where the winner is likely to come from. He was good at Leopardstown last time and is a horse who is just improving.
I’ll give a mention to Henry’s Epson Du Houx , too. He caught my eye behind Rebel Gold last time.
17:30 Champion Bumper
The Bumper is a race I love and a race that I was very lucky to win.
If I could ride one this year, it would be A DREAM TO SHARE , who is the fastest horse in the race. He got given a great ride last time and he sluiced up, and would perhaps be a lot shorter in the betting if it wasn’t for the unknown of the Mullins runners.
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