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Gary O’Brien: My Cheltenham picks for every race on Wednesday

12 Mar | BY Gary O’Brien | MIN READ TIME |
Gary O’Brien: My Cheltenham picks for every race on Wednesday

The racing broadcaster runs through the card for the second day at the Festival and picks out his best bets.

13:30 GALLAGHERS NOVICES HURDLE

After all the debate in the lead-up to the Festival, BALLYBURN / has ultimately been pointed here and Willie Mullins’ star novice is impossible to oppose, particularly after what Slade Steel did in yesterday’s opener. He was particularly impressive over the intermediate distance at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and ought to make short work of his opponents. 

14:10 BROWN ADVISORY NOVICES CHASE

FACT TO FILE / is another prohibitively priced favourite for the champion trainer that is difficult to go against, for all that his sole rival blew out completely last time. The seven-year-old looks the full package on the admittedly limited evidence so far and, unless the ground becomes very testing, he should be too strong for the likes of Stay Away Fay and Monty’s Star. 

14:50 CORAL CUP

Sa Majeste could prove to be a handicap blot but, at the prices, I’d rather look elsewhere and, if Nicky Henderson’s horses were running better, DODDIETHEGREAT would have the look of a solid alternative. The lightly-raced gelding ran a fine race in a hot edition of the Betfair Hurdle, coming from well back to finish just behind Saturday’s Imperial Cup hero Go Dante, and is sure to relish the extra yardage here. 

15:30 BETWAY QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE

On all known form, EL FABIOLO /  looks by far the most likely candidate to take Energumene’s crown. His old rival Jonbon hails from a yard that remains largely out of sorts and blotted his copybook in a major way last time, while the Mullins heavyweight has done everything right on both starts this term. Edwardstone was a joy to watch at Newbury last time but is likely to face competition for the lead here and testing ground will hardly be ideal for him. 

16:10 CROSS COUNTRY CHASE

Delta Work has been a slow burner so far this season but has been produced in tip-top shape to win the last two renewals of this and the veteran can complete the hat-trick. Ground conditions will hold no fears for this classy sort. Minella Indo has taken well to this new discipline and looks a big threat, while Coko Beach isn’t taken lightly either. 

16:50 GRAND ANNUAL CHASE

Off just an 8lb higher mark than when scoring comfortably 12 months ago, MASKADA / may be able to double up. Henry de Bromhead’s mare wasn’t at her best last time but had performed well in top company previously and may well have needed that outing to leave her spot-on for this assignment. The likeable Madara, Path D’Oroux and Saint Roi are all feared, with the latter potentially well-treated as a Grade 1 winner. 

17:30 CHAMPION BUMPER

This looks wide open, with many of these having already created a favourable impression in their brief careers to date. My two against the field are unbeaten in three starts between them, with marginal preference for FLEUR AU FUSIL / over Argento Boy. Jody Townend’s mount must have some engine to have won both her starts at Naas and Leopardstown, most recently in a Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival, despite doing so much wrong. Argento Boy appeared quite raw when scoring at Fairyhouse and promises to improve significantly with that behind him. 

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Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.

Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.