Harry Fry: Why Momella can run a big race in the Mares' Hurdle
The Betway ambassador previews the big races at Cheltenham on Tuesday and Wednesday, including the Mares' Hurdle, Champion Hurdle and Betway Champion Chase.
Momella in the Mares’
Momella goes for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (16:10) and we think she can run a big race.
She wasn’t right at Kempton when pulled-up and was running a massive race at Newbury on her first start for us back November before falling.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the form she’s in at home and she’ll absolutely love the conditions if the forecast rain falls in the morning.
She’s got some good course form too and I'm hoping for a big performance.
We know she stays well so I’d imagine Noel will ride her fairly handy, but we’ll have to wait and see how much of the rain materialises before deciding.
We may have not seen Benie Des Dieux this season but obviously Willie Mullins has done this before with Quevega.
If she was coming into this race from any other yard, her lack of racecourse outings would be a negative. But that’s not the case with Mullins and she’s the one to beat.
Rest of Tuesday
Some of the best Mares’ on the circuit are actually in the Champion Hurdle (15:30), which looks a fascinating race this year.
Laurina is a complete unknown. She’s won all of her races hard-held and could be absolutely anything.
Apple’s Jade has been a revelation again this season, and you’d have to think Buveur D’Air has his work cut out based on her most recent win.
However, he’s the reigning champion, the rain is a bit of a positive for him and I still think he’ll take some beating.
It’s certainly his biggest task to date but I’m sticking with Buveur D’Air as he’s been there and done it.
Earlier on the card, I like Elixir De Nutz in the Supreme (13:30). He’s taking the same route as last year’s winner having landed the Tolworth and has good course form.
In the Arkle (14:10), the rain won’t be to Lalor’s liking so I’m siding with Glen Forsa . He jumped and galloped so well at Sandown last time out and I think he’ll take plenty of beating.
Give Me A Copper is easy to fancy in the Ultima (14:50). Paul Nicholls’ horses are in great form and he’s been talked about for this race for some time.
However, last year’s winner, Coo Star Sivola , could go well again. I think Nick Williams has been planning his whole season around returning for this race and he should be competitive again.
No real fancy in the Close Brothers Novices’ Chase (16:50) but, lastly, I think Ok Corral looks very hard to beat in the National Hunt Chase (17.30).
Dereck O’Connor came over and won well on him at Warwick in January and I think his whole season has been shaped around this race.
Hell’s Kitchen steps up for Betway Champion Chase
We’re asking a lot of Hell’s Kitchen to run a big race in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (15:30).
He wasn’t quite right in January and has been off the track since Christmas but he’s got plenty of ability.
We’re under no illusions about the task in hand but hopefully he can put in a good round of jumping and possibly pick up the pieces.
Whatever he does in this race will hopefully put him in good order for a big run at Aintree or Punchestown later on in the spring.
Rest of Wednesday
We had Get In The Queue entered for the Champion Bumper (17:30), but the Listed race at Newbury on 23 March was always plan A.
After a chat with Paul and Clare Rooney as well as their racing manager, Jason Maguire, it was decided we would stick to the initial plan.
We’ve been training him for the Newbury race all along and it was only for a very impressive win at Exeter that Cheltenham entered considerations.
He’s a lovely horse in the making and we’re happy to be taking the more patient approach.
As for the way the race is shaping up now, the Irish have a typically strong hand but I think Paul Nicholls’ Ask For Glory could get one on the board for the home team.
He won well with cut in the ground on debut at Chepstow and could provide a bit of value.
Elsewhere, I like Brewin’upastorm in the Ballymore (13.30). I know he fell the last day on Cheltenham Trials Day but he was going really well and could bounce back.
Later in the week on Thursday, the plan is to run Black Mischief in the Pertemps and Just A Sting in the Kim Muir.
We’ll be hoping the rain stays away after Tuesday and the track dries out nicely by Thursday, which will be perfect for both of them.
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