Katie Walsh: Chantry House may have flown under the radar
The Betway ambassador reveals her fancies for every race at Cheltenham on Tuesday, including a horse in the Arkle who jumps 'like an absolute stag'.
It’s finally here – the Cheltenham Festival is upon us! I can’t wait to hear the roar and get the best week of the year off and running.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle seems to be all about the two Joe Donnelly horses in Shishkin and Asterion Forlonge. The latter has been well-touted this season, but did have a tough race last week.
Because of that, I like the look of Chantry House , who is unexposed and has won well on both his starts this season. He may have just flown under the radar slightly. He’s been well thought of his whole career and a fast-run two-mile race could be right up his street.
This year’s renewal of the Arkle isn’t the strongest I’ve ever seen and, while Notebook is on a serious winning streak over fences, he does have an edgy temperament and may find Cheltenham too much in the prelims.
Fakir D’Oudaries jumps like an absolute stag for a young horse and has course form to boot, so I’ve got to side with him. He’s top-class and no doubt he’ll be seeking revenge for his defeat at the Dublin Racing Festival last time out.
The Ultima is always super-competitive. Vinndication at the top of the card could be different class, but top weight in these big handicaps is always tough.
Elwood runs for Gordon Elliott and the word around is that he’s going very well at home and a big run is expected. He was second in a Grade 2 last time and, for a horse who jumps well and appears to stay well, he could be overpriced.
The Champion Hurdle is wide-open and could go to one of any in the field.
After looking back at his previous course runs, you can’t not be impressed with the way Supasundae acts around Cheltenham. He’s a good, solid stayer, who is very hardy, and his experience will help him against some of these younger horses. Puppy [Robbie Power] gets on with him very well and I’d expect him to be staying on at the end of the race.
Coeur Sublime ran well in the Triumph Hurdle last year and could run into a place, too.
When you think of the Mares’ Hurdle, you just think of Willie Mullins, and it looks as though he’ll be winning it again this year with Benie Des Dieux .
She was mightily unlucky in the race last year and I’m hoping they get redemption this year. She’s all class and, despite that fall last year, she is a good jumper. She’ll love the ground and I think she’ll get the better of Honeysuckle, who is a super mare in her own right.
Lord Schnitzel is a maiden over fences but that doesn’t put me off in the Northern Trust Handicap Chase.
He sneaks in at the bottom of the weights and has been running in some much better races than this when performing with credit. If he reproduces any of those early season runs, he’ll be bang there.
Carefully Selected is a horse I know very well as I bought him as a store horse, broke him in and then won a point-to-point with him. I did then beat him in the Champion Bumper when I flew home on Relegate, but I won’t remind him of that!
He’s been good this season and has improved with age as we always expected him to. Everything should suit him, and he should be mighty hard to beat.
Forza Milan was once with Jonjo O’Neill but is now trained in Ireland and was a good second behind Carefully Selected last time out. He’s got a good each-way chance under the superb Derek O’Connor.
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