Katie Walsh: Stolen Silver earmarked for Cheltenham
The Betway ambassador previews the racing at Cheltenham and Naas on Saturday.
We saw plenty of top horses reappear last weekend at Down Royal but there are two that I’d like to mention.
American Mike didn’t have a whole lot to beat on his first run over hurdles, but I was impressed with him. He did it nicely and has plenty of gears. They’ll have loads of options with him this season.
Envoi Allen was very good in the Champion Chase, wasn’t he? Rachael gave him a top ride and his good record when fresh continues. He’s got his complications, though, wearing a tongue tie and a cross noseband, but he’ll be a force to be reckoned with on flat tracks.
Cheltenham on Saturday
Although we don’t know how good Paul Nicholls’ French import could be, I like Scriptwriter for Milton Harris (12:35). He was Group class on the flat and wasn’t beaten far behind this year’s 2000 Guineas winner. He should come on for that first run over hurdles and I’d love to see him progress well this winter.
Valsheda runs off a mark of 129 (13:10). You’d have to think he was expected to be better than that when his owner purchased him. He is lightly-raced and could still be progressing. They’ve booked Will Biddick for the ride, too. He’s very good.
Monmiral faced a tough second season over hurdles, but I’m convinced he was never quite right (13:45). He was always going to make a lovely chaser, and this could be the season where we really see him flourish. He’s got plenty of ability, as we saw from his first season over hurdles.
The big race of the day at Cheltenham could be a perfect tonic for Sam Thomas and Dai Walters, who were involved in a helicopter accident last week. Sam has his horses in grand form and Stolen Silver does run well fresh. I remember thinking when he bolted up at Cheltenham in April that he could be earmarked for this race (14:20).
As ever in these types of races at Cheltenham, you have to give a good mention to Coole Cody . He’s a legend of a horse who wears his heart on his sleeve and loves it around that place. You know what you’re going to get from him.
Naas on Saturday
Fil Dor was going to run at Down Royal last weekend but missed it due to the ground. He’s got some stellar form in the book from last season, where he chased Vauban a few times. Obviously, Gordon’s horses are in savage form, they’re having winners left, right and centre, but it’s going to be tough to give weight away to Brazil, who has the benefit of a prep run (12:55).
Cash Back brings graded form into this race and has a touch of class about him (13:30). He’s got to give plenty of weight away, though. It’ll be a good performance if he can.
Towards the bottom of the weights, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bread And Butter ran well. He’ll be switched off to come late.
Gentleman De Mee improved plenty last season and, I have to say, he looked good at Aintree in the spring. He’s going to be another horse from Willie’s yard who will be aimed at the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (14:05).
I’ve been a huge fan of Three Stripe Life for such a long time. I’m so excited by him and I think we’re going to see the best of him over fences (14:40). He’s a strong travelling horse with plenty of class and I hope he sluices up and opens up all options for him over fences this season. I imagine he’ll end up in the Turners at the Festival in March.