All eyes will be on the phenomenal fifteen time, Grade 1 winner, Hurricane Fly on Friday as he bids to defend his Rabobank Champion Hurdle for a fourth consecutive year.
The 9-year-old beat Rock On Ruby in fine style last month to regain the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and having won the this three years in a row looks an incredibly strong contender to do so again. The massively in-form Willie Mullins will hope that Hurricane Fly can add to his festival success, whilst his stable mate Thousand Stars looks a place contender.
Pont Alexandre looked a certainty at Cheltenham Festival but had to settle for third behind The New One and Rule The World. It shapes up to be a superb renewal of the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle here and he is expected to get back to winning ways, although stable mate Un Atout is bound to feature prominently. Ubak was a surprise winner of the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle and may well play a part again on the back of that.
The KFM Hunters Chase is the first race of the day and looks to be a wide open, tricky betting heat. Shin A Vee won this back in 2009 and has Derek O’Connor booked, but has raced lightly since and shown nothing of appeal. Satorie finished fifth last year before winning at Ballingarry and Enniskillen ran a respectable sixth in the Sean Breen Memorial Chase on Tuesday.
Home Farm ran a blinder to finish third in the Irish National and will hope to build on that in the 4.20, although the ground is a concern. Willie Mullins will saddle both Immediate Response and Terminal who are both in with a reasonable chance for the leading trainer, with Shangani representing value for a good jumper who goes well on bad ground. Spring Heeled is also likely to run well, as is Competitive Edge.
The Breakfast With Hector on 2FM Handicap Chase is sure to provide another very difficult betting market. Panther Claw is a serious contender with Davy Russell on board following his superb win at Navan and fifth in the Irish National. Goonyella is another that warrants respect and Novarov poses a substantial threat on the back of winning a beginners chase stylishly.
The unbeaten Un De Sceaux is expected to be the leading contender for the Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle following an impressive 6l victory here on his Irish debut. Cops And Robbers warrants respect although heavy ground is unlikely to suit, whilst the classy Waaheb has been disappointing of late but is always a threat. Wedding Present and Moscow Mannon are two more that add great depth to an interesting contest.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins will saddle two strong contenders for the ITBA Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper, in Robina Mai and Bluemountainbeach. Robina Mai looked promising when beaten favourite at Wexford but will find this more difficult. Debutant Bluemountainbeach deserves respect with Katie Walsh hoping to win the race in the same fashion as last year. Catimini and Storm Away will both be looking for back-to-back wins, with County Champions being another huge threat at good value.
Salsify and Oscar Delta will battle it out again in the last race of the day after Salsify was gifted the win at Cheltenham when Oscar Delta unseated Jane Mangan at the last. Salsify will want better ground though and Oscar Delta will be seeking revenge as the ongoing duel continues. The 2011 Irish National runner-up, Western Charmer looks next best and Festive Affair is a valuable place contender.
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There are 4 remaining Grade 1 contests during the festival, and CORAL will feature their Top Industry Price Boost on leading fancies each day of the festival from 12 noon*, as well as great ENHANCED price specials. This includes Hurricane Fly & Our Conor. To bet now with Coral Click Here