NEXT BEST – GAILLARD DU MESNIL
It all starts here. The famous roar will echo around the Cotswolds at 1.30 as the tapes rise for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the 2023 Cheltenham Festival gets underway.
I have been keen on MARINE NATIONALE for the Supreme ever since his Royal Bond victory in December. He has the stats to defy as only one winner this century had not previously run in the same calendar year, but connections are very confident and his Grade 1 win in the Royal Bond would have been far superior if he had jumped the last better. he had Grade 1 winners in behind and he can get us off to a flyer.
EL FABIOLO was just a neck behind Jonbon at Aintree last year when still a little wet behind the ears. That was just his second run for Willie Mullins and was arguably unlucky not to win. He has been fantastic in his two chase starts, winning at the Dublin Racing Festival by TEN LENGTHS, despite a mistake 4 out and he can gain revenge on is old rival.
🏇 FACILE VEGA
🏇 EL FABIOLO
🏇 STATE MAN
🏇 BRANDY LOVE
How many winners?
2.50 – NASSALAM & HAPPYGOLUCKY
With extra places up for grabs I will have a couple of drats in The Ultima.
The trends suggest we are looking for a horse who has run at Cheltenham earlier in the season, wears headgear, carries more than 11 stone, is fancied in the betting and finished fourth or better in their previous outing. Step forward NASSALAM, who meets all that criteria and looks set to have his favoured soft ground. The step up in trip is a question mar, but he was staying on over two and a half miles on New Years Day so is worth a crack and the Gary Moore team are in great form after heir Saturday Sandown treble.
The other section is HAPPYGOLUCKY. Now the form of the Kim Bailey yard is desperate, but he wouldn’t be running if there was something visibly wrong in Andoversford. He also meets plenty of the trends and is a course winning novice. He is lightly raced for a 9yo, finished second in this race two years ago and ran a cracker on his return when third in the Rehearsal Chase. He is 8lb better off for three lengths with Into Overdrive for that effort and will be seen in a better light here than the shorter trip he faced behind Nassalam and others on New Years Day.
He may not be a backable price for the working man, but we may just witness something very special in the Champion Hurdle.
CONSTITUTION HILL is unbeaten in his five races under rules, winning by an aggregate of SEVENTY-SEVEN lengths, and we could be in for a treat at 3.30! Sit back and enjoy.
Although the Champion Hurdle is the feature, there is no doubt that the Mares’ Hurdle is the race of the day.
It would be fantastic to see Honeysuckle win and raise the roof off the stands. She is sure to get a great reception when she returns, wherever she finishes, that is the best bet of the day for sure.
Nicky Henderson also has a strong hand with last year’s winner Marie’s Rock and former Champion Hurdler Epatante as well as the supplemented Theatre Glory.
The ground has come right for Love Envoi and she is respected, but she has eight lengths to find on BRANDY LOVE on Fairyhouse form last year. BRANDY LOVE has a habit of jumping markedly left, so should be at home going this way round and is open to any amount of improvement still. The market told the story of her reappearance and the Grade 1 winning novice could trump them all here.
🥃 BRANDY LOVE
❤️ LOVE ENVOI
🪨 MARIE'S ROCK
🌧️ ECHOES IN RAIN
Again, looking to the stats here that suggest a Gordon Elliott trained outsider with a single hurdle win and started their career in France, points the finger to JAZZY MATTY.
Michael O’Sullivan is a great booking and despite finishing behind three of his rivals last time out, he made his own running there and should be seen to better effect off a quick pace here. he looks nicely weighted ad won’t mind the easing of the ground in a very competitive looking heat.
Sometimes the obvious is just staring you in the face and it is hard to oppose GAILLARD DU MESNIL in the National Hunt Chase.
Second in a Ballymore before third last year in the Brown Advisory, he also finished third in the Irish Grand National and only shed his maiden tag over fences in December……in Grade 1 company. He has 8lb and upwards in hand of his rivals and looks banker material to make it four wins in eleven running’s for Willie and Patrick Mullins.
*18+ | Be Gamble Aware | Odds subject to change