A CODD-GIVEN CERTAINTY
At least, that’s almost how Jamie Codd described Ballymore favourite Bob Olinger earlier this month. The six-year-old bids to give his sire Sholokhov another big winner at the meeting, following Shishkin’s breathtaking success in yesterday’s Arkle. A hugely-impressive win in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas ensures he will start favourite here, but in main dangers Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, he faces two highly promising novices.
Sticking with the seafood theme, Monkfish looks unopposable in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (1.55pm), formerly known as the RSA. The one possible note of caution is that this is one of the few races Willie Mullins hasn’t ‘farmed’ in recent seasons…even subsequent Al Boum Photo would have finished no bet than third when falling in this in 2018. Still, maybe that’s just clutching at fishsticks.
The Coral Cup looks viciously competitive, but it is clear that Nicky Henderson is throwing everything he can at the race in a bid for a third consecutive win, following the victories of Dame De Compagnie last year, and William Henry in 2019.
Monte Cristo, Craigneche and Birchdale all look to have been plotted for this (the latter using the well-trodden ‘jumpers’ bumpers’ route to Festival success), while Janika can hardly be ruled out, given he is rated a stone lower over hurdles.
OF COURSE HE CAN…CAN’T HE?
Much talk about how Chacun Pour Soi will handle his visit to Prestbury Park. He is a nine-year-old after all, and though Leopardstown is very much his home turf, it isn’t as if Mullins-trained horses regularly find the demands of Cheltenham beyond their capabilities. Still, if there are any parts of the course he struggles with, perhaps Paul Townend would do well to follow in the hoofprints of Put The Kettle On, who is three from three here and is reported by her trainer Henry de Bromhead to have ‘come alive’ since arriving at the course.
The vibes around Easysland perhaps haven’t been quite as positive as they were a year ago, but the David Cottin-trained cross-country star was so impressive here a year ago and has had a break since his disappointing run here at the November meeting.
Tiger Roll has barely raised a gallop in three starts this term, but the dual Grand National winner has made a habit of achieving the seemingly-impossible in his long and distinguished career, and bids for a third win this race. At a bigger price, 2019 Grand Sefton winner Hogan’s Height is an interesting outsider for a yard that is just beginning to hit form again after a quiet winter.