NO hurdles and fences in this race, just the smartest young horses around. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) and The Voice Of Value give us their thoughts.
Cheltenham 17:15 | Champion Bumper | RUK
What a race this is! Willie Mullins has seven runners and is responsible for the favourite Bordini. In my opinion if you are that mob handed in a race then you either don't know who your first string is, or you aren't confident you have a stand out performer.
For this reason I'm going to ignore the Mullins battalion as betting propositions, and concentrate on the rest of the field.
The three I like in the remaining 17 non-Mullins trained runners are Vigil, General Principle and Wait for Me. Vigil, trained by Dermot Weld ran in the race last year finishing fifth, only beaten four and a half lengths to stablemate Silver Concorde.
He started the shorter price of the two, and on his only start this season he beat one of Willie Mullins seven Bellshill. Dermot Weld obviously feels Vigil can improve on last year's showing, and I expect him to, but I feel he may again find a couple too good.
Wait For Me (Philip Hobbs) has won the only race he's contested where he was a winner of an Ascot bumper. He looked like a young horse going places that day, travelling like a dream before quickening clear. This was a month ago, and with natural improvement he should be in the shake up for the stable that brought us the 2011 winner Cheltenian.
General Principle is the pick of Paul Townend, from Gordon Elliots powerful bumper yard. On his only start he sauntered home in a Punchestown bumper by 22 lengths. Sent off at even money this performance was obviously expected, and he didn't disappoint.
Like Wait for Me he is a horse of massive potential, and as he is the biggest price of the trio at 13/1 I will be backing him each way, with a couple of small win bets on the other 2 just in case.
Best Bets – Graham Johnston
Cheltenham 17:15 – Vigil to win (8/1 BetBright)
Cheltenham 17:15 – Wait For Me to win (10/1 BetBright)
Cheltenham 17:15 – General Principle each way (13/1 BetBright)
Is there anything that can lay down a challenge to Willie Mullins' seven horses here?
One that I like the look of is Vigil, who is trained by Dermot Weld and looks to have a strong chance. He was fifth in this race last year but it is extremely unusual for a horse to return the next year rather than go hurdling and he will have undoubtedly improved over the course of the year.
He put up a decent show in December and has then been put away for this. Crucially there are whispers all over the place for this one and he has been supported in the market.
Moon Racer hacked up in Ireland at Fairyhouse at odds of 50/1 in a valuable bumper before being snapped up and sent to David Pipe to be trained in England.
Four days after he was sold he romped home in a bumper over this course and distance and in October and hasn’t been seen since. Even with minimal improvement this one should feature in the shake up and looks a good each way prospect.