Tranquil Sea enjoys the perfect Cheltenham prep

IF Tranquil Sea wins the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on March 18, there seems little doubt connections will look back at Leopardstown last Sunday as having played a massive part in the success.

It isn’t very often things work out exactly as you would want them to, but this was certainly one of those days.

Tranquil Sea hadn’t run since getting beaten by Golden Silver at Leopardstown at Christmas and getting another run into him was surely vital.

But when Naas was lost the previous Sunday and with it, apparently, the Newlands Chase, it seemed as if the eight-year-old would have to travel to the Festival without a prep run.

HRI, however, to their credit, rescheduled the contest for Leopardstown and Edward O’Grady nodded in favour of running Tranquil Sea.

He had to be concerned about the proximity to Cheltenham, but Andrew McNamara produced a masterful display from the saddle and, as a result, Tranquil Sea is entitled to make the journey across with confidence sky-high.

He travelled and jumped beautifully through the race and was only asked to do the bare minimum in the closing stages to score with a nice bit in hand.

In truth it represented little more than a solid schooling session and O’Grady had to be literally purring on the way home on Sunday evening.

I don’t know if Tranquil Sea is actually good enough to win what looks a ferociously competitive Ryanair, against the likes of Poquelin, Barbers Show and Planet Of Sound.

At the same time you’d have to think the 5-1 currently available does seem rather decent each-way value.

The same Leopardstown programme saw O’Grady take the winners’ bumper with Shot From The Hip.

That effort from the Monsun gelding didn’t half surprise this observer. I had a real good word of him, prior to his debut at Clonmel back in September.

The few quid was duly delivered in his direction and Shot From The Dip delivered, by two and a half lengths.

He wasn’t very impressive, however, and it looked a woeful heat on the day. Nothing happened subsequently to indicate such was not the case.

Neither the second or third respectively, Augusto and Brownstown Girl, have been seen in the meantime, but they didn’t have a lot to recommend them before Clonmel.

In fourth was Tessoli, beaten a little over 13 lengths. She has run since, at Limerick, and you would have needed binoculars to find her.

What it all amounts to is that Shot From The Hip clearly made enormous improvement from September to Leopardstown.

He ran all the way to the line and if allowed, as looks likely, to take his chance in the Cheltenham Bumper would have to be respected.

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THAT decision by Paddy Power, to refund all losing bets on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, should Dunguib win, is a savage concession.

If you are one of those who think Dunguib is a certainty, and any price is a good price, then this offer will not make the slightest difference to you.

But there are plenty who remain worried about Dunguib’s jumping and, now suddenly, Paddy Power have handed them a real edge.

I’ve had a candidate in my head, each-way, for a little while now, but was rather reluctant to play.

The reason is because if Dunguib jumps reasonably well, then there is little doubt he will sweep past whatever might be in front of him early in the straight and win going away.

Essentially, at least to my of thinking - and everyone else’s as well - Dunguib is an extraordinary talent and this is his to lose.

But Paddy Power has changed the landscape somewhat and the idea of a free bet, in the event of Dunguib winning, is more than tempting.

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THERE are two races at Cheltenham in which I believe the favourites are shocking value.

The first has to be Big Buck’s in the Ladbrokes’ World Hurdle. I don’t care how much better than his rivals Big Buck’s is supposed to be, an 8-13 and 4-7 shot he ain’t.

And surely Rite Of Passage will not be as tight as current odds of 3-1 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle?

All his two successes over flights have told us is that he goes there in good order. Neither contest took any winning and there seems no shortage of dangers!

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