CHELTENHAM: Victory for Sacre a mere formality

While racing wasn’t confirmed when I travelled over yesterday morning, we were fairly sure that it would go ahead.

The Cross Country Chase has been postponed until Thursday and I think that will actually be better for Bostons Angel as the ground will have improved for him.

Jezki ran a brilliant race to be third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Champagne Fever is a good, big galloper who stays really well. I thought Ruby rode a fantastic race and he was a good winner.

Our horse put to bed the idea that he didn’t act around the track. Last year, he ran in the bumper as a four-year-old, having only run ten days beforehand. Yesterday, he was excellent. He travelled all the way and jumped really well until the last two, unfortunately.

You’d have to think he’d have been closer had he met those right and he ended up two and a quarter lengths behind Champagne Fever. What’s more the front three pulled 15 lengths clear of Un Atout in third and the race was run three and a half seconds quicker than the Champion Hurdle.

He seems to have come out of the race well and I’m very pleased with him. We’ll go to Punchestown now, all being well.

I hope readers were on the treble. Simonsig wasn’t as impressive as probably expected but he raced very keenly and made a few mistakes. In the end he had enough to win. I had expected a big run from Baily Green and his experience showed.

Hurricane Fly is a real classy horse. He didn’t look like he was going anywhere half-way through but once he got back on the bridle that was it. He is only the second horse to regain the title of Champion Hurdler so you can’t say any more than that.

The third Irish winner was probably many people’s highlight. Quevega won for the fifth consecutive year, something only Golden Miller has done. She looked in trouble too when Ruby nearly went over her head after she clipped heels.

Suddenly, she’d a lot to do but she flew up the hill and it was tremendous to see.

As for today, Pont Alexandre is one of my bankers of the meeting. His form is rock solid and I can’t see any holes in it. I think the Irish form is superior to the English and he’ll just prove far too strong for them.

Willie’s horses are absolutely flying of course, as is Ruby and Boston Bob will take all the beating in the RSA Chase. He does nothing but stay and that’s what you need over this track and distance. Again, I think the Irish form is stronger than the English in this and you should see strong showings from Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend too.

The Champion Chase doesn’t need any analysis. Sizing Europe has been a great servant for Henry and looks in tremendous form but he should be a clear second. Sprinter Sacre is an unbelievable horse, a brilliant jumper and so quick. As usual, I’m staying with Nicky and he is delighted with Sprinter Sacre. That’s a formality for me.

The other one I fancy for the day is Blackmail in the Champion Bumper. I liked the way he won at Leopardstown in January but even more than that, being by Black Sam Bellamy, he will appreciate the improvement in the ground which is likely.

It is a very open race as usual and we will be keeping an eye out for Shield, given that Kate rode him to win for Aidan last time out. It’s tough for four-year-olds though. And Shield is similar to Jezki last year, who won that same race before going to Cheltenham.

The four-year-old that might have a chance is Liz Doyle’s Le Vent D’Antan, who will be going into the race fresh. He was impressive in Leopardstown. But I think Blackmail might be the one.

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