Brexit Proof: The Irish festival bankers

If you’re determined to win green this week, stick with this trio, says our top tipster Tommy Lyons

Brexit Proof: The Irish festival bankers

If you’re determined to win green this week, stick with this trio, says our top tipster Tommy Lyons

1. Tiger Roll, Cross Country Chase, Wednesday

If a horse which wins a Grade 2 Hurdle in a canter can’t be considered banker material to land the Cross Country Chase, then we really will struggle this week.

That alone is enough to make him the leading hope of the Irish brigade, even around a quirky course which can demand a bit of luck.

But Tiger Roll is no ordinary horse. Far from it.

Not only will he be bidding for back-to-back wins in the Cross Country Chase, Tiger Roll looks to put the seal on a fourth Festival victory, adding to his win in the Triumph Hurdle in 2015 and the National Hunt Chase in 2017.

And in there among all those successes, he had time to lose form for the best part of a year and a half and then bounce back to win a Grand National.

Not bad for a horse his owner, Michael O’Leary, once called a “little rat of a thing”.

To be fair, O’Leary added he had the heart of a lion.

Bankers don’t get much better than this.

2. Sir Erec,Triumph Hurdle, Friday

There will be an added weight of expectation on a horse which comes from the Flat with a mark of 109 and on his last run in that sphere finished third in the British Champions Long Distance Cup to star stayer, Stradivarius.

And the son of Camelot has justified his lofty reputation with just two runs, one of which was at the top level.

Following up a narrow victory in a maiden at Leopardstown, he produced a stunning performance in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, a run which left onlookers making comparisons with the mighty, Istabraq.

Maybe, in time, he will earn the right to be talked of alongside the four-time Cheltenham Festival winner and three-time Champion Hurdler but the journey of athousand miles starts with one step — Friday’s Triumph Hurdle isthe perfect place for this regally bred four-year-old to start thatadventure

3. Benie Des Dieux, Mares’ Hurdle, Tuesday

A certain degree of faith is required to rate a mare who hasn’t been seen in competitive action in almost 11 months as banker material but Benie Des Dieux is following a well-worn path from Willie Mullins’ Closutton base to the Mares’ Hurdle.

It’s a race her trainer has won nine times in its 11 runnings and, more pertinently, Mullins’ Quevega won the race six times and on five of those occasions she did so on her seasonal debut.

When Benie Des Dieux won this race in 2018, it was her first run over hurdles for Mullins, having won all three previous outings over fences.

That was a fine achievement in itself for the then seven-year-old and she had little trouble following up by winning the Grade 1 at Punchestown.

Whatever the obstacles, she is high-class and, as yet, not fully exposed. With Apple’s Jade and Laurina opting for the Champion Hurdle, this renewal lacks mares of top-class ability and anything less than a victory will be a huge disappointment. Ruby Walsh has already described her as his “best chance of a winner” at the Festival.

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