What a few days we’ve had on both sides of the Irish Sea.
First of all, a huge congratulations to Bryony Frost. Winning the King George is a dream of most jockeys and she’s done it relatively early in her career. She’s a fantastic communicator and a great ambassador for our sport.
It was a shock to see Epatante beaten in the Christmas Hurdle, and while she may not have been on her A-game, take nothing away from the winner, Silver Streak. He was superb from the front. It was brilliant to see Evan Williams land a Grade 1 with this horse, who always tries his best.
The Betway Champion Chase market has had a shake up by the looks of things and at this stage, Chacun Pour Soi is the right favourite. His jumping is very good and that will always stand him in good stead at Cheltenham.
Although Altior was beaten, he stuck his head down and kept on going and proved he is more than just a fancy horse who wins with ease. He showed his battling tendencies and I’m sure he’ll have his day in the sun at some point in the future.
I have to admit, I thought Ballyadam would have too much speed for Appreciate It in the 2m Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle, but I was wrong and I’m happy to be wrong when you see a performance like the one Appreciate It gave.
He was awesome. He was much the best horse and is the best novice hurdler we’ve seen so far this season. Whatever race he takes in at Cheltenham, he’ll be a very tough horse to beat.
Leopardstown on Tuesday
The three headline races are so exciting and I think Willie Mullins, who’s having a great time of it, will win all three.
I love the mare Concertista and she’s going to be very tough to beat in the Mares’ Hurdle (13:15), even when carrying a penalty. She’s just very good and her win at Cheltenham in March was very taking. She was good on her reappearance and looks better than her rivals.
Monkfish is one of the most exciting novice chasers around and I can’t wait to see him run again in the Novice Chase (13:50). He won the Albert Bartlett on his last start over hurdles and then made a winning start over fences on his only start this term. It’s going to be a battle between him and Latest Exhibition, but I think this lad has plenty of class.
The Matheson Hurdle (14:25) will no doubt give more Champion Hurdle clues and I think Saint Roi will enhance his reputation even more. I think he was unlucky last time in what was a real cat-and-mouse tactical affair and it turned into a sprint from the back of the last. I think he’ll reverse the placings with the strong-travelling Abacadabras.
The winners’ bumper isn’t as strong a renewal as I’ve seen, but perhaps they’re running scared of Hollow Games . He arrived on the scene with a huge reputation, but so far he’s living up to it. The vibes are very strong around him and I know plenty think he’s going to be a top horse in time, so he won’t be a price, but he’ll be very tough to beat.
4 To Win picks:
13:30 Newbury: Severano
14:05 Newbury: Ch’tibello
14:40 Newbury: Redford Road
15:00 Leopardstown: Millen To One
Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.