Another Irish Domination? The Top Irish Talent Heading to Cheltenham This Weekend
The best Irish-trained horses running at Cheltenham this Weekend
Cheltenham is back! The premier Jumps track returns this weekend with their two-day Showcase Meeting. Irish-trained horses dominated at Prestbury Park when the track’s last big fixture was showcased back in March, winning an incredible 23 races, with British trainers picking up just 5 winners. Can the luck of the Irish continue this season? Here at Racing Tips, we’ve identified some of the main Irish hopefuls heading over to Cheltenham this weekend.
BUDDY RICH – (2:30pm Friday, squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase)
Gordon Elliott has a number of horses entered at Cheltenham this weekend, with just one of his hopefuls likely to be BUDDY RICH, who runs in Friday’s 2m novice chase. This son of Rock Of Gibraltar has occupied second-place in each of his three chase starts to date, following home the talented Cape Gentleman at Punchestown last time out.
He warrants serious respect on that running, with the forecast good ground conditions expected to suit.
CALAGOGO – (3:05pm Friday, 888Sport What’s Your Thinking Novices’ Hurdle)
Gordon Elliott’s Friday hand is further strengthened by CALAGOGO, who runs in the 3m novice hurdle. This son of Doyen has proven reinvented since returning from a Winter break, winning each of his last three starts.
The most recent of those successes came at Killarney, where he belied 22/1 odds to run out a half-length winner. That proved his stamina and expect him to be ridden prominently here in what looks like a competitive affair.
SOMPTUEUX – (2:20pm Cheltenham, 888Sport What’s Your Thinking Handicap Chase)
Henry De Bromhead dominated at the Cheltenham Festival, winning six races and having a 1-2 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. His sole entry at Cheltenham this weekend comes in Saturday’s 3m1f handicap chase in the form of SOMPTUEUX.
Somptueux has reinvented himself since sent over the larger obstacles, winning twice and finishing second twice in seven starts. One of those second-place finishes came in a strong Wexford handicap, where his run can be upgraded (pecked on landing at the final fence) and where it suggested that he would improve for stepping up to staying distances.
ZANAHIYR – (2:55pm Saturday, Masterson Holdings Hurdle)
Undoubtedly one of the top juvenile hurdlers in training last season, ZANAHIYR makes his eagerly anticipated return in Saturday’s Masterson Holdings Hurdle.
Undone by the lack of pace in the Triumph Hurdle here in March, Zanahiyr showed that running to be all wrong when beaten less than a length in the Grade 1 Punchestown Four Year Old Hurdle.
That form marks him down as the one to beat, with the likes of Stepney Causeway expected to provide Zanahiyr with a decent pace to aim at.
VADO FORTE – (3:30pm Saturday, 888Sport Handicap Chase)
VADO FORTE was a useful hurdler/chaser for Tom Lacey and proved a shrewd purchase for these connections when running out an impressive 15l winner on stable debut at Limerick just under a fortnight ago.
That did not go unnoticed by the handicapper, who has shoved Vado Forte up to a career-high mark of 145, but that still leaves him on a competitive racing weight of 10st 12lb.
MACGILONEY – (4:05pm Saturday, Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle)
Denis Hogan has been operating at around an 18% strike rate with his British runners over Jumps in recent seasons, and he will be hoping that MACGILONEY can enhance that when he lines up in Saturday’s 3m Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.
This gelding hasn’t always been the most fluent chaser in training yet his recent hurdles form figures read an encouraging 2114, that most recent effort coming off a huge weight at Listowel.
This is tougher, but a mark of 137 looks within reach and the forecast decent ground conditions look a big plus for his chances.
STREETS OF DOYEN – (4:40pm Cheltenham, Mick Turner A Lifetime In Racing Novices’ Chase)
John McConnell has sent out five winners from 17 runners so far this British Jumps season, and he sends out STREETS OF DOYEN here.
This 7yo has previous at Cheltenham having finished third in last seasons Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He made a winning chase debut at Galway in July, where he accounted for the smart Bleu Berry.
Streets Of Doyen failed to match that level of form when a modest third at Worcester last time, but the track possibly didn’t suit that day and returning to a venue that we know he acts on will be a big plus for Streets Of Doyen here.