Paddy Brennan: I think Footpad is a certainty
I’m elsewhere on Tuesday, but I’ll be back at Cheltenham for the rest of the week.
I live in Cheltenham and we clearly have had a lot of rain. But in between it has been pretty warm so, if we do get any prolonged dry spell this week, the ground could well tighten up very quickly. And we are racing on fresh ground, remember.
You probably know as much about Getabird as me. He is clearly very smart, though, but his lack of experience over hurdles would worry me a bit, and I think he meets two good ones in Kalashnikov and Summerville Boy. I like Tom George’s horse.
I think Footpad is a certainty. End of story.
If Nick Williams has planned this with Coo Star Sivola, then it couldn’t have worked out better for him. He won well at Exeter last time, will love the ground, looks well handicapped and has proven Festival form. I wouldn’t be looking elsewhere for the winner, myself.
3.30pm Cheltenham – Champion Hurdle
Buveur D’Air will probably win but if you are looking for an each-way bet then Wicklow Brave may be the one. He may want better ground ideally, but he actually has an excellent record in testing ground, has won a County Hurdle and won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle back in April.
4.10pm Cheltenham – Mares Hurdle
Once again, the favourite Apple’s Jade will be hard to beat, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if La Bague Au Roi gave her a fright. I have been impressed with her this season.
4.50pm Cheltenham – National Hunt Chase
This looks a tricky race but I think Ms Parfois will stay and relish the ground, and the 7lb sex allowance obviously helps.
5.30pm Cheltenham – Close Brothers Handicap
Obviously, I know Barney Dwan very well. We were unlucky to come up against Presenting Percy when second in the Pertemps last season and he has looked good over fences of late. But very testing ground would be a real negative for me. I bet connections of Mister Whitaker couldn’t believe it when they sneaked into this race, and he could be the one to beat. He has course and distance form, and is improving fast.
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