Cheltenham Countdown: Substance over style…

In our latest Cheltenham Countdown we are focussing on a trio of races that demand a lot of an inexperienced horse – The Triumph, The Albert Bartlett and the Bumper. All three present challenges most of the contenders will never have encountered before and there can be value in the unexpected with the hardy slugger fancied to upset the “bridle” horses…

Gardens Of Babylon, (Triumph Hurdle), 16/1 NRNB, Bet365

The Triumph may not be the stamina test of old with the weeding out of the deadwood into the Fred Winter, but the New Course remains a severe test for a youngster with its long straight. Favourites have done well and Sir Eric is obvious after his Leopardstown romp, but there is value in the runner up there, stable companion Gardens Of Babylon. He was beaten 6l there, exactly as he was when they met on the flat, but he looks a real stayer and may not have been suited by a steady pace dictated by the winner. Cheltenham could be ideal. Pic D’Orhy looks the mystery horse and may appeal on debut for Nicholls for Fakir D’Oudairies fans as he beat Fakir by over 15l in France last year. We would have preferred to have seen him in the UK by now though and Gardens Of Babylon looks the more solid pick.

Beacon Edge, (Champion Bumper), 25/1 NRNB, Bet365

The Bumper looks likely to be priced as a match between Envoi Allen and Blue Sari. The Mullins bumper horses haven’t been the usual dominant force and Envoi Allen looks much the better pick of those two. He was impressive at Leopardstown, but we liked the run of Beacon Edge in 4th that day. He ran on well from the rear in a slowly run race on his first run after a break and a move to trainer Meade. He is not sure to go here so use the NRNB concession. He has an interesting entry at Naas on Sunday in a race that used to be a good trial and if he rocks up there and wins easily then it may be too tempting to resist and 25/1 will dry up pretty quickly – if he bombs out then we should get refunded.

Lisnagar Oscar, (Albert Bartlett), 8/1 generally available 

It was tempting to put forward Rockpoint or Derrinross who respectively won the Cheltenham and Limerick races that the last four winners of this won one of on route. Derrinross may not get his soft ground and Rockpoint looks regressive. Lisnagar Oscar is the next best thing having been 2nd in the Cheltenham race and reversed the form massively in winning at Haydock last time in a race won by another previous winner a few years back. A typical slow developer for trainer Rebecca Curtis who has proven adept at peaking her horses for the festival in the past, he looks the kind of proven stayer and hearty battler that usually prevails over the more hyped big stable rivals.

The Countdown Portfolio:

Gardens Of Babylon (Triumph NRNB),16/1

Beacon Edge (Bumper NRNB), 25/1

Lisnagar Oscar (Albert Bartlett), 8/1

Getaway Trump, (Supreme), 16/1

Janika (Ryanair NRNB), 25/1

Indefatigable, (Mares Novice), 25/1

Easy Game (Any Race), 14/1

Mall Dini (Any Race), 12/1

Discorama (Any Race), 12/1

Min (Champion Chase), 8/1

City Island (Ballymore), 12/1

Laurina (Champion Hurdle), 5/1

Previous articles in series:

Cheltenham Countdown:  Three Below The Radar…

Cheltenham Countdown: Three Irish Martinis…

Cheltenham Countdown:  Not To Be Sniffed At…

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