On to day two where I have five rides, including my first ever in the Champion Chase. It would be fantastic if there was a winner amongst them somewhere.
Shan Blue – 1:30
He ran nicely behind Shishkin at Huntingdon in the Sidney Banks and he’s a horse we’ve always liked.
I wish I could have ridden the race again at Warwick the time before in the Leamington Spa. I was quite positive on him and got racing a long way out.
This is a red hot race but he’s going to gain some valuable experience and we see him as a chaser in a year’s time.
Envoi Allen has that perfect record and he was very good when winning the Champion Bumper last year. I really like Sporting John, though, I think he’ll put it up to him.
RSA – 2:10
I don’t have a ride in the race, but it looks very interesting. Champ is a class act and while it’s not ideal coming into the Festival on the back of a fall, I’m sure they will have done plenty of schooling with him.
Allaho looks a proper staying chaser and if I had to go with one it would be with him, especially if the ground is testing and the race turns into a war.
Minella Indo is another dour stayer who should run well, while Copperhead has been a massive improver and jumps and stays.
Protektorat – 2:50
He’s in really good form, he won’t mind the ground and a good, fast run race will suit him. He’s really improved this season and I think his run last time when giving 5lbs to Harry Senior was very good.
I think he’ll run well, it would be very bold to say he’ll win as you always need luck in a race like this. If we get that, he certainly has a winning chance. We’re looking forward to running him.
Politologue – 3:30
This is a really great ride to pick up. He was second in the race last year and will love the ground. He’d have to find his old form a little, but it was a good run in the Shloer Chase when he gave weight to Defi Du Seuil. He stays and jumps so let’s hope he can run a big race.
I’m very grateful to connections for letting me ride him, I’ve known the Hales family for a long time. It’s going to be a massive buzz, these top-class two-mile races really get you going.
It’s obviously a shame that Altior isn’t running. Defi Du Seuil has had a great season and he’s the young pretender. I think he’ll take some beating.
Chacun Pour Soi is a very fast horse with a serious amount of speed. This his first time at Cheltenham, so that’s a question for him to answer – whether he’ll get up the hill.
Cross Country – 4:10
The ground is pretty testing out there and for that reason, I’d just be a bit careful with Tiger Roll. Easysland is a good horse and definitely the toughest opponent he’s had going into the Cross Country.
Langer Dan – 4:50
He’s done nothing wrong so far and it was a good run at Cheltenham when giving weight away to Botox Has. The weights have gone up quite a bit and he’s not overly big so that makes it a bit tougher.
He’s got a big heart, though, and he’s tough – he’ll be staying on strongly up the hill and some of them might not get up it. I think he can outrun his odds.
Third Time Lucki – 5:30
He was impressive last time at Huntingdon with a penalty. He can be keen, so is a horse that needs to be dropped in. I’m sure they’ll go a good, strong gallop.
He’s a horse with a lot of ability and I do think he has a proper each-way chance. He’s a good mover, though, so wouldn’t want a proper bog.
Appreciate It has looked very good, what he did last time was really impressive and he’s the one to beat.