With just days to go until the Cheltenham Festival, it’s almost time for all the trash talk between the BetBright Cup Captains to stop… until they meet up on Tuesday for a week of superb racing between the Irish and the British, in the greatest show on turf.
So, without further a do, here are Tuffers and Ken with their final BetBright Cup blogs before the festival.
Tuffers – It’s time to take back what’s rightfully mine!
Crikey O’Riley! The Cheltenham Festival is now just days away – can you believe it?!
Like every year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the build up to this year’s Festival and it’s even better to be doing so when leading Team GB into battle in the BetBright Cup – because let’s be honest: I’ve got a lot to be excited about!
Ken will be a bit bullish with the opener, as Getabird looks to go off as 5/4 Favourite in the Supreme, but if you pardon the pun, I reckon I’ve got a great ‘shot’ with Kalashnikov. It’s not the best Supreme we’ve ever seen and although Rich and Willie have an excellent record in the race, I think Amy Murphy’s five-year-old is being over looked.
The bookies might think Ken has The Arkle in the bag; Footpad (11/8) doesn’t look like he’ll put a foot wrong and if he slips up then the Irish have got Petit Mouchoir (9/4) to fall back on – fair kop. However, this is one of the deepest Arkles for a while so don’t be surprised if Brain Power (7/1) or Saint Calvados (7/2) give Team Ireland a bit of a headache!
Here. We. Go: Champion Hurdle time. I am licking my lips just thinking about this one. There’s only one winner here and it goes the way of Team GB!
Buveur D’air (1/2) has got this one in the bag and he’s going to be the first horse to retain the race since Hardy Eustace back in 2005. You’ve got to respect Faugheen (11/2), but I’m afraid he’s over ‘the hill’ and won’t get near Nicky Henderson’s good thing!
I’ll hold my hands up: Samcro 5/4 looks like a very special talent. However, there’s always a Festival upset, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Doherty won’t see On The Blind Side (5/1) coming in the Ballymore. He won very convincingly at the course earlier in the season and we know he finishes strongly with the hill being no problem at all – keep an eye out for this one.
Never mind Tuffers and Ken, how about Bryony Frost and Black Corton for a double act this Cheltenham Festival!
They continued their excellent run of form by winning the Reynoldstown at Ascot and since they paired up over fences in July, they’ve only been defeated once! Monalee and Presenting Percy: watch out!!
With Altior (4/6), Douvan (7/2) and Min (11/4) all set to feature, this could be the Mother of ALL Queen Mums! We’re not sure which Douvan will turn up as he’s been out injured since last year’s edition and Min couldn’t get near Altior in the Supreme when they went toe-to-toe, so I’m expecting Altior to make the crowd roar and nail another point on the board for Team GB!
If team GB win the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday, I might end up staying ‘til the lights come on!! We’ve got a great shout in this one, especially now that Alan King has put Yanowrth (4/1) back over hurdles. Combine his entry with Sam Spinner’s (9/2) superb record this season and I think we’ll have a proper race on our hands against Supasundae (4/1).
If she’s anything like her sister, Apple’s Jade, then Apple’s Shakira (11/4) will clean up in the Triumph Hurdle. She’s already won at Cheltenham in relatively testing conditions and come Friday of the Festival, the crowd will be cheering ‘Shakira! Shakira!’ from around the grandstand!
Now it’s time to look at the Grande Finale. The most lucrative of prizes, the Piece de resistance: The Cheltenham Gold Cup! Never mind Ken banging on about how many favourites he’s got throughout the rest of the Week. This one is coming home with Tuffers!
Might Bite (11/4), Native River (5/1) and Definitly Red (14/1) are all waving the flag for Great Britain and I’m almost certain that one of these will bring home the British Bacon on the final day!
Might Bite’s favourite for a reason: he ran superbly at Kempton over Christmas and as long as he doesn’t try to sign autographs again on the run in, then we’re destined for a British Trained Gold Cup Winner – He almost gave me a heart attack last year!!
Definitly Red is definitely worth an each way bet after winning on awful ground in January at Cheltenham in the BetBright Cotswold Chase – as we all know, Cheltenham always throws in a few surprises.
Native River effortlessly flowed through the Denman Chase at Newbury in February and he’s a great fall back for Team GB, should anything miraculous happen to Might Bite in the race.
We’re now just days away from the big one and I CANNOT WAIT! I’m really looking forward to battling it out with Ken throughout the week and I can’t wait to bury the hatchet of last year’s nightmare score line!
Four mouth-watering days of National Hunt racing, two great nations going toe-to-toe in the BetBright Cup and plenty of winners along the way – what’s not to like about the Cheltenham Festival?!
Scroll down to read the thoughts of Team Ireland Captain, Ken Doherty…
Ken Doherty – Tuffers Will Be Well And Truly Snookered By The End Of The Week
The snow has finally gone, and in the distance, so have the dreams of Mr. Phil Tufnell as Team Ireland storm to victory in the BetBright Cup!
The Cheltenham Festival is just days away now and I must have walked the circuit of the course where I’ve been walking up and down the house with excitement – I cannot wait!
It looks like the Irish will be in clover by the end of the week and we’ll be off to a flying start if Getabird (5/4) does the business in the Supreme. In terms of his competition, it’s not the greatest edition of the race ever so this one’s for the taking and I think Willie Mullins is going to get Ireland off to a flying start!
Footpad (11/8) won’t put a foot wrong in the Arkle. In a BetBright series called ‘Cheltenham Through The Eyes Of… A Jockey’, Paul Townend said this is the one horse he’d love to ride at the Festival if he had the choice. He jumps so nicely over fences and regardless of who is on top of him on Tuesday, I think it’s going to be 2-0 to Ireland come 2.30pm!
I’d love Faugheen (11/2) to wipe that smirk off Tuffers’ face in the Champion Hurdle. Ok, I get the whole ten-year-old thing, but this is a special horse and it’s not that long ago since he absolutely bolted up at Punchestown. Buveur D’air (1/2) hasn’t been tested this season, but my God, he’s in for one hell of a race if the real Machine turns up!
The Mares’ Hurdle is in the bag for Ireland. With the likes of Apple’s Jade (4/7), Benie Des Dieux (4/1) and Lets Dance (13/2) leading the betting, there’s so much depth here that there’s only one country coming out on top. Even if the racing Gods aren’t on the side of Apple’s Jade on Tuesday, I’m confident that Benie will Dieux the job and pick up the pieces if she needs to!
Give it up now Tufnell: On The Blind Side (5/1) won’t pass Samcro (4/6). He’s the next big thing and Tuffers, if you saw him at Leopardstown, then you’ll know you’re up against it here. You’ll be off to a rocky start on the Wednesday, that’s for sure!
The RSA looks like it’s going the way of Presenting Percy (5/2) and this lad is favourite for a reason. He’s been there and done it at the festival and with Davy Russell riding, Percy will play his part in me being Presented with the BetBright Cup at the end of the week. Even if he has an off day, I’ve been given two shots with Monalee 3/1 as back up and Phil will be well and truly snookered by Tuesday afternoon!
If Douvan (7/2) turns up, he’s going to give Altior (4/6) the biggest test of his life in the Champion Chase. At the BetBright preview night, Rich Ricci said if Douvan makes it to the Festival, then he won’t just be going for a bit of exercise. Altior deserves to be favourite but this is anything but a formality.
Tiger Roll (9/2) could be my dark horse at Cheltenham. He’s had a tough run of it since winning at last year’s festival and hopefully I’ll be roaring the tiger home in this year’s Cross Country.
Un De Sceaux (11/10) is one of the big guns from the Mullins yard and is looking to retain his Ryanair title at this year’s festival. He’s strong, he’s tough and he looks as good as ever. Ruby will be back in the saddle and firing on all cylinders – Ireland could win the BetBright Cup in third gear!
Sizing John is out of the Gold Cup, but Our Duke (7/1) and Killultagh Vic (9/1) will be waving the Irish flag in the highlight race of the week. Might Bite (11/4) is a force to be reckoned with but he has got a bit of a screw loose and with all this bad weather we’ve had affecting the state of the ground, I think we could see an upset in this one.
Not long to go now until the talking stops and battle commences – C’mon Ireland!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.