MESSIRE DES OBEAUX 4/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
The horse to beat here for me is Shan Blue who is a terrific jumper but the same can be said about MESSIRE DES OBEAUX. I have been really impressed with his two wins this season, especially with his Grade 2 win at Wincanton last month when beating a good horse in Protektorat.
Alan King has done some job with this horse as he was nearly retired and spent 1034 days off the track. To get him back to winning Grade 2s is some training performance.
MESSIRE DES OBEAUX is so fast and slick over his fences that the railway fences at Sandown should be to his liking. I think he can gain lengths at his fences and given he has natural speed, he should be able to tank into the race.
For me this is his Gold Cup and he will be primed for this run given how fragile the horse is. They won’t have a plan going forward; they will just have him absolutely spot on for the day.
If he does win this I even think they will skip Cheltenham and go to Aintree, that is how much he will be tuned to the minute for this race. WIN.
SALDIER 12/1 generally – 1 POINT EACH WAY ( 2 places, 1/4 odds)
Honeysuckle won this race last year and is the one to beat but personally I think she is better over further. She can obviously win this race, I am not saying she can’t but being a price man, I can see plenty of value in SALDIER. The betting suggests he is Willie Mullins 2nd string behind Sharjah, which probably is the case but I do believe he is a very talented horse. He is a horse who has had his problems and has only actually run 3 times since November 2018. He was in the process of beating the 2019 Champion Hurdle winner, Espoir D’Allen at Naas back in 2018 but fell at the final hurdle. He was off the track for 371 days before returning at Punchestown in November 2019 when winning the Grade 1 Morigana Hurdle with horse like Sharjah and Klassical Dream behind. That day he was the supposed 3rd string. Following that run he had further problems which made him miss the 2020 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but he returned after 409 days at Leopardstown over Christmas. He came home 6th of 7 but as soon as he was beat, Paul Townend stopped riding the horse. I think it was nothing more than to blow the cobwebs away.
I am confident he has come on loads for that run and connections think the world of the horse. If on song this is a serious horse and I can’t believe he is 12/1 with the ability, when fit, that he possesses.
A horse who I think has the potential to raise a few eyebrows and is definitely the forgotten horse. E/W.
RAMILLIES 11/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral – 1 POINT WIN
Once again they have latched on to another Willie Mullins horse in this race with Kilcruit which leaves unbelieveable value in RAMILLIES at 11/2. This horse looked to have improved so much physically over the Christmas period, compared to what he was back in 2019. He won a decent bumper at Leopardstown by a huge 10 lengths, not coming off the bridle. Not only did it confirm his liking for the course but it showed that he is now mentally ready, compared to what he was a year prior. After the race Willie Mullins commented that ” He looks top drawer and I’d imagine we will look to come back for the Dublin Festival. The Grade 2 bumper (todays race) would have to be the target.
He has been trained for this race specifically so will be primed to the minute. I really think he can beat the Willie Mullins ‘first string’. WIN.