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Champion Bumper preview

Wednesday's card concludes with the Champion Bumper, a Marmite sort of race that doesn't take everyone's fancy. It still has to be won though, and the bookies will have the satchels open, so let's see what Harriet Fuller, @hattielfuller has found with her magnifying glass...

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Champion Bumper
Two miles, Grade 1 National Hunt Flat
1715 Wednesday


I find myself in an extremely unusual situation this year, as not only do I have a couple of strong fancies for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, but I am also looking forward to it.

Normally, when looking through the cards, by the time I stumble upon the bumper I pour myself a large whiskey and put my head in my hands. It is a lottery, last year's winner Silver Concorde I didn’t even give a second look.

But this year is different and there are two horses (maybe three) that I am looking forward to see. And who knows, I could even find the horse that will end the Irish dominance in the race after they have trained eight of the last ten winners.

It would seem a good place to start with the Irish though, and first up in the market is Willie Mullins’ Bordini. He was successful on two bumpers in November and December and did it in good fashion, the one downside with him is that both wins have come on pretty soft ground. I would be slightly concerned if the ground dried out too much. However, saying that, the form of his bumper wins has been franked with the third and fifth in his second bumper both scoring over hurdles already. He'd also beaten a few winners. So at 7/1 I can see why he is favourite, but I would like to take him on with one of the British-trained horses.

I have a lot of time for David Pipe’s Moon Racer. Having been victorious in a bumper at Fairyhouse in the spring at odds of 50/1 he was snapped up by Pipe and went on to win impressively at Cheltenham, this is the key for me as we know he will run strongly up the hill. He hasn't run since, but he goes well fresh and is reported to be in top shape at home, he deserves his place near the top end of the market, and at 8/1 he is a cracking bet to win it for the home team.

The next horse to touch on is Vigil who was fifth in this race last year. I expected him to go hurdling this year but he has seemingly been saved for this and despite winning his sole start this season I can't help but feel he is vulnerable to other least-exposed horses in the race, he does however have experience on his side, and although I won't be siding with him, if you do, he’s 12/1.

Another of Mullins’ entries is Au Quart De Tour, although in comparison to a couple of his stablemates, his form doesn't stand up as well, he has also drifted in the betting out from 8/1 to 12/1. Mullins has stronger chances in the race.

One of those chances is Pylonthepressure who threatens to continue the Irish domination of the race, he is a horse I have been incredibly taken by so far and I would expect him to run a big race. Winning both bumpers he is held in high regard by Mullins and he could well be one for the future, the downside to him though, is that he won over 2m3f and on soft ground, the shorter trip and drier ground may cause small inconvenience, but you can't deny how impressive he has been and the form stands up. He's also received market support and is able to be backed at 10/1 now.

The last horse I would like to mention is Supasundae who has been on his travels this year, now on the hands of a third different trainer. He won a bumper at Wetherby for trainer Tim Fitzgerald before switching to Andrew Balding’s yard and winning at Ascot in a Listed race. Since then he has moved over to Ireland to Henry de Bromhead’s stables ready for a crack at this race. He is a beautifully-bred horse, by Galileo out of a half-sister to Nathaniel and if any horses are going to give Moon Racer a run for his money then it's him. He is available to back at 12/1.

So in summary, Moon Racer has a great chance to win it for the home team while the main danger to him will come from Supasundae, both horses are however, great each-way prices so you can't go wrong there.

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