Elliott can end the day on a high with American Mike

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 11:11 p.m.


Bill Esdaile

Bill Esdaile is City AM’s racing editor and managing director of Square in the Air.

Gordon Elliott won the Champion Bumper in 2017 and 2019

The TODAY card ends with Weatherby’s Champion Bumper (5:30 p.m.) and if the vibes are to be believed, then Willie Mullins’ Easy Vega will be extremely tough to beat.

The five-year-old is impeccably bred, out of Quevega, the heroine of several Mares’ Hurdles, and it’s hard not to have been impressed with what he’s done on the track in his two starts so far. He couldn’t have been more impressive than his last start at the Dublin Racing Festival, where he held on and won by 12 lengths.

His rider Patrick Mullins has been lyrical about him ever since, but he’s only 11/8 and we’ve already seen the likes of Appreciate It and Kilcruit turn around at cut prices.

He’ll probably be tough to beat, but I prefer the claims of AMERICAN MIKEwho like Easy Vega is two out of two in the bumpers this season.

Gordon Elliott’s charge has looked the real deal in both of those outings and given that Elliott has made no secret of the high regard he holds him in, looks sure to be fine at 5/2.

As usual, Mullins fires several darts at it and while I was impressed with Redemption Day’s debut in Leopardstown, I’m going to attempt another one of his in MADMANJEU at a whopping 33/1.

He didn’t blow anyone away with his first win at Navan, but he looked like a horse that would improve massively for experience, and I feel like he could have flown under the radar here , especially if juice gets into the ground.

There is rain in the forecast today and the ground could be quite soft in the final so given he won that Naas contest on heavy ground he is likely to handle it better than some of the others here.

Mullins has won this with big-money racers in the past, so it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if he did it again.

Connections from GITE EDITOR were considering losing at the Grade One Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, but trainer Gary Moore noticeably looked down and went the route of the Grand Annual (4:50 p.m.).

On the same course and distance and against lesser company, despite weighing a little over 11th 9lbs, the eight-year-old Frenchman could be the class act on the pitch.

Prestbury Park have no fears for the daring son of Saddex, who is two out of two on the track and seems to be improving with each race.

His latest start saw him jump with great enthusiasm and pull away from his rivals by four lengths.

He’s put on another six pounds for that, but there’s still room for a bit more improvement and that’s a must bet at 14/1 with Fitzdares.

The other to be here is EMBITTERED.

Strongly backed in the patronage that day 12 months ago and going well until he dropped to ninth, he’s worth another shot at 8/1.

Victories in August and October were followed by a below par winter and he is now six pounds lighter than last year.

Paul Nicholls’ Il Ridoto looks unexposed after just four UK starts since arriving from France and is expected to be better than his mark of 143 in time.

It would take performances for a five-year-old to earn a big handicap like this on his first Cheltenham start, but he is certainly a player to watch for the future.

Also be sure to try the latest Whoknowswins race prediction game.

Download the app, enter the Cheltenham league on the homepage and choose your selections in each of today’s races.

You can enter up to 20 times, with each entry costing £5. The bettor with the most correct choices at the end of the day wins the pool, with the top 20% also receiving a payout.


Publisher Du Gite est/se 4:50 p.m. Cheltenham

Bitter e/w 4.50pm Cheltenham

American Mike 5.30pm Cheltenham

Madmansgame c/o 5.30pm Cheltenham

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