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Cheltenham Preview Round Up
Thu, Mar 1st, 2012

There have been reports circulating from the Tipperary, Warwick, Exeter, and UCD Cheltenham Preview nights. Our forum members have been discussing these here. Last night the best line up likely to be seen at a Cheltenham Preview night in Ireland for 2012 was assembled by bookmaker Paddy Power at Westmanstown. As far as we aware Ruby Walsh isnt doing any more previews in Ireland. Also on the panel were Ivan Yates (MC), Barry Geraghty, Davy Russell, Colm Murphy, Jessica Harrington, Paddy Power, Donn Mc Clean, Paul Nicholls by phone and Willie Mullins by phone.

We have become a little Sprinter Sacre obsessed at Fat Jockey so our evening highlight was Barry Geraghty's response when asked, was he concerned about the cheltenham hill for Sprinter Sacre?  Barry replied :

I am very concerned...concerned that there isn't enough room at the top of it to pull him up!

Our expectations are high, this coming on the back of Nicky Henderson's " great black aeroplane " comments and Andrew Tinkler's revelation at the Warwick cheltenham preview night that Sprinter Sacre :

has to work on his own at home as nothing can live with him and we don't want to break the hearts of horses like Oscar Whisky by working with him.

Remember new customers can get 2/1 with Stan James on Sprinter Sacre if the enter the code "fatjockey" into the promocode box when opening an account. More on that exclusive here.

Anyway back at Westmanstown :

Supreme Novices

Barry said Simonsig's target is undecided. Ruby Walsh was keen on chances of, his good friend AP McCoy's mount, Darlan. (Andrew Tinker had previously reported at Warwick that Darlan showed no ill effects of his bad fall at Newbury). Willie Mullins gave a positive report on Midnight Game but was concerned about overwatering of the ground. Wille believes we havent seen the best of him by a long way and the faster the ground the better Midnight Game will be. At the earlier Exeter Preview night Philip Hobbs stated Colour Sergeant was fine after his recent fall, and should go very well and on same night Paul Nicholls said Prospect Wells is very classy at home, and goes there with a decent chance, allowing for poor effort last time. At the Tipperary preview Robbie Power had stated  that Steps For Freedom is a better horse going to the festival this year than Oscars Well was 12 months ago. Jessica Harrington made Steps for Freedom her Charity Bet at Westmanstown.

Arkle

We have Barry Geraghty's Sprinter Sacre comments above. The other major preview news on the Arkle had been  Gordon Elliot's comments at the Ballmore Eustace evening on Monday where he reported that that the 'vibes weren't good for Peddlers Cross in the Arkle' . Gordon would be a good friend of, Peddlers Cross jockey, Jason Maguire. At Exeter Paul Nicholls had questioned whether Sprinter Sacre would stay, as he has done all his top class form on flat tracks. Philip Hobbs on the same night said Menorah jumps well at home, but does make the odd mistake, which he will need to avoid on the day. Paddy Power are running a money back if your horse gets beatedn by Sprinter Sacre offer on this race. More about that here.

Champion Hurdle

There has been little opposition to Hurricane Fly and at Westmanstown Ruby reported that he was not worried what is beside him jumping the last.  Barry Geraghty, Paddy Power and Donn McClean thought Binocular represented the value in the race. Ruby said he thought Zarkandar isnt quick enough to win.

Mare Hurdle

It has been all Quevega at the preview nights. Ruby reported that Quevega schooled over hurdles at the Curragh at the weekend and worked well. He said she got a slight bang but nothing to worry about.

Fred Winter

The weights only came out yesterday and Paul Nicholls gave a nod to Ulck du linn on the phone to Westmanstown.

RSA Chase

There was oppostion at Westmanstown to Grands Crus. Ruby questioned whether he really sees out his races. Barry Geraghty was bulish on Bobs Worth and made this his Charity Bet.

Champion Chase

Another race where panels have been struggling to find an alternative to the favourite, Sizing Europe. Andrew Lynch and Robbie Power were both at the Tipperary preview. Andrew Lynch said Sizing Europe in "cracking form"  and has a 'savage heart'. Robbie Power is likely to ride Big Zeb. He knew after 3 fences last time he was in trouble in the Tied Cottage but said there won't be much between them at Cheltenham.

Ryanair Chase

Davy Russell created a bit of a stir last night by saying he had been told by Choc that Medermit goes for the Gold Cup and not the Ryanair. ( We thought Alan King said the same thing after Ascot ?). NRNB might be best option with Medermit for now ! Davy Russell was also very positive on Noble Prince. Has had his wind done since his last run. Ruby revealed that he wanted Willie Mullins to run Quel Esprit in the Ryanair but couldnt convince him. Ruby also was negative on Rubi Light . Thinks he is like Nickname and needs heavy ground. Colm Murphy selected Somersby as his charity bet.

Triumph Hurdle

Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins both stated that  Ut De Sivola is overpriced. They hadnt got him ready in his last race and were confident he's a lot better than he showed in his last run.

Gold Cup

Most of the Westmanstown panel agreed Long Run was the most likely Gold Cup winner and will outstay Kauto Star. Ruby was concerned about Kauto's age and felt the the extra 2 furlongs up that hill would suit Long Run.

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