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CHELTENHAM – ONE OF OUR PREMIUM PICKS
1:30 HERMES ALLEN 11/4
After winning a French bumper, IMPAIRE PASSE joined Irish trainer Willie Mullins. Since racing for new connections, the 5-year-old won his two hurdles easily.
For the record, the first of them was an 18-length win of a 24-runner maiden hurdle at Naas. Subsequently, the son of DIAMOND BOY landed the Grade two Moscow Flyer hurdle at Punchestown by 6.5 lengths.
To cut a long story short, the favourite could do no more than win his races in an impressive manner. However, while he wasn’t tested against average opposition, winning the Ballymore is going to be a bigger challenge.
Mullins saddles another three runners, namely GAELIC WARRIOR, CHAMP KIELY, and HO MY LORD. The first-mentioned has the highest (157) official rating, and he won 3 from 3 this season. Nevertheless, the races he won were moderate, and I believe Paul Townsend chose (IMPAIRE PASSE) the right one.
On the opening day, Michael O’Sullivan rode a double for Barry O’Connell. While he’s not a household name, O’Sullivan is an accomplished rider.
In this race, the pair are being represented by 3-times winner GOOD LAND. The son of BRESIL is a good type, and he’s sure to win many more races. In fact, I reckon he’s going to be an even better chaser! As for today’s race, I wouldn’t give the 7-year-old much chance. While he will stay and handle the ground, the competition is too hot!
Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls will saddle the well-supported HERMES ALLEN, and in my opinion, he’s the most likely winner. To begin with, the 6-year-old is the perfect 3 from 3 in over hurdles. One of those wins was over course and distance, and since then he followed up by winning a Grade one!
Harry Cobden’s mount is a strong stayer, and he’s going to be even more suited by today’s holding ground. On that note, both his parents loved testing ground, and the forecast showers will help his cause.
Expect Harry to make the running and fend off his rivals at the business end. Despite Irish trainers dominating this race in the past, not today!