- Bill Esdaile (City Am)
- Richard (Dickie) Johnson
- Mick Fitzgerald
- Charlie Longsdon
- Luke Tarr (Star Sports)
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Despite all of Luke Tarr’s attempts to dissuade the audience from backing Gordon Elliot’s Samcro (4-6), I got the impression that bookmakers up and down the country are seriously worried about just how good this novice could be. Fitzgerald stated that he wouldn’t be backing Samcro as he’s worried that he won’t travel well from Ireland! Charlie Longsdon on the other hand thinks that Samcro is a real superstar and would recommended backing Black Op (10-1) or Vision de Flos (20-1) each way. The race members of The Albatross Club will be most looking forward to, as their star runner - Western Ryder (25-1) is entered. Jockey Johnson feels he could run a good race although if he had a choice of horse he’d choose Samcro or even Kim Bailey’s Vinndication (16-1) who beat Western Ryder convincingly at Huntingdon on their last outing.
RSA Novices’ Chase
A race all of the panel got excited about. Fitzgerald raved about Presenting Percy’s (5-2) chances and reckons the drier the ground the better for Patrick Kelly’s festival fancy. Charlie Longsdon prefers Monalee (3-1) despite doubts over whether he’ll stay and Tarr stating that he’d happily lay Monalee but doesn’t want to take on Percy. An opinion that is backed up by Johnson who thinks the race will be a real test due to Monalee and Black Corton’s (my fancy 7-1) free jumping style which can only suit Percy. Host Esdaile prefers the each way value of a certain stayer in Dounikos (10-1).
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Not much to mention her with all pundits predicting a dominant display from Nicky Henderson’s machine - Altior (4-6). Indeed Tarr would offer no bigger than 10-11 on what is many people’s banker for The Festival.
Cross Country Chase
Tarr revealed that there has been a lot of recent money for Tiger Roll, who is a horse Mick feels has been targeted for this one race all year. Currently priced at 5-1.
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
A race for punters to get really stuck into. Fitzgerald fancies The King of May (20/1) who he feels is a massive price. Johnson rates the staying ability of his mount Oxford Blu (16/1) trained by and up and coming trainer Olly Murphy. Luke Tarr stated that his main bet of the festival is Oistrakh le Noir (10-1) trained by Ben Pauling. However, Pauling’s brother in law Longsdon doesn’t think the horse is good enough to win and has instead sided with Look My Way (14-1) for shrewd trainer John Quinn.
Tarr revealed there has been plenty of recent money for Tornado Flyer (10-1) who was an impressive debut winner at Fairyhouse in January. Esdaile likes Felix Desjy (10-1) a lot with Gordon Elliott looking to win this race for the second year in a row.
Stay tuned for Day's 3 and 4...Coming soon!!