Paul Ferguson has two more seletions from Cheltenham for us on Wednesday; Brewin’upastorm at 1.30 and Scarpeta at 2.50.
A final flight faller in the Classic Novices’ Hurdle on trials day Brewin’upastorm (1:30) ought to relish a strongly-run race in the Ballymore on Wednesday and he looks capable of putting up a bold show for trainer Olly Murphy.
The son of Milan had earlier finished fourth behind Champ and he has 4 lengths to make up with Nicky Henderson’s market leader, from their meeting in the Challow. Softer ground and a stronger pace might well bring them closer together and his earlier victory at Huntingdon has worked out extremely well.
Whilst it isn’t ideal arriving at the festival on the back of a fall, he does boast course experience and he hails from the Irish Point-to-Point sphere, as six of the last nine winners of this race had. He is worth backing each-way in what looks a typically good renewal at the top end, although I’m not sure how much depth there is to the race this year, behind the front half dozen in the betting.
Of the opposition, I’m a big fan of Battleoverdoyen, who is cut from a similar cloth (Point-to-Point winner) and has already bagged a Grade 1 this season. He looks a lovely prospect for fences, even at this stage, and he is one who I am particularly keen on seeing in the flesh for the first time.
The feature on day two – the Queen Mother Champion Chase – can go the way of Altior with Min once again most likely to chase him home. Last year’s winner won’t be a betting proposition for most, but he is impossible to oppose.
The Coral Cup on the other hand is an extremely wide-open handicap, in which Willie Mullins’ lightly-raced Uradel heads the betting. He is an obvious contender given his improvement on the Flat last year, but at the prices I’m siding with stable-mate Scarpeta (2:50) who was available at 25-1 at the time of writing.
Fourth behind Samcro in last year’s Ballymore, he bolted up over 3m on his reappearance and was still travelling sweetly when making a serious blunder three out last time. His hurdling is a slight concern, but his price more than factors that in and, if he can get his jumping together in the first time cheek pieces, he certainly has the ability to go well at a massive price. The six-year-old, who fits the profile of several recent winners of this race, won’t mind any further rain and it is worth noting that the sponsors are paying seven places in this contest.