ANNIE POWER will take all the beating in today’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle. She’s so good that she is a future Gold Cup winner.
She’s a gorgeous-looking mare but she also has a bit of size about her – she was very striking when she ran at Doncaster and she didn’t stop after passing the winning post.
Ireland’s best mare since Dawn Run won the 1986 Gold Cup, she’s got a tremendous amount of ability. To be honest, she could have won the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday and she could also have run away with the Mares’ Hurdle which her stablemate Quevega took for a record sixth time.
Trained by Willie Mullins, she has age on her side – and Ruby Walsh who is already amongst the winners.
He rode Big Buck’s to his four victories in this race and will know exactly how to get the veteran beaten.
Another jockey in form is Barry Geraghty. The winner of the Champion Hurdle on Jezki, I really like his chances on Nicky Henderson’s Oscar Whisky in the JLT Novices’ Chase. He’s 6-1.
He’s by a sire I love, called Oscar, and he has loads of ability. He loves Cheltenham and will be even better on ground that is still drying out. If he’s fourth or fifth at the second last, he will win because of his turn of foot.
No doubts, I’m with AP McCoy’s horse If In Doubt, trained by Philip Hobbs, in the Pertemps. This horse was only just beaten by his stablemate Fingal Bay last time out at Exeter and he will reverse the form – If In Doubt has eight pounds less to carry than the favourite.
I’ve written a lot this week about course form being important, hence why I’m siding with Benefficient in the Ryanair Chase. Tony Martin is a top trainer and the horse won the novice chase at the Festival last year. There are few better riders than Davy Russell. I’m surprised the David Pipe horse Dynaste is favourite, the grey was very disappointing in the King George and Kempton and I will be amazed if he is good enough today. He also lost to Benefficient 12 months ago.
In the Byrne Plate, Johns Spirit is a course specialist. He’s twice won at Cheltenham this season, including the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and his jockey Richie McLernon had a nice winner on Tuesday. With that confidence, he’ll be buzzing.
In the last race, I go with Indian Castle. Derek O’Connor, the Irish amateur, is the best rider in the race and Donald McCain’s stable jockey Jason Maguire said at a Festival preview the other week that this was the yard’s best chance of a winner this week.
I wouldn’t disagree.
1.30: Oscar Whisky
2.05: If In Doubt
3.20: Annie Power
4.00: Johns Spirit
4.40: Indian Castle
Brian Toomey is backing Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund Centre being built in Malton. Donations can be made via the injuredjockeys.co.uk website.