15:30 Cheltenham - Champion Chase
This is shaping up to be the race of the festival in my eyes. So many of the contenders will fancy their chances and would have solid claims to justify this.
Shishkin is likely to be very popular for this event given his unbeaten record and it’s very hard to pick holes in him and his form. He’s very clever at his fences and though he didn’t have his best round of jumping last time out, he still had enough to beat the re-opposing Energumene that day. In my opinion, I can only see the result being a wider margin this time around when the Cheltenham hill has its say.
The latter reportedly hasn’t enjoyed a perfect preparation for the festival having picked up a small knock towards the end of last month, however if he is on song, Energumene can once again lay it down to Shishkin and make it a truly memorable contest.
Put The Kettle On is the only mare to have ever won this race but she would have to raise her game to get involved here as her form this time around has not been as good.
Envoi Allen is not being widely talked about here but on his best form he would be drastically overpriced for this contest. I would say that this is his best trip and though he hasn’t exactly flourished since leaving Gordon Elliott’s stable, it would be very wrong to overlook him and though I think that Shishkin is by far the most likely winner here, Envoi Allen represents fantastic each way value that is hard to pass over.
written by Tom Bates