16:50 - Champion Bumper
A race that has produced some top-class Grade 1 winners over the years, with the likes of Cue Card going in at 40/1 in 2010, Champagne Fever landing the spoils at 16/1 two years later and more recently Envoi Allen justifying favouritism in 2019. This year's renewal also promises to add to that list with Willie Mullins running two extremely highly regarded runners in Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard as he looks to maintain his stranglehold on the trophy. The former was an impressive winner on debut in December and followed up in no uncertain terms at Leopardstown in February, sauntering by rivals with his jockey sat motionless in the saddle, winning what looked to be a competitive Grade 2 by twelve lengths.
Sir Gerhard also left a lasting impression on debut, breezing through the race before looking a little keen at the two furlong pole, then asserting and readily coming clear to win by fourteen lengths in a race where the second, third and fifth have won since. He put in a similarly impressive performance next time out, again sitting just behind the leader before extending away when asked and finishing his race off extremely strongly. In what promises to be a mouthwatering contest, Sir Gerhard just about edges it for me so I am sticking with him for the victory.
The strongest challenger outside the two market principles looks to be Three Stripe Life who has only been seen once but was impressive in victory and should have plenty more to come so looks a decent each way option, although may lack a little in terms of experience for win purposes.
SIR GERHARD (WIN)
written by Dean Kilbryde