5.30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Wednesday 11 March | Age: 4-6yo | Prize: £750,000
The Champion Bumper is a Grade 1 National Hunt Flat race which is run over a distance of about two miles and half a furlong (2 miles and 87 yards). Open to horses aged between four and six years old, the Champion Bumper was established in 1992 and is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham. It was initially called the Festival Bumper, and had various sponsors in the early years, including Tote and Guinness. However, Weatherbys have been sponsoring the race since 1997 and it is now widely known as the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
THE ‘bumper' is a flat race for horses who are bred for jumps racing and are widely expected to graduate to hurdles or fences the following season.
This is the pinnacle for any bumper horse in any given year.
In this race therefore we are looking for a classy horse who can stay two miles in a fiercely competitive race.
The favourite Appreciate It holds every chance but I wouldn't make him as short a price as he is in a race that is some competitive.
There are two each way shouts agains the favourite that I like the look of.
The first is QUEENS BROOK for Gordon Elliott. She hacked up last time in her only start on a racecourse over hurdles and with a bit of improvement I can see her getting involved, particularly with a handy mares allowance.
The second one that has caught my eye is ISRAEL CHAMP for the David Pipe yard.
He won nicely in his last couple of starts and he looks like he has every chance at a much bigger price than some of the Irish contenders.
APPRECIATE IT can supply Mullins with his tenth victory in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
He finished third to Envoi Allen in a 2018 point-to-point, then won next time, but was later off the track for 18 months.
Sent to Mullins, Appreciate It won over 2m 4f on debut under Rules at Leopardstown then sauntered home from useful Risk Factor at the Dublin track last month.
Panic Attack receives the combined 15lb fillies’ and four-year-old allowance and moved from Mullins to David Pipe after scoring at Market Rasen.
Pipe is also represented by Israel Champ, a dual Listed bumper winner, and that pair look best of the home team.
Elliott’s Queen’s Brook, a wide-margin winner at Gowran Park, receives the 8lb mares’ allowance and could be a market mover.
Appreciate It sets a high standard, with respected stablemate Ferny Hollow an attractive each-way bet, four places.
This race is arguably the toughest race of the festival, in terms of finding a winner.
It’s very hard to compare form, unless they’ve raced against each other in the past.
Appreciate It is the short-priced favourite, and probably deserves it after winning very easily at Leopardstown in February. That performance was given an RPR of 138 which is the highest on show.
Although that run is the standout piece of form, I’d rather side with the 4yo, PANIC ATTACK.
This filly was previously trained by Willie Mullins, but was purchased by Bryan Drew after she won her sole start at Market Rasen in the Class 1 Listed Mares’ Bumper race by 10 lengths.
That performance was superb to watch, she quickened away from the field like they were average horses, and to do it on debut made it even more impressive. She is now trained by David Pipe, who is a great trainer of bumper horses and he also saddles another market fancy, Israel Champ.
I’m going to stick firmly with Panic Attack, and I have an Ante Post bet at 25/1 with her as well.
Being a 4yo, and a filly she gets a lot of weight allowances, and only carries 10st 4lb which is a huge benefit. I know 4yo’s don’t have a great record in the race, but she looked special when she won on debut.
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T: W P Mullins
T: G Elliott
T: D Pipe
T: D Pipe
T: G Elliott
T: G Elliott
T: D Skelton
T: A King
T: R A Teal
T: Tom Lacey
T: W P Mullins
T: Ms M Mullins
T: F O'Brien
T: A J Martin
T: Jonathan Sweeney
T: N A Twiston-Davies
T: W Greatrex
T: F O'Brien
T: Olly Murphy
T: Andrew Martin
T: Lady S Brooke
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