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The final race of the day is for Amateur Jockey's only: Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Novices' Chase

This race is in the name of Willie Mullins' mother who recently passed away. Maureen Mullins was an iconic figure, not only in Ireland but for racing in general so it's a great way to celebrate her life to have a race named after her, as she loved the Cheltenham Festival.

This race isn't everyone's cup of tea and is often dominated by the class horse in the race. We've seen the likes of StattlerGalvin and Gaillard Du Mesnil win this race the last couple of years, but what is an interesting statistic is that only one favourite has won it in the last ten years, so be careful!

Cheltenham 5:30 – Mr Vango 20/1 (0.5pt EW, Bet365 3pl)

Starting with the class horses in the race, you've got Corbetts Cross who might've won at the Cheltenham Festival last year if it wasn't for a mishap at the final flight which saw him run out and crash through the side of the hurdle in the Albert Bartlett. It's safe to say that his life as a chaser hasn't gone accordingly. He was beaten on chase debut where he lacked fluency when being backed into 11/10F. He made things right when winning over 2m 6f the time after beating a decent field, but then he was firmly put in his place by Grangeclare West for the second time this season, yet again losing as a favourite. Last time out he fell at Fairyhouse at odds of 1/4F, whether that was his fault or not it's hard to say as Run Wild Fred did jump across him. If you're willing to put his sketchy jumping on your money for this race, and you've got to believe he stays the trip, which isn't a foregone conclusion, you're a braver man than me.

Whichever horse Willie Mullins sends for this race is always going to be well-fancied as Patrick will be doing the steering and in this amateurs race he is up there as being one of the best in this code and Embassy Gardens is the pick for the Mullins stable. Willie has won this race the last two years and won in back in 2018 with Rathvinden, but he has had some shockers as well with Carefully Selected unseating back in 2020 at odds of 10/11F, as well as Ballyward who fell (sadly lost his life) back in 2019 as the market favourite. This horse is 2/2 over fences so far this year and has done very little wrong, winning in great style and being backed off the boards on both occasions, with his latest win recording an RPR of 154, seeing off Sandor Clegane by 10L eased down. That rates as good form, as even though the runner-up hasn't shone over fences as many thought he might have done, he was 3rd in the Albert Bartlett last year. He is probably the one to beat.

Kilbeg King has been a bit of a surprise package this year for the Anthony Honeyball stable. He has always had plenty of ability and Anthony Honeyball has always been brave with him, he went over to Punchestown last spring and won a competitive handicap hurdle by 4.5L, being one of the only British travellers for that Festival. Anthony hasn't changed his approach with him this year when tackling fences, he made a good couple of runs on his first two chase starts over trips too short for him, before finishing 3rd in the Kauto Star at Cheltenham which was won by the impressive French horse, Il Est Francais. He went through the Kauto Star like a very good horse and surprised me with how well he went through the race, but he did stay on strongly like he did last time out at Ascot, with his best part of the race coming in the final few furlongs, so he looks tailor-made for today's step up in trip.

Mr Vango definitely deserves a shot in this race. This horse was a winning selection for me just 18 days ago in the Devon National and considering it was his first attempt beyond 3m, he proved that he stayed the trip and then some. He won the Devon National by 60L, and did so by putting them to the sword from the get-go under a great front-running ride by Ben Jones. Obviously, the form difference between the Devon National to today's race is chalk and cheese, but you know for certain that he'll stay the trip out and is the only horse in the race you won't have to worry about stamina problems with, could be the dark horse in the race and priced up as the outsider of the bunch, where not many normally finish this race or if they do, they are very strung apart, he is the EW play. It would also be a great win for connections as Mark Bradstock who was the trainer of this horse died a week ago, and he was never shy of a challenge for his horses like when he won the Gold Cup with Coneygree when he was a novice chaser, so it's no surprise to see that this horse is being chucked in at the deep end.

Salvador Ziggy deserves to be mentioned as well, he comes into the race as the highest-rated horse, so it is a tad surprising that he is the favourite for this. Like every other horse in this race bar Mr Vango, he has to prove he stays this trip, but Gordon Elliott has rested him since October for this race in mind, and given that he won this race back in 2020, he has to be highly respected.

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