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Champion Bumper

17:30 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-16

Winner: £45560

Runners: 20

Going: Heavy

No. of hurdles:

Distance: 2m0f87y

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The Champion Bumper takes place on day two of the Cheltenham Festival and is the only race at the meeting during which no obstacles are jumped. It is for horses who are yet to begin their jumping careers and has been the starting point for many top-class hurdlers and chasers, including King George winners Florida Pearl and Cue Card.

NO.DRAW
FORM
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HORSE
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18(0)
2-431
silk
Spanish Present

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J: Sean Bowen
T: Martin Keighley
6
11-5
110
119
Showed promise in all three bumper runs in Ireland and made a winning debut for this yard on soft ground at Market Rasen; he was no more than workmanlike though and the bare form is nothing to shout about.
14(0)
23
silk
Ocean Of Mercy

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J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Paul Hennessy
6
11-5
119
120
Both runs on good; only nosed out on his debut at Navan and then ran well to be third here, finishing right behind Top Dog; has races in him but no maiden has ever won this race and it's unlikely that he'll be busting that trend.
20(0)
41
silk
Viva Devito

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J: Mr Derek O'Connor
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
128
121
Fourth of 22 in a Punchestown bumper for his previous yard; made an impressive debut for this one when going in by 16l on soft ground at Tramore, where the first-time hood clearly did him no harm; however, those behind have done little to boost the form and his name has been barely mentioned in all the pre-race talk (unlike some of his stablemates).
15(0)
22-11
silk
Our Jester

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J: Nico de Boinville
T: Hughie Morrison
6
11-5
121
127
Beaten in his first two bumpers but he got off the mark by 6l at Ascot (good) and followed up on the AW at Lingfield; the latter race was run at tepid fractions and he was in the right place to assert, but he's a good looker with better days ahead of him and perhaps Britain's best chance.
11(0)
21
silk
Joyeux Machin

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J: B J Cooper
T: Paul Nolan
5
11-5
121
127
Got the job done at Navan (yielding) but had to grit his teeth to do so and he was unable to get Facile Vega off the bridle at Leopardstown over Christmas; almost certainly playing for the places at best.
2(0)
11
silk
American Mike

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J: Mr J J Codd
T: Gordon Elliott
5
11-5
138
142
Recruited for £195,000 at the sales here last April soon after winning an Irish point by 20l; justified his tall reputation in a canter at Down Royal (soft) and strolled home in front by 17l in a Listed race at Navan (good to yielding) that Gordon Elliott has farmed with some of his best prospects; his connections evidently rate him very highly and he's an imposing individual with a bright future no matter what happens here.
19(0)
2-231
silk
Top Dog

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J: Tom Bellamy
T: Emma Lavelle
5
11-5
127
131
From the family of Altior and he has not finished out of the first three in his four bumpers, getting off the mark when perhaps a shade fortunate to beat the patiently ridden Rosy Redrum in Listed event at Newbury (good to soft); has her to worry about once more, and a good few others; should win more races but this is unlikely to be one of them.
13(0)
21
silk
Music Drive

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J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
5
11-5
118
129
Won an Irish maiden point; brushed aside by Redemption Day at Leopardstown over Christmas and the horse he then beat narrowly at Naas (soft; first-time tongue-tie) was hammered the time before by Facile Vega; likely to struggle unless finding something from somewhere.
3(0)
2214
silk
Authorised Speed

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J: Joshua Moore
T: Gary Moore
5
11-5
124
129
Won by 10l at Newbury and could have done with a truer gallop when only fourth to Top Dog in a Listed event back there a month ago, both on good to soft; nonetheless, he has lots to find elevated to this level.
NR(0)
2814
silk
Esperti

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T: Peter Fahey
5
11-5
114
116
Listowel bumper form is rarely that strong and after his win there in September (good to yielding) he trailed home last of four runners in a weak race at Punchestown; his trainer is always respected on his British forays but this runner looks out of his depth.
5(0)
2
silk
Cillians Charm

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J: Jonathan Moore
T: Anthony McCann
5
11-5
110
118
Probably beaten by a nice prospect at Catterick but he needed to win that and win it well to merit a second glance in this esteemed company; outsider.
21(0)
111
silk
Poetic Music

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J: Paddy Brennan
T: Fergal O'Brien
4
10-2
116
133
Bought for £60,000 after a winning start with John Butler; has maintained her unbeaten record for new connections, seeing her races out strongly at Newbury (1m4f, good to soft) and Cheltenham (1m6f Listed, soft); it all adds up to a very solid start to her career but this is a tall order for any 4yo - let alone a filly - when only Cue Card has triumphed for this age group in the last 25 years.
16(0)
1
silk
Redemption Day

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J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
126
133
Cost £40,000 and is out of an unraced sister to Cheltenian, who won this in 2011; a strict interpretation (through the second) of his winning form on soft at Leopardstown gives him something to find with Facile Vega, but he did that very easily and market vibes were strong; has been a steady shortener for this in the ante-post markets and ten of this race's 29 winners had raced only once, so inexperience has been no barrier to success.
12(0)
1
silk
Madmansgame

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J: Danny Mullins
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
115
126
A good looker who fetched 250,000gns after winning a 3m soft-ground point; more workmanlike than stylish in edging home at Navan (heavy; sent off 4-11) and the runner-up was beaten the thick end of 20l by Facile Vega the time before; clearly needs to raise his game; trainer runs seven and this one would appear to be down the pecking order.
4(0)
11
silk
Call Me Harry

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J: Conor O'Farrell
T: Iain Jardine
5
11-5
118
120
The form of his wins at Musselburgh (good to soft) and Newcastle (AW) are no great advertisement for his prospects in a race of this standing.
7(0)
11
silk
Facile Vega

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J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
138
145
Second foal out of Festival legend Quevega; has looked all class in two wide-margin wins without breaking into a sweat at Leopardstown (soft/yielding), recording an RPR on a par with previous winners Envoi Allen, Appreciate It and Kilcruit (all of whom came on to be competitive here) when bounding effortlessly clear in a Grade 2 last time; held in the very highest regard by a trainer who has won this 11 times and it is no great wonder that he heads the market.
8(0)
37
silk
Godot

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J: Brendan Powell
T: Andy Irvine
5
11-5
105
111
There were positives to take from his first run but he was beaten 28l at Kempton a month ago and is tilting at windmills here.
NR(0)
12
silk
Rosy Redrum

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T: Milton Harris
4
10-2
118
127
Won cosily at Wincanton and she might well have followed up at Newbury at the expense of Top Dog had she not been caught out of her ground before finishing with real purpose; gets all the allowances and there's an improved effort in her, but she has bundles to find on the figures; hood is a new addition this afternoon.
17(0)
1
silk
Seabank Bistro

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J: Brian Hayes
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
122
130
Yet another impressive debut winner from the Mullins yard and the horse he beat with plenty in hand at Naas (2m3f, yielding) has won since; the vibes aren't strong compared to some of his stablemates but there's no knocking a winning start.
1(0)
1
silk
Ain't No Sunshine

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J: Danny McMenamin
T: Keith Dalgleish
6
11-5
109
119
Had to dig fairly deep in the end to deny the persistent runner-up (pair clear) on heavy ground at Kelso and that form is light years away from the required standard here.
10(0)
1
silk
James's Gate

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J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
119
124
Didn't beat a lot at Punchestown (heavy; sent off 2-5) but it looked good as he cantered home ahead by 8l and was backed as though defeat was out of the question; Team Mullins seems sweeter on others but he could be anything.
9(0)
11
silk
Houlanbatordechais

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J: Rachael Blackmore
T: W P Mullins
5
11-5
0
117
Fairly untroubled in winning his two races in France, from off the pace on good ground and then making all on soft; subsequently sold for 150,000euros; difficult to get a grip on exactly what he's achieved but these connections recruit well from France and he's entitled to a second look.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
American Mike
Yet again this looks all about the Irish, who have won 22 of the 29 runnings. With AMERICAN MIKE and Facile Vega both unbeaten and held in the highest esteem by their powerhouse connections, this is one of the matches of the meeting. The last three winners were expensive recruits from the Irish point scene and American Mike has looked awesome in winning races that Gordon Elliott consistently targets with his best prospects. Not that Facile Vega could have won his races any easier and, when bearing in mind that Willie Mullins has not won this with his apparent first string since 2005, impressive debut winner Redemption Day also enters the reckoning together with the stable's five other last-time winners. The British contingent, of whom Our Jester might be the best hope, looks substandard.

Verdict

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CHAMPION BUMPER PREVIOUS WINNERS

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CHAMPION BUMPER KEY TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - CHAMPION BUMPER 2021

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