Tony Keenan’s Cheltenham Day One tips
Spectacular form ensures Apple’s Jade is difficult to oppose
Keith Donoghue riding Apple’s Jade leads the Gordon Elliott string at Cheltenham on Monday. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Cheltenham 2019 – Tuesday
Cheltenham 2:10 – Us And Them (each-way)
Le Richebourg was a short price for the Arkle before being ruled out last month so it is a shade surprising to see the horse that chased him home in a pair of Leopardstown Grade Ones among the outsiders. The tongue-tie was applied for both of those runs and has brought improvement while this assured jumper seems tractable enough to avoid getting into a pace battle in a field with a number of possible front-runners.
Cheltenham 2:50 – Up For Review (each-way)
Willie Mullins has never won a handicap chase at the Festival but Up For Review may change that having been allowed by the UK handicapper to race off his Irish mark in the Ultima. An eye-catcher when third in the Thyestes at Gowran coming from off the pace despite racing wide, he is unexposed at staying trips over fences and is one of a strong crop of second-season chasers that includes Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy.
Cheltenham 3:30 – Apple’s Jade
In the midst of a season for the ages that has already brought three Grade Ones over three different trips by an aggregate of 62 lengths, Apple’s Jade is hard to oppose, possible concerns about the track and tactics less important than her current form. Her main rival Buveur D’Air has comparable ability but one has to go back to his first Champion Hurdle win in 2017 to find it and he faces a difficult task in conceding seven pounds to the mare.
Tony Keenan writes about Irish racing for AtTheRaces.com and Geegeez.co.uk.