On the day when marathon runners slog it out in the World Hurdle, stamina will also be at a premium in the stands. For the first time on a British jumping track 10 races will be staged, five of them championship affairs at the highest level. After yesterday's enforced famine it will be a banquet of talent to satisfy even the most voracious of appetites but, with the first set of tapes going up at 12.30 and the last horse passing the post as dusk falls, only Mr Creosote and friends need apply. It is to be hoped the Bumper does not prove to be that fateful waffair thin mint.
The newest of the meeting's Grade One contests is the Ryanair Chase. Its distance provides an opportunity for those without the speed for the two-mile Champion Chase or the stamina for the three-and-a-quarter-mile Gold Cup and its upgraded status a refuge for several unwilling to take on Kauto Star and Denman tomorrow.
Our Vic and Racing Demon have been put in their places by the former, and Mossbank and The Listener by the latter. Mossbank is from an Irish yard that consistently unearths a high-class standardbearer – like Dorans Pride and Beef Or Salmon – and Our Vic has make-or-break blinkers applied after four seconds in his last five races, including this contest last year. But both may have to give best to Kauto Star's stablemate Turko (2.55). The six-year-old may look like a rocking horse with his striking dapple-grey coat but by no means goes up and down on the spot and should appreciate ground livelier than that he encountered in Ireland last time.
One of this meeting's eternal conundrums is not which horse will win the bumper, but which Irish horse, and more specifically which of Willie Mullins' horses. The raiders have taken 11 of the 15 runnings, and the master of Closutton is going for his sixth victory. Mullins runs four this time, but may have to be content with a place, for Zaarito (5.50), three from three, has looked the real deal and was particularly impressive last time when powering away on Naas's uphill finish to win by eight lengths. His trainer, Colm Murphy, knows how to win at the Festival, having sent out Brave Inca to take a Champion Hurdle.
The Jewson Novices' Chase, another of the contests invented to fill the four-day Festival, features a number of upwardly mobile types running off their highest marks. Dear Villez (1.40), near the top of the ratings, was impressive enough at Newbury last time to keep onside. The equivalent contest for more experienced handicappers can go to one of the least exposed in the field, BIBLE LORD (nap 4.05), who was out of his depth behind Denman in the Hennessy but ran much better than his ninth place suggested.
Of the Grade One races transferred from yesterday, the progressive, versatile Tamarinbleu (2.20) can take the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Silverburn (1.05) can follow in the hoofprints of his brother Denman in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase.
Hyperion's TV Tips
1.05 The mud-loving mare POMME TIEPY is unlikely to have the really soft conditions she has been ploughing through when winning four in a row in Ireland, but can still prove too good for the home-trained crew. Trainer Willie Mullins describes her jumping as "fantastically slick".
1.40 DEAR VILLEZ has to concede weight to all but one rival but has the quality to do so, as well as the assistance of Ruby Walsh.
2.20 The Walsh-Nicholls partnership can strike again with the fast progressing MASTER MINDED.
2.55 Connections of MOSSBANK gave serious consideration to switching him to tomorrow's Gold Cup. But Monday's rain added to fears over his stamina for that longer trip.
3.30 François Doumen has plundered many a big prize on British tracks and is an ace at plotting up winners at this Festival. After hitting the frame with two runners here on Tuesday, his KASBAH BLISS can put a winner on the board for the Frenchman. Further rain would present an obstacle, however.
4.05 J P McManus, the owner and monster punter, confided to all and sundry before the Festival, that he believed Don't Push It was his best chance of a winner this year. After two victories on Tuesday, that could seem like a useful hint from someone who usually plays his cards close to his chest. But the odds for Tony McCoy's mount are now tight enough for a runner from a yard having such a spasmodic season. BIBLE LORD, in receipt of 13lb and hailing from a stable in sparkling form, looks a better bet at 7-1.Reuse content