VOX POP: What runners and riders will your money be on at the Festival?

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The Independent Online


Call Equiname was most impressive when winning the race I sponsor, the Victor Chandler Handicap Chase, at Ascot in January and I confidently expect him to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday. If he wins, he will cost me pounds 60,000 - that is the bonus I have offered for any horse who wins my race going on to win the Queen Mother - but Call Equiname is clearly a very talented animal with lots of class and I'll be more than happy to pay out if he does the business.



The one horse I really fancy at Cheltenham is Katarino in the Triumph Hurdle on Thursday. I've been through the form of all the Irish horses in the race and watched them on video and, to be honest, they simply don't jump very well. Katarino, however, has won over fences in France as a three-year-old and is a really good jumper. Whereas some of them are unproven on left-handed tracks, Katarino has already won at Cheltenham and he will have no problems with the uphill finish. He is a sound bet.



I think Teeton Mill is nailed on to win the Gold Cup. He must have been the biggest handicap certainty ever when he won the Hennessy so easily and I backed him for the Gold Cup at 20-1 immediately after that race. He was so impressive at Kempton in the King George and showed at Ascot what fantastic cruising speed he has. Some say Double Thriller - the main danger for me - has the edge on him but Teeton Mill looked a bit burly when beaten by him last year and can get his revenge.



Dorans Pride has a big chance in the Gold Cup. He was third in the race last year and has been running well this season. He jumps particularly well for Paul Carberry and is the horse everyone seems to have forgotten about. He was a very classy staying hurdler and may finally get the soft ground he needs this year. Some people seem to think his chance has come and gone but that's what they said about Silver Buck before he won it and Dorans Pride has shown enough this term to suggest he could still win the race.



Deano's Beeno should win the Stayers' Hurdle all right. I was very impressed with him at Haydock when he jumped really well and handled the testing conditions to win his race in style. He has lots of stamina and will take an awful lot of catching. Lady Rebecca has plenty of speed, but Deano's Beeno can make the race a ruthless stamina test and, if the ground comes up soft, the Cheltenham hill will want a lot of staying up and anything with suspect stamina will get found out.



There's no way I can tip anything other than a grey and, if any bookmaker has the guts to accommodate me, I want 20 sugar lumps to one each-way on Suny Bay to win the Gold Cup. Some say Suny Bay's not a Cheltenham horse, but then that's what they used to say about me until I won the race. Obviously, Suny Bay is nowhere near as good as I was, but he goes well when fresh. Teeton Mill, the other grey, is just a talking horse - there are more of those around than you'd think.