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Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Billy Blakeman ValueChecker

Ruby Walsh for More Cheltenham Glory Aboard So Young
16/03/11

The Neptune Investments Novices Hurdle features a strong Irish Challenge, with Willie Mullins deciding on this option for So Young and given the yard’s double achievement yesterday, it is easy enough to side with the market favourite.

Rock On Ruby
© Grossick Racing Photography

Rock On Ruby

Oscar’s Well represents Jessica Harrington and given that he has more experience and has shown the better form over So Young, he also rates a likely contender. Beat Zaidpour 5 ½ lengths last time without coming off the bridle and that was a breathtaking performance. The question, and this can also be levelled at So Young, is how this much quicker ground will affect things. With soft / heavy ground being prevalent in Ireland, Oscar’s Well has been seen sluicing through the mud but he did struggle on his only race on decent ground.

Third in the market is another from the Emerald Isle, First Lieutenant but I wasn’t particularly taken with his win over Zaidpour at the end of last year and he doesn’t look to possess the class of the two already mentioned.

Of the English contingent, then maybe Emma Lavelle’s Highland Valley is a big price at 50/1. Described by his trainer as ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’ and I am not sure how that will effect his running but he does have some scope and a good run wouldn’t surprise.

On Balance though, even though he has flushed away my bet on Barry Geraghty already, I am siding with Ruby Walsh to ride another festival winner this week for Willie Mullins aboard So Young.

Recommendation: So Young

 

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