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Cheltenham Festival News
Monday 15th February 2016
Will it be “Ruby Tuesday” at the Cheltenham Festival again this year?

In 2015, punters were overjoyed as Ruby Walsh rode a treble on the opening day of Cheltenham to cripple the bookmakers for an estimated £10 million pay-out. It could have been much worse had Annie Power not made a mistake at the final fence in the Mares’ Hurdle but the Walsh/Mullins combination still enjoyed an incredibly successful festival.

Ruby Walsh
© Racehorse Photos

Ruby Walsh
This year, the same duo could strike again. The likes of Faugheen, Douvan, Annie Power and Min are all expected to run on the opening day in 2016 and “Ruby Tuesday” could be a foregone conclusion bar any major blunders. Let’s be honest, Walsh probably still has nightmares over Annie Power’s fall at the last fence last year.

At the time of writing, Min is the only Mullins/Walsh horse in this opening day quartet that is above EVENS and Coral are currently pricing him at 5/4 to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle in his maiden Cheltenham appearance. It won’t be easy but the French thoroughbred has all the attributes of a top, Grade One horse and he could romp home.

Next up is Douvan and the Arkle. Once again, this isn’t a certainty as Vaniteux poses a serious threat, as does L’Ami Serge. Based purely on Douvan’s unbeaten record, he should be strong enough to win for a second consecutive year at the festival. He was supreme when winning at Leopardstown last month but stranger things have happened. It certainly won’t be a walkover.

One of the highlights of Tuesday will be the Champion Hurdle. The Faugheen-Arctic Fire-Nichols Canyon three-way fight for supremacy in this race will be interesting but it’s hard to look past the Mullins/Walsh combination on Faugheen. Yes, Nichols Canyon beat him at Punchestown in November but when it matters most, Faugheen steps up. He produced a dominant performance in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him romp to victory at Cheltenham.

Finally, Walsh will ride either Annie Power or Vroom Vroom Mag in the Mares’ Hurdle. Either way, this should be relatively straightforward for Walsh – especially if Mullins opts to enter Annie Power in the World Hurdle and he rides Vroom Vroom Mag. At Coral this year, you can get ‘Non-runner, no bet’ odds and it may well be worth taking those on Annie Power as there’s a 50-50 chance she won’t be involved in this race. If she is, Walsh will ride her to victory. If not, Walsh will ride Vroom Vroom Mag to victory.

One thing’s for sure: the Cheltenham Festival is sure to be incredibly exciting and Walsh/Mullins backers will be waiting patiently for what could be a potential massive pay-day if “Ruby Tuesday” strikes again for the second year running.

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