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Champion Bumper Tips - 5:30pm Cheltenham

The Champion Bumper is open to horses aged four to six years of age and is run over a slightly extended two miles. It is the most prestigious bumper in the National Hunt calendar as it tends to set the standard for what is required in order to progress in Grade One events over both hurdles and fences later in a horses’ career. The likes of Envoi Allen, Champagne Fever and of course Cue Card have all won this race in the past so it sets a good benchmark.

Looking at statistics for the race it is not a race for the faint hearted if you like to back favourites. Only two of the last ten have won (Envoi Allen and Moon Racer). It is a race that the Irish have dominated in recent years with either Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott training the winner of the race for the last four seasons. Whilst Mullins has an excellent record in the race, it is quite often a stable second string that takes the prize over a better fancied favourite (Ferny Hollow, Relegate, Briar Hill and Champagne Fever are all recent examples). The only four-year-old to win this race since the turn of the millennium has been Cue Card.

Kilcruit looks to set the standard based on two strong performances that he delivered at Navan and Leopardstown earlier in the year. He cruised away on his most recent run at the Dublin Racing Festival to score a decisive twelve length win over Letsbeclearaboutit and stablemate Whatdeawant. It was hard not to be impressed with the performance but his short odds look nothing in the way of value here.

Sir Gerhard looks a mighty proposition on what he showed at Down Royal on his first race under rules. He slammed The Banger Doyle by fourteen lengths before delivering a more workmanlike performance subsequently when also beating Letsbeclearaboutit at Navan in December. He will almost certainly improve for the switch to some better ground and his owners Cheveley Park Stud have won the two most recent renewals of this race. He looks a perfect candidate to give them a third winner in a row.

Gerri Colombe won a bumper by twenty-four lengths at Fairyhouse on his sole start for Gordon Elliott this season. That came on heavy ground so he would be better suited by underfoot conditions. If conditions were to deteriorate he would be a benefactor.

Hollow Games is two from two since joining Gordon Elliott but asides and swept asides Eurotiep with the minimum of fuss when they met at Leopardstown just after Christmas. The runner-up has subsequently won a maiden hurdle by nineteen lengths so the form looks stronger that it did initially. If turning up here he too would be sure to run a good race.

Letsbeclearaboutit sets a fair standard based on what we have seen so far but he has been beaten too readily to think he can improve past both Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit. He is a smart looking prospect for obstacles in time but he looks exposed now in this sphere.

Grangee won by the skin of his teeth at Leopardstown during the Dublin Racing Festival when getting the better of Party Central. He would need to step up again and that is not impossible given the record of the yard in this race.

Given that Cheveley Park are now beginning to make a name for themselves in top class national hunt racing, it is hard to get away from Sir Gerhard. He is likely to be ridden by Jamie Codd and he has partnered Gordon Elliott’s last two winners of this race.

Punters Lounge Tip: Sir Gerhard @ 3/1 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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