Wetherbys Champion Bumper | Cheltenham 2013
Ruby got to look Paddy in the eye after Hurricane Fly’s Champion Hurdle win yesterday and a few of the higher-ups at Power Tower will be doing the same over the coming days – and not in a good way.
Willie Mullins has three runners today in the bumper with Briar Hill (R Walsh), Sizing Tennesse (A Lynch) and Union Dues – to be ridden by his son Patrick.
Champagne Fever won the bumper at 16/1 under Patrick last year and the amateur has already struck in the first today with Back in Focus (9/4f).
His dad has provided seven of the Ireland’s 15 winners in 20 runnings – so do the math on a race where Paddy’s going 1/4 the odds the first four places.
Irish trainers have a 75 per cent strike rate winning it 15 times (meeting abandoned in 2001) with England having just five winners that included recent back-to-back successes with Cue Card (2010) and Cheltenian (2011).
Winning form is a must with 18 of the last 20 winners having a ‘1’ beside their name going into the 2m contest while 14 of the last 20 winners started in the first six in the betting – including six second favourites.
Le Vent D’Antan landed a big gamble when hosing up on his debut at Leopardstown and looks a leading player but four-year-olds have only won three times in 20 years against their older rivals.
Paddy forked out £2.2m (€2.5m) on his Money Back All Losers special when Ruby and Hurricane Fly won the Champion Hurdle yesterday as part of a 26/1 treble.
And here’s what Paddy’s nemesis Ruby Walsh has to say about the Bumper: