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Cheltenham betting preview: Ruby open to Blackmail but Union Dues could be best in the bumper

by Sean Goff | March 13, 2013

Ruby Walsh Cheltenham 2013

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).

Champion Bumper

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:

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