2021 Champion Bumper Betting Tips – Kilcruit Has Class for Cheltenham Festival Flat Race

Cheltenham Festival Betting Tips · Wednesday, 17th Mar 2021 - 16:50

Mullins has Champion Bumper to lose

Irish trainer Willie Mullins has saddled 10 previous winners of the 2m Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, so Klicruit can add to his tally on Ladies Day this Wednesday (16:50). After chasing home Captain Kangaroo in his racecourse debut, this six-year-old son of Stowaway has improved massively.

Kilcruit bolted up by 9 1/2 lengths on reappearance at Navan in December. The impression he gave that day was one of huge promise. This gelding confirmed all his potential and more in the Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival in February.

After travelling strongly in midfield, Kilcruit cruised easily into contention. He then ran on effortlessly, leaving a smart field of rivals trailing in his wake. Kilcruit was a dozen lengths clear at the line, so those re-opposing in-behind have a lot of work to do.

This display marked him out as something very special. The only shame about the Champion Bumper is that amateur jockey and trainer’s son Patrick Mullins cannot ride Kilcruit. A repeat of his Leopardstown romp wins this hands down, however, and odds of 2/1 with Betfred reflect that.

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Sir Gerhard respected but opposed

The main dangers to Kilcruit may come from inside his own stable. New yard recruit Sir Gerhard is the obvious one, but his change of scene on the eve of Cheltenham isn’t what you’d call ideal. When in the care of Gordon Elliott, this Irish point winner landed both subsequent bumper starts in style.

Sir Gerhard’s owners, Cheveley Park Stud, have made plenty of investments in Irish National Hunt horse racing in recent years. See A Plus Tard, Envoi Allen and Minella Indo for other examples. In Sir Gerhard, they have asix-year-old Jeremy gelding who bolted up by 14 lengths at Down Royal on his Rules debut.

He followed-up on that with a display of speed and stamina at Listed level around Navan. Letsbeclearaboutit, beaten 4 1/2 lengths in second, filled the same spot behind Kilcruit at Leopardstown. Using that one as a form marker, Sir Gerhard needs more to serve it up to his new stable companion.

Moving yards puts him at a disadvantage, but he has tons of ability. Sir Gerhard clearly has more up his sleeve than the bare form suggests. It would be no surprise if he belied an 89-day absence from the track and took this at 2/1 with Unibet, but Kilcruit sets the standard.

Grangee and Cool Jet could go well

Of the remainder, I am keen to oppose the inexperienced Three Stripe Life. Coming to Cheltenham off the back of just one run is a huge ask. More Mullins mounts enter each-way calculations instead, with Grangee showing improvement since her Market Rasen defeat on UK debut.

There was no disgrace in her losing to Eileendover, who looks to have a huge future on the Flat. The benefit of that experience clearly stood Grangee in good stead, as she then came out and won the Grade 2 mares bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival. She found plenty for pressure and scored by a neck.

This wasn’t so visually impressive as Kilcruit, but Grangee could still go well at a big price. The same applies to Cool Jet, who has even longer odds for the Champion Bumper here. Although beaten on his debut at Leopardstown, this five-year-old son of Jet Away got it right at Thurles.

He kept on really strongly inside the final furlong for a five-length success. Cool Jet is open to any amount of further progress, so could outrun his odds of 33/1 with Boylesports and into the frame if one or two of the market principals don’t deliver.

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