Sean Bowen Blog | Cheltenham Day Three

13 Mar 2024
Coral Racing Ambassador, Sean Bowen, previews his only ride on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, Fugitif, in the Ryanair Chase, as well as his thoughts on today's feature race, the Stayers' Hurdle.

The opening day at Cheltenham was a frustrating one from a personal point of view, and I’d say the ground conditions played a good part in that. Found On was sadly a non-runner on that heavy ground in the Ultima, but I’m sure there’ll be another day for him on some better ground. I was quite confident Not So Sleepy would put up a bold showing in the Champion Hurdle, but he was just never travelling or jumping which was very frustrating as he looked so well in himself, but it just wasn’t meant to be on the day.

 

As I thought might be the case, the ground was just too testing for Roaring Legend in the Boodles too, but he’s still a horse who retains plenty of ability, and although we might not see him again this season, I’d say he’ll be one to keep an eye on next season as he’ll still retain that novice status having not yet won over hurdles.

 

I just have the one ride on Thursday at Cheltenham, but I think he goes there with a decent chance in what is a very open looking race.

 

14:50 Ryanair Chase  Fugitif

 

I’ve spoken a lot about this horse this week, but I think his Cheltenham record is there for all to see, and if he ran right up to his very best, then he’d certainly go there with some sort of a chance. His mark of 157 does leave him with something to find with the principals, but the ground will be fine, and the pace of the race could just suit him.

 

You’d imagine Harry [Cobden] will want to make the running on Stage Star, but Conflated and Banbridge are both strong stayers, so you’d imagine they’d be right up there too. I’d have said Banbridge was the one we’d all have to beat, but you’d just have to feel the conditions have gone against him now with most of his best form coming on top of the ground.

 

Envoi Allen has a wonderful record at the festival, so he might be the one we’ll have to beat on this ground, but I do think Fugitif is capable of running a big race if things fall right for him.

 

Stayers Hurdle Preview

 

Sadly, I don’t have a ride in the feature race the Stayers Hurdle, but it looks really competitive, and I am looking forward to watching it. Noble Yeats is obviously a horse I know well as I’ve ridden him on plenty of occasions, and he’s a really strong stayer so I’m sure he’ll be finishing well, but he will have to improve on the bare form of that win last time as he was getting weight from Paisley Park that day and only just managed to beat him.

 

I suppose you could argue the form of Crambo’s win over Paisley Park at Ascot is stronger form as he was running off level weights there, and he looks a progressive young stayer for Fergal O’Brien. Teahupoo probably brings some of the best recent form to the table, but he does look very short in the betting, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was something in there to beat him.

Sean Bowen, Coral Racing Ambassador

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