Sean Bowen Cheltenham Preview: I think he goes there with a really solid chance
14:25 Cheltenham – The Wolf
I’ve never ridden The Wolf on the track before, but I did school him at Olly Murphy’s on Thursday, and I was really happy with him. I know the team seem to think he’s in really good form too, so I’m looking forward to finally riding him on the track.
He finished second in this race last year off a slightly higher mark, so he’s weighted to go well if he is back to his best, and he seemed in pretty good form at the end of last season, so I’m hoping he can go well in what is admittedly a very competitive race.
15:00 Cheltenham – Spike Jones
I’ve ridden him once before when we were second at Kelso on his final start last season, and although we just got touched off, I was extremely happy with him that day. This is his first run of the season, but he ran a good race last year on his seasonal reappearance, so I’m sure he’ll be fit enough to do himself justice.
The ground should be perfect for him too, but this is probably the most competitive race he’s ever ran in, so he will need to improve on the form he’s shown so far in this much hotter race. He isn’t fully exposed as a stayer though, and he has had wind-surgery during his break, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on.
15:35 Cheltenham – Butch
I know the team at Olly’s have always liked this horse, and he proved he’d summered well when beating a nice horse of Kim Bailey’s in impressive fashion on his reappearance at Southwell earlier this month. That was his first try at three miles, and he seemed to really improve for the stiffer test, so I’d be very hopeful he can step forward again over a similar trip.
He’ll lose his novice status in a couple of days, so this is his last go in a novice hurdle, but I think he’ll be a proper staying chaser in time, so I think he’s a really nice horse for the future. He does have to give weight away to some progressive young horses, but he’s one of the most experienced horses in the race, so I’m hoping he can put that experience to good use, and if he does then I think he goes there with a really solid chance.
16:45 Cheltenham – Ballyvango
I ride Ballyvango for Martin Keighley in the bumper, but he’s not a horse I know a lot about as he’s only had one run before, and Sam Twiston-Davies rode him that day. I’ve watched his run at Kempton back, and he seemed to run well in what looked a competitive bumper, so although this looks another competitive race, he should take a step forward for that run, and I’d be hopeful he goes there with an each way chance.
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Sean Bowen, Coral Racing Ambassador