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Criq Ready To Rock For King In Wide Open Champion Bumper

Wednesday 24th February 2016

A real ante-post minefield for punters, the Champion Bumper market is sure to take shape over the coming weeks, and with the bookmakers going 10/1 field for the final race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival it shows what a tough race it is to assess, but we look to find a value selection in our big-race preview of the Flat event.

Progressive Ballyandy A Prominent Figure For Twiston-Davies

Two of the key trials for the Champion Bumper are the race at Cheltenham's November meeting and the valuable prize on Newbury's Betfair Hurdle day, and Nigel Twiston-Davies's Ballyandy has won both of those, so it's no surprise to see him installed as the 10/1 joint-favourite with Ladbrokes for the finale on March 16.

Between those two wins the five-year-old suffered a defeat to Sue Gardner's Coeur Blimey (14/1) at Ascot, but that rival may not take his chance in the Champion Bumper if the ground was to prove too quick, so it's hard to get too excited about Gardner's charge in this wide open market, so Ballyandy will be a leading contender for the home brigade.

His authoritative nine-length win at Newbury earlier this month was impressive, and he looks to be a horse on an upward curve, so it's hard to feel that he will not run a solid race around the undulations of Prestbury Park, and warrants his position at the head of the market.

Dominant Irish Aim To Win Back Coveted Crown

Trend lovers will know that Irish trainers have an excellent record in the Champion Bumper with three-quarters of the winners coming from across the Irish Sea, but Moon Racer's victory 12 months ago left the Emerald Isle trainers in the minor places, however, this term they seem to have a strong challenge lined up.

Willie Mullins, who will fly the flag for the Irish, is sure to have an embarrassment of riches going into battle and will try to win his ninth Champion Bumper crown and news breaking a few days ago that Augusta Kate could head to GL50 saw her slashed to a best-priced 10/1 with Betfred.

The daughter of Yeats was a fine Listed winner at Navan in November and showed she has a blistering turn of foot, but in the last couple of days the money has come in for Castello Sforza, who has been purchased by JP McManus and will aim to hand Mullins his first win in the race since 2013 when Briar Hill bagged the prize.

Still available at 14/1 with bet365, Castello Sforza has not been seen since April, so the statistic that shows eight of the last 13 winners had raced at least three times before the Cheltenham Festival does not aid her chances, and the value may have all gone earlier in the week.

Aidan O'Brien could look to propel back into the National Hunt limelight and the Ballydoyle supremo could unleash Aspen Colorado, who won at Leopardstown in January, and is worth a second look at 12/1 with William Hill, while the likes of Very Much So and Village Mystic, both 16/1, could be another sparkling Irish duo that take their chance, and may battle out the finish.

Exciting Criq Can Rock His Rivals And Run Huge Race

Alan King's main Cheltenham Festival hope will come in the shape of Yanworth, who is a red-hot jolly for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle, but while the Barbury Castle handler could well kick off day two on a winning note, he could have a raider lurking in the Champion Bumper, which could see him bookend the card.

Criq Rock is still available at a tasty 25/1 with BetVictor Bookmakers, and the five-year-old who has caught the eye with wins at Bangor-on-Dee and Ascot could well be the value play in this wide open renewal, and at the lofty prices is worth a speculative flutter.

He travelled smoothly through his recent Ascot win before just outbattling Harry Fry's Bags Groove (33/1), and with that form being franked with Fry's charge winning well at Huntingdon next time out, then Criq Rock could ruffle a few of the big gun's feathers in the Bumper and at this stage he is a cracking ante-post bet for what will is still a pretty volatile market.

Selection - Criq Rock to win Champion Bumper @ 25/1 with BetVictor.com

*Price correct at time of writing

2016 Champion Bumper Betting

Malone Road 14/1
Mt Leinster 12/1
Fury Road 20/1
Royal Rendezvous 20/1
Column Of Fire 25/1
El Barra 25/1
Abacadabras Ms Lisa O'Neill / G Elliott 25/1
Silver Forever 25/1
Commander Of Fleet 25/1
Gypsy Island 33/1
Asterion Forlonge 33/1
Midnight Run 33/1
Sending Love 33/1
Ontheropes 33/1
Tegerek 33/1
Andy Dufresne 33/1
Tara West 33/1
Yukon Lil 33/1
Rebel Og 33/1
Strong Glance 33/1
Chapmanshype 33/1
Energumene 33/1
Envoi Allen Mr J J Codd / G Elliott 33/1
Mcfabulous 40/1
Golden Spread 40/1
Golazo 40/1
Aggressive 50/1
Breaking Waves 50/1
Master Debonair R M Power / C L Tizzard 50/1
Robyndzone 50/1
Alright Sunshine 66/1
Ask Neilus 66/1
Each Way Terms 3

7. Abacadabras Ms Lisa O'Neill / G Elliott
23. Envoi Allen Mr J J Codd / G Elliott
29. Master Debonair R M Power / C L Tizzard
Odds correct as of 10th Apr, 16:01 . Odds are subject to change.
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