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Irish “Armada” coming for the Brits

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Two days in Ireland, two down in England, two more to go and then back to the Emerald Isle for three more.

Not the Royal State visit (though it feels like that at times given the great welcome we get) but the pre Cheltenham tour in search of racing’s equivalent of the Holy Grail- Festival winners.

So how, at the half way stage, is it going? Well..er…. I have three good things to report. The only problem is they are all in the same race!

And, of course, all the trainers believe they have great chances. In the last couple of days at Nicky Henderson’s and then at Paul Nicholls we have inspected the pick of the home defence against the formidable Irish Armada (and it will be worse if the rugby goes their way on Sunday believe you me!).

And only once in the course of the two days have I heard uttered the two words that will inspire a national to do a, as my Latin Master used to say, venividi vici on us poor Brits- ‘Willie Mullins’.

Next, the unveiling of the Handicap weights- just 1023 horses entered so I’ll get back to you with some thoughts around Christmas!

Seriously, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the 4-1 offered by the sponsors Betbright of Ireland winning more races at the Festival and taking home the Prestbury Cup as well as some many of Cheltenham’s cherished Trophies might be the bet of the week.

But before the week is out those inspirational characters Alan King (Scotland), Jonjo O’Neill (Ireland but playing for GB) and rising star Harry Fry (GB from top to toe) will have the chance to persuade me I am wrong.

But please let not their best hopes of the week also be in the same race.

Anyone got a Festival certainty for me?

 

By Mike Vince

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