Cheltenham: Moon Racer to shine above Mullins’ Bumper entourage

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It would be understandable if punters were prepared to put all of their eggs in the basket of Willie Mullins winning the Champion Bumper.

Not only was Mullins the star attraction on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival after saddling three winners, but he has a fine record in this particular race too.

He has saddled eight Bumper winners since 1996 and is responsible for over a third of the 20 entries this year. Interestingly, all of the Mullins septet feature in the top 11 in the betting and are priced no bigger than 20/1.

Bordini is regarded as the best of these, by the betting and because he is pick of Patrick Mullins, but it has to be a concern that his opening victory has failed to provide another winner.

Pylonthepressure may want further than 2m, Au Quart De Tour has supposedly not had the best preparation, Stone Hard arguably needs softer ground and Up For Review has previously been turned over at odds-on.

Ruby Walsh won this on Briar Hill at 25/1 for Mullins in 2013 and there is a chance that Bellshill is the best bet from the stable this time.

He was conceding 4lb when beaten by fellow Bumper runner Vigil last time, but is weighted here to reverse that one-length defeat and will have Walsh to call on for the first time.

Of the non-Mullins entrants, Vigil is another that won’t want it too quick and given that Arctic Fire placed in the Champion Hurdle, it is fair to say that the Cheltenham old course is riding on the faster side.

The improved results of the Henry de Bromhead yard of late is a big plus for Supasundae and he has sound each-way claims at 10/1.

However, if there is a superstar in the field, it looks to be Moon Racer. He can still be backed at 8/1.

Moon Racer was an unfancied 50/1 shot on debut and charged clear to win by seven lengths, with the third and fourth unbeaten since in four starts between them.

He was then bought by David Pipe and triumphed again, this time by 12 lengths.

Moon Racer has won on ground similar to what we can expect at Cheltenham and has been adaptable in terms of his racing position. Meanwhile, he has the big-field experience that many of his rivals don’t have.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.