Cue Card may have momentarily halted the Irish dominance of the Champion Bumper last year, but normal business is expected to be resumed at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, with Raise The Beat one of the leading contenders.
Raise The Beat is 16/1 in the Cheltenham betting for the Champion Bumper and is still very lightly raced for a six-year-old, stepping onto the racetrack on just three occasions.
Colm Murphy’s horse disappointed on his debut in 2009, but has been successful in both starts since, including when triumphant at Naas on his latest run at Naas in October.
The horse’s dislike of the winter ground is the chief reason that he has been left in his stable since and Raise The Beat has shown an ability before to produce a good performance when fresh, so his five-month hiatus should not be seen as too much of a negative.
Furthermore, Raise The Beat will also be suited to the likely fast pace that will be set at Cheltenham, as he is often held up and then produced with a late run.
Ireland have won 14 of the 17 runnings of the Champion Bumper and Willie Mullins has been responsible for six of these victories.
Mullins also held one of the ante-post favourites in this year’s renewal with Samain, but the decision has now been made to pull the horse out.
Samain had set pulses running with a sparkling victory at Naas, but it is believed that owner Michael O’Leary had concerns about his participation at Cheltenham.
However, Mullins does still have seven entries in the Champion Bumper, with Lord Gale and Allure Of Illusion potentially being his best chances.
Lord Gale is 16/1 in the Champion Bumper betting, while Allure of Illusion is the third favourite at 10/1.
A £25 stake on Raise The Beat winning the Champion Bumper would return £200. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.