Tips from Ruby Walsh Cheltenham: Weatherbys Champion Bumper preview

Ruby Walsh thinks Chosen Witness represents the value of Willie Mullins’ Weatherbys Champion Bumper team, but he doesn’t envy the coach’s son, Patrick, deciding which one to ride.

The former jockey was talking about the latest edition of the Cheltenham Countdown show on the Paddy Power Racing YouTube channel.

This Is For Me was the last youngster from Closutton to throw his hat into the ring when he won at Navan on Saturday, a performance that came as no surprise to the former jockey and now a key part of Mullins’ setup.

“He was working that way at home but I don’t know how strong a race it was. He was really, really impressive and Navan is always a good test for any young horse and he won with as much authority as you would have I was hoping he could and that’s a good stepping stone but he’s unlikely to appear again at the Dublin Racing Festival – not sure Willie would have want to race him later than that to get to Cheltenham.

“Maybe he will, but I would have thought he would go to Cheltenham after a win that can be had. Alexander Banquet went there after winning at Gowran Park, Cue Card full of horses so I don’t wouldn’t see that as a negative but it’s a tough race to master And even for me working at Willie I look at them and look at them you look at novice hurdles you might have a flat shape or a shape of bumpers to continue and you have an opinion or even a french form and you have an opinion on a lot of horses before they start whereas in the bumpers you see them once and they are much harder to weigh or gauge.”

Sun hat is another prominent player in ante-post betting despite being beaten in his only start under the rules to date at Fairyhouse.

“Obviously you’d rather he go and win, but look Better Days Ahead beat him, beat him to three and a quarter lengths. He looked goofy, but I believe a Ferny Hollow looked quite similar in the same race and ended up winning at Cheltenham.

“What Sun Hat will be and I’m not comparing it to Ferny Hollow – if I get out of Willie Mullins’ camp and you look at him and you think ‘I’m going to oppose him’, if I roll against him , I probably would You’re never 100% going home you don’t decide oh next tuesday morning we’re gonna have a race all the bumper horses at the bottom of the gallop and we’re gonna find out.

“You don’t and you can’t, obviously Willie has all-weather surfaces, so are you going to get a true reflection of what they’re going to do on grass anyway, no. So what- what It’s For Me was doing, he was doing more than enough to suggest he would win a bumper How good he is – you never know, you can’t know at home, gotta keep the dream alive and hope they surprise you on the track.”

So what about Anse Westportan impressive winner at Fairyhouse recently?

“Yes and did it wrong, was quite enthusiastic at the start of Fairyhouse, was actually very green at the start, but accelerated very well and won impressively. But I guess and that’s a bad comparison, but it’s It’s like when you’re comparing two-year-olds going to Royal Ascot, that’s what you’re talking about with bumper horses.

“You just don’t know about them and I would say if someone was really looking at you you say ‘wow maybe there’s a little more under the lid there’ but look Westport Cove was impressive at Fairyhouse.”

So what’s the bet at this point?

“For value I’ll go with Chosen Witness. He’s just value – he’s got double digit odds and I thought he won well at Limerick, Jody Townend rode him, he’s by Well Chosen, really should stick around and I thought it showed a lot of gears on an actual proving ground.

“He always seemed to me to be the winner in Limerick, so I think he’ll be better on slightly better ground and he’s just at a good price. He’s Willie, he won a bumper, he’s qualified, there’s a good chance he’ll go!”

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