Denise Foster Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2021

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Denise Foster Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2021

Denise Foster takes over the reigns from Gordon Elliott for the Cheltenham festival and we have gone through her best chances across the week.

Abacadabras

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 12-2152

Verdict: Ran a cracker to only just be edged out in the Supreme by Shishkin last season, but rather than go over fences, he has gone down the Champion Hurdle route so far this season. Defeat on his seasonal debut at Down Royal, was backed up with a Grade One victory in the Morgiana Hurdle on heavy going at Punchestown. Since then, he’s been beaten twice at the top level, but was the closest opponent to Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time and that would give him a squeak of a place at Cheltenham.

Andy Dufresne

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 213-113

Verdict: He’s always been held in high regard by connections, and although he was decent last season, he seems to have improved for going over fences. Victory at Wexford in October, was followed up by a Grade Three success in a small field event at Navan. Since then, he’s been a distant third to Monkfish in the Flogas Novice Chase over 2m5½f at Leopardstown, and that might means he heads for the Marsh rather than the old RSA.

Battleoverdoyen

8-y-o bay gelding

Form: 1F4-146

Verdict: Another of the Elliott string that has always been well thought of, but for the majority of the time, he’s proved to be a little frustrating. He was left way behind when 4th in the RSA Chase last season, so connections have dropped him back in trip this term. That worked a treat when he won a Grade Two over 2m3f at Down Royal in October, but he’s failed to flatter in two Grade One’s since then. The Ryanair is probably his most likely destination, if he makes the trip.

Delta Work

8-y-o brown gelding

Form: 115-5U3

Verdict: He dominated the top Irish staying chases last season by winning the Savills and the Irish Gold Cup, before finishing 5th in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but has failed to really build on that this term. He unseated in the Savills this time and then just grabbed 3rd in the Irish Gold Cup. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is where he’ll head next, but in terms of winning it, that looks unlikely.

Fury Road

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 1143-14

Verdict: He’s been kept to hurdling this season and could be one for the Stayers Hurdle given he was a very close third to Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett last season. He has since won a Grade Two in November, before being slightly disappointing in the Christmas Hurdle. However, a few of the Elliott runners ran below form that week, so you can put a line through that run and expect him to bounce back at Cheltenham.

Galvin

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 22-1111

Verdict: An impressive individual who has now won his last four races on the bounce, and could be the earliest plot job of the Festival. He won a Grade Three novice event at Tipperary in October, and has then been put away with Elliott confirming he’ll go straight for the National Hunt Chase, of which he has been the ante-post favourite all season.

Grand Roi

5-y-o bay gelding

Form: 411-312

Verdict: Still something of a baby in National Hunt terms, Grand Roi has certainly been mixing it with the best after moving from Nicky Henderson to Gordon Elliott’s for £40,000 last year. He reportedly does nothing a home, but won a Grade Two fairly stylishly at Christmas, and could be one for something like the County Hurdle.

Hollow Games

5-y-o bay gelding

Form: 11

Verdict: A winning point-to-pointer, Hollow Games has done nothing wrong under rules winning both of his starts at Punchestown and then Leopardstown. He’s a horse that likes plenty of cut in the ground, so he could become a player in the Champion Bumper if conditions are to suit.

Queens Brook

6-y-o bay mare

Form: 13-123

Verdict: Third in last season’s Champion Bumper, she made a winning start to life over hurdles in October and has shown decent form since then. Narrowly denied in a Grade Three at Down Royal, she was then a 15¾ length 3rd to Concertista at Fairyhouse in November. That would put slightly behind the leading players in this division, but still a contender for the Mares Novices Hurdle.

Samcro

9-y-o chestnut gelding

Form: 1F21-3P

Verdict: His victory in the Marsh Chase last season was arguably the race of the Festival and certainly cemented his place in Cheltenham history forever more. However, he’s not really looked the same horse in two appearances so far this season, and although the Ryanair is his likely target, it’s hard to imagine him winning that on what we’ve seen so far this term.

Sire Du Berlais

9-y-o bay gelding

Form: 4941-13

Verdict: A winner of the last two running’s of the Pertemps Network Final, he’s certainly got course form when it comes to the Cheltenham Festival. It’s likely that his handicap mark will put him into Graded company this year, but he’s been far from disgraced at that level so far this season with a G2 win and a G1 third. He’ll be thereabouts in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

The Bosses Oscar

6-y-o bay gelding

Form: 125-122

Verdict: An unlucky loser when finishing 5th in the Martin Pipe last season, he went in to many people’s notebooks and has been consistent again this season. A win at Thurles in October, has been followed up by two second-place efforts at Navan and then Leopardstown. He’ll be a player in whatever handicap he turns up in.

Tiger Roll

11-y-o bay gelding

Form: 111/52-P

Verdict: A jumps racing legend after four Festival victories and two Grand National’s, there’s every chance that this could be the last time we see Tiger Roll at Cheltenham. He was well beaten by Easysland in the Cross Country last year, and hasn’t really showed his old sparkle in two runs since then. You write him off at your peril, but as much as we love him, it’s hard to see him returning back to winning ways this March.

Escaria Ten

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 110-512

Verdict: Owned by the McNeill family, he's already enjoyed a few trips across the Irish Sea, winning at Ayr and then finishing down the field in last season's Martin Pipe. However, he's improved a little for going over fences this season and was fifth behind Monkfish on his seasonal reappearance at Fairyhouse. He's stepped up to staying distances since then and won over 3m1f at Thurles, before finishing second in a Grade Three over this same distance at Naas. With that in mind, he's likely to go for the Kim Muir or the National Hunt Chase depending on how his handicap mark is assessed in the UK. 

Fakiera

6-y-o, bay gelding

Form: 22-1244

Verdict: Always held in high regard by Gordon Elliott, this 6-y-o has certainly caught a few eyes this season. He won a Grade Three in November, before being placed in a Grade Two and then finishing a seven-length fourth behind Gaillard Du Mesnil at the DRF. He's stepped up in trip for each of those last three races, with his most recent performance making him a stand out contender for the Albert Bartlett. 

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