Henry De Bromhead Cheltenham Stable Tour 2020

Honeysuckle

Henry De Bromhead Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2020

It’s been a slow and steady rise to the top table of jumps racing for Henry De Bromhead, but heading into the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, he can be regarded as one of the leading operators in the sport.

Recent years have seen him reach new heights as illustrated by last season which saw him smash his previous number of winners and prize money, saddling 104 winners over jumps across the UK and Ireland.

He’s well on his way to beating that again and with names such as A Plus Tard, Honeysuckle and Minella Indo, he’s set for a very exciting four days at Cheltenham.

Luke Parkinson has taken a look at his squad and previewed their chances ahead of the big meeting.

A Plus Tard

 6-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 121-321

Verdict: Arguably was the most impressive winner at the Festival last year when he charged up the hill to win the Close Brothers by a staggering 16 lengths.

That has been followed up this season, albeit over a shorter trip by finishing second on reappearance at Navan and then beating Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Back over further, he looks to have a fantastic chance in the Ryanair.

Aspire Tower

 4-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 11F

Verdict: Displayed a decent level of form on the flat for Steve Gollings but has turned that up a notch since joining Henry De Bromhead.

He’s two from three over hurdles, including victory in a Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, but fell at the last when going well at the same track most recently.

He clearly has ability and won’t be too far away in the Triumph.

Captain Guinness

 5-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 12

Verdict: Lightly raced with only two starts for Henry De Bromhead but got off the mark at the first time of asking when winning a maiden hurdle at Navan by seven lengths.

He then showed some class to finish a close second to Andy Dufresne in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer at Punchestown in January.

He did take a strong hold that day, so the plan is to try ear plugs in the Supreme.

Time will tell if that can make the difference.

Chris’s Dream

 8-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 215-P11

Verdict: Was down the field in the Albert Bartlett in 2018, but always looked a chaser in the making and has started to add some proof to that theory.

Two wins this season have come in good style, especially when beating Shattered Love in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park in February.

He kept on well for pressure that day and soft ground would certainly aid his chances in the Gold Cup, although it would be a surprise to see him win it.

Honeysuckle

 6-y-o; bay mare

 Form: 111-111

Verdict: It’s fairly simple. Honeysuckle has done everything right in her career so far and heads to Cheltenham looking to make it eight races unbeaten under rules.

She showed plenty of potential last season but has taken that to a new level winning the Hatton’s Grace and the Irish Champion Hurdle, leaving many punters dreaming of a run in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

However, connections have confirmed that she’ll go for the Mares Hurdle, where she’ll bang into Benie Des Dieux in what is sure to be a brilliant race to watch.

Minella Indo

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 321-121

Verdict: A fantastic horse that has been placed in all seven starts under rules, including two Grade One victories in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

He’s only been seen twice this season, finishing second to Laurina over 2m4f at Gowran Park and then winning at Navan over three miles.

His form suggests that he gets better as the season goes on and he certainly has the look of a RSA winner that could be a big player in the Gold Cup next season.

Minella Melody

 6-y-o; bay mare

 Form: 12-3111

Verdict: Placed in the Mares bumpers at Aintree and Punchestown last season but has really come to life over hurdles. She is three from three so far, with her best effort when winning the Grade Three Mares Hurdle at Fairyhouse in January.

From what we have seen, she is by far the pick of this division and it’s a surprise to see that she isn’t shorter than what she is for the Mares Novices’ Hurdle.

Monalee

 9-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 214-P32

Verdict: Has run with great credit in three races at the Festival, finishing second in the 2017 Albert Bartlett, second in the 2018 RSA Chase and fourth in the Ryanair last year.

Ever since that run Henry De Bromhead has been targeting him at the Gold Cup and two runs this season have done little to take him out of the picture.

He was only beaten a head by Delta Work in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last time and he might be something of a forgotten horse.

Notebook

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 0-21111

Verdict: Ran as expected when a 50/1 shot in the Ballymore at Cheltenham last season but has taken his form to a new level over fences to emerge as one of the top two-mile novice chasers in the business.

He has won all of his four races this season, including back-to-back Grade One’s at Leopardstown, leaving Fakir D’oudairies behind him on both occasions.

That sets the standard is this division and he’ll take all the beating in the Arkle.

Petit Mouchoir

 9-y-o; grey gelding

 Form: 4-44223

Verdict: A Festival regular, the loveable grey has run with great credit this season and goes to Cheltenham with every chance of being competitive in the Champion Hurdle.

He has been placed in all the key Irish trials, coming second to Saldier and Sharjah and was only beaten by a length when third to Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time.

People will try and crab the form, but on what we’ve seen in this division, you can’t rule him out being in the first three.

Plan Of Attack

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 20-2113

Verdict: He’s spent most of his career running on good ground, but has proved to be versatile this season winning on soft at Aintree in October and then finishing third in similar conditions at Leopardstown in December.

He’s a confirmed runner in the Kim Muir with Barry O’Neill set to take the ride.

That is a partnership worth following, considering they are three from four together, and you’d expect another big run.

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