Three Irish Raiders To Watch Out For At The Cheltenham Festival

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FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES - GRADE 1 SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE 4/1

We start with the first race of the day on the Tuesday of the festival in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and in this Grade 1 contest we like the look of a really smart Irish raider from the Jospeh O'Brien yard.

Fakir D'oudairies has only had two starts this season and they have both come this year and in both his outings he remains unbeaten beating his opponents fairly easily on both occasions.

His first race of 2019 came at Cork and he really did make some headlines finishing first of the 22 runner maiden field, staying on really well in the run in to see off an interesting Willie Mullins new comer.

Next time out at Cheltenham he did very much the same coming up to the last two fences and leaving the field behind, travelling strongly up the hill to land the Grade 2 contest.

On that day he beat some really smart horses in a Nicky Henderson bright spark and another of O'Brien's sharp two mile hurdlers.

This horse needs to be taken seriously at the festival having a lot going in his favour and no being bought by J P McManus after these two exploits. If getting a clear run into the race and a solid position from the start he will be hard to catch.

There is a question from British punters on how strong the initial Irish form line is with this horse but when he gave his trainer his first win at Cheltenham he proved that day how good a horse he could be.

SIRE DU BERLAIS - PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE (GRADE 3) 6/1

The next Irish raider that might not be known to many but looks to have a really strong chance in the big fielded handicap on the Thursday, the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3).

The horse we like in this contest is the Gordon Elliott trained and J P McManus owned Sire Du Berlais and from his two handicap runs this season he does have to improve a smidge but has shown ability.

His seasonal reappearance came at Naas in a 13 runner handicap and he finished a weak eighth but that can be excused as a race to get fit again.

His next contest, again in Ireland came at Leopardstown when he stepped up to three miles and finished a much better sixth out of a 23 runner field.

This is a strong form line and another help is how well he ran last year at the festival in the Martin pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle.

He was backed in heavily that day and didn't finish to far away from the eventual winner which was his stablemate Blow By Blow. This year he has been backed in again an is now the firm ante-post favourite at 6/1 to land this contest.

EASY GAME - GRADE 1 BALLYMORE NOVICES HURDLE 25/1

The last of our three Irish raiders to follow for the Cheltenham festival comes from the Willie Mullins yard and even with a smaller team than usual he has some really strong runners as ever.

The horse that we like in the first race on the Wednesday that in the past few years has been dominated by the Irish is Easy Game at a big price of 25/1.

This outsider of the field has every chance with this man as his trainer but in his last two runs in Ireland, he as shown some credible form against some strong horse to tell us that he looks overpriced in this contest.

Back in November after two previous defeats where he finished second and third in small runner fields, he went to Navan over 2 miles 4 furlongs in the Monksfield Grade 3 Novices Hurdle.

This was one of the rides of the season by Ruby Walsh who got his horse up to win out of nowhere and show how much of a turn of foot this horse has, with stamina being an obvious quality.

Next time out at the same track over the same distance he went on to land the spoils again, but this time in a Grade 2 on slightly different ground showing his versatility.

He beat much better horses that day and truly put his name in the hat for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, but he also does carry an entry in the Albert Bartlett's but his trainer has stressed which one he prefers him for.

(Credit At The Races) Mullins said: "It looks like he’ll go for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. We freshened him up after his last season as he has been busy through the summer and he seems in good order now."

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