6335/1 Cheltenham Festival Five Horse Lucky 31

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Lucky 31

LAURINA CHAMPION HURDLE

This Willie Mullins trained five year old is one of the stables hurdling superstars and after her performances on her debut season over those obstacles she has shown she is a force to be reckoned with.

Last season she raced four times starting in a maiden at Tramore where she bolted up and shaped like a real talent. From there The daughter of Spanish Moon went to Fairyhouse and after a single maiden bolted up in a Grade 3 and set her sites for the festival in March.

She went on to run on the Thursday in the Grade 2 Mares Novice Hurdle and was the easiest winner of the week with all Paul Townend needing to do was steer her to victory and she romped home by 18 lengths and was the easiest winner of the week and from there the cries were for her to head for the Champion Hurdle next season.

She finished her debut hurdling season with her first Group 1 of the season at Fairyhouse in another Mares Novice Hurdle contest showing in that division she was head and shoulders above the rest.

She is set to have her seasonal return at Ascot this Saturday in the Coral Hurdle and is odds on at 8/13. She is a horse that could be an unbelievable talent stepping up to black type conditions in her second season over the jumps and we fancy her to land the Champion Hurdle.

BENIE DES DIEUX MARES HURDLE

Next up is Benie Des Dieux that last year really came into her own and became an outstanding hurdler but this was not always the case for the mare as before she was bought by Rich Ricci and given to Willie Mullins to train she didn't have a great record.

Since joining the Mullins yard she is unbeaten and looks to be an outstanding horse. Her claim to fame last season that really turned heads was when she went on to win the OLBG Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival beating the favourite that day and top mare in her division Apples Jade.

She then went and beat her again at the Punchestown festival in the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle. She is now unbeaten in all her five runs for Willie Mullins and she is primed to be even better this season and one to watch out for.

With the Mares division there for the taking again and it being very unlikely she is going to step up in trip that much to head for the Stayers Hurdle we fancy her to take back to back Grade 1 contests at jumps racing HQ in the Mares Hurdle on the Tuesday.

TIGER ROLL CROSS COUNTRY CHASE

The Third horse in the Lucky 31 bet for the festival comes in the Cross Country Chase and there is no looking past last seasons staying superstar Tiger Roll trained by Gordon Elliott.

This Gigginstown owned eight year old last season really made a name for himself and wrote his name in the Grand National hall of fame by winning the 2018 renewal of the race.

Coming back this season there is still so much to like about this horse, being very much the same and his record at Cheltenham is always a positive, racing at the track eight times and winning four of them running at a 50 percent strike rate.

Last season as well as the Grand National, before that he won the renewal of the Cross Country being eased down to a near 10 length victory.

On this seasons reappearance he gave as good a performance as he could do for the obstacles he was up against. He came fourth in the Cross Country Trial at Cheltenham giving nearly two stone to some of the horses that finished ahead of him and his trainer Gordon Elliott said he wasn't as fit as he thought he was.

On the Wednesday at the festival they will be going off level weights and when fully fit it will be very hard to beat the eight year old and we are backing him to take this race again.

APPLE'S JADE STAYERS HURDLE

Apple's Jade again for the partnership of Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown made a superb seasonal return that has really opened our eyes as to what this superstar can achieve this season after being disappointing last season.

This six year old even though she started last season off in the same style that she has done for the past few winning Grade 1s and looking unbeatable in the mares division, when she got to the festival she was poor.

She finished third in the race behind Benie Des Dieux and then she did this again in the same race at the Punchestown festival really nailing into the coffin that she was not good enough anymore over this distance in this division.

This season her most likely objective looks to be the Stayers Hurdle and currently she is a very generous price at 10/1. Her seasonal debut saw her bolt up in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan racecourse and she is sure to step up in trip for her next run.

Gigginstown have never won the Stayers hurdle in its inauguration and this year could be the year for the owners with this promising mare and her previous Cheltenham form does add to her chances winning at the festival in 2017.

PRESENTING PERCY CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP

The last of our horses in the Cheltenham Festival Lucky 31 is Presenting Percy for trainer Patrick Kelly. This seven year old has been an ultra consistent hurdler and now chaser for many years but this year we really think he can be the horse to go on and win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

This is why we have added this horse into the mix as a horse to follow aswell for the year. The majority of the jumps racing world will know or should know who this Irish based horse is after winning at the Cheltenham Festival for back to back years.

His first winner at the festival came in 2017 when he won the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle and really made a name for himself on the big stage. This year he backed this up in sublime fashion by easily romping home to take the Grade 1 RSA Chase and set a marker for next season.

Now the season is upon us, the obvious step up for this horse who we know stays longer than three miles would be the Gold Cup and the jockey who has rode him most his career, Davy Russell thinks so too.

It is all down to his owners with what actual race he will be put in, if fit for the Cheltenham Festival but we think if he is supplemented he is the one to beat this season in the Gold Cup on the Friday.

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