Stowaway well placed for a successful week
Going into Cheltenham week, Stowaway holds a slim lead over Flemensfirth in the current season’s sires’ table but he could come out the other side with a much bigger advantage judged on a strong-looking Festival team. They’re headed by Monkfish who defends an unbeaten record over fences in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and will be a banker for many this week. Fiddlerontheroof represents Stowaway in the same race. Monkfish’s trainer Willie Mullins is evidently a keen supporter of Stowaway as he also trains two of the sire’s other Festival favourites, Kilcruit in the Champion Bumper and Stattler who’ll bid to follow on from Monkfish’s success last year in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Put The Kettle On was another of Stowaway’s Festival winners last year in the Arkle and she’s back this time for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Among Stowaway’s interesting handicappers are The Shunter, winner of the Greatwood at Cheltenham earlier in the season – he has options over both hurdles and fences later in the week – and Champagne Platinum who goes in the Pertemps Final.
Keep an eye on Flemensfirth’s mares
The best result of the week for Flemensfirth would be a revival in the form of Lostintranslation who bids to better his third place in last year’s Gold Cup. But it’s the sire’s team of in-form mares that catches the eye. They include unbeaten novice chaser Colreevy in the new Mares’ Chase on Friday where she could be up against former Grand National runner-up Magic of Light. Flemensfirth also has leading contenders in both of the mares’ races over hurdles, with Minella Melody in Tuesday’s David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle and Royal Kahala in the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on Thursday.
Sires with chances of a big-race double
Among sires with leading contenders in two races are Sholokhov, who has the hot favourite for the Arkle Shishkin and the well-supported Bob Olinger in the Ballymore; Jeremy, who has two of the first-day favourites in Appreciate It in the Supreme and Happygolucky in the Ultima; No Risk At All, whose Epatante and Allaho will be popular choices in the Champion Hurdle and Ryanair Chase respectively; Sea The Moon, sire of Arkle hope Allmankind and Triumph contender Tritonic; and Nathaniel, who has the Mares’ Hurdle favourite Concertista and Zanahiyr who heads the market for the Triumph Hurdle, a race won by Nathaniel’s daughter Burning Victory last season.
Other sires hold a strong hand in a particular race at this year’s Festival. Oscar, for example, is represented in the Stayers’ Hurdle not only by the 2019 winner Paisley Park but also by last year’s winner Lisnagar Oscar who caused a big upset when Paisley Park was amiss 12 months ago. Fame And Glory has two good shots at the Supreme with Ballyadam and Soaring Glory, while Getaway supplies two of Monkfish’s rivals in the Brown Advisory, namely Sporting John and The Big Getaway.
Siblings to watch
Sires have a lot more opportunity to make their mark at the Festival than broodmares. But there are a number of examples of two offspring out of the same mare winning at the Festival. Last year’s Foxhunter winner It Came To Pass, entered in the same race again this week, for example, is a half-brother to the 2014 Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere who also won the RSA Chase the previous season. This year, the French broodmare Hyde could make history as she’s represented by leading Champion Hurdle hope Goshen and his elder sibling Elimay who is favourite for the Mares’ Chase on Friday.
👏 What a likeable mare— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 13, 2021
Elimay easily lands Listed honours in the @BBAIreland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase, completing a double for @WillieMullinsNH & Mark Walsh at @NaasRacecourse
🏆 She looks a leading player for the new Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase at @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/UsLfDmRnss
Broodmare Buck’s can make her presence felt at the Festival again
Another French broodmare Buck’s has already left her mark on the Festival thanks to her outstanding son Big Buck’s who won a record four Stayers’ Hurdles. Being a gelding, his admirable qualities couldn’t be passed on to future generations, but breeders did have the next best thing available to them – his full brother Buck’s Boum who was kept as an entire. He won just the once over hurdles at Auteuil but had good form as a juvenile hurdler in France and has now made a name for himself at stud thanks to his son Al Boum Photo who bids for a hat-trick of wins in the Gold Cup this week. Former Arkle winner Duc des Genievres, who has been declared for the Grand Annual, is another of Buck’s Boum’s best jumpers.
The latest family member to bid for glory at the Festival is Barbados Buck’s who is a leading contender for Friday’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He’s a grandson of Buck’s and carries the same colours, those of the Stewart Family, as those made famous by his ‘uncle’ Big Buck’s.
Monkfish a short price to go one better than his grandam
Some well-known horses contested the 1994 Sun Alliance Chase, though both One Man, sent off the 3/1 favourite, and future Grand National winner Earth Summit, finished down the field. The race was won by Monsieur Le Cure and chasing him home three lengths back, after surviving a bad mistake at the twelfth fence that almost put her out of the contest completely, was the only mare in the field, the 20/1-shot Martomick. Suited by a sound surface, Martomick won five other novice chases that season for Kim Bailey, the last of them at Ayr by 30 lengths. Now, Martomick has resurfaced as the grandam of Monkfish who will be a short price to go one better in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase as the Sun Alliance is now known.