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Robbie ‘Puppy’ Power’s Views Ahead Of Cheltenham Festival Trials Day

We’ve got some great insight from racing legend Robbie Power on the upcoming jumps season, courtesy of our friends at Boylesports Racing.

The Grand National winning jockey has hung up his saddle but is still heavily involved in racing, and has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk through some of the key talking points ahead of the Cheltenham Festival Trials Day on Saturday, including:

  • Why Protektorat needs to win the Cotswold Chase as Britain’s best shot at Gold Cup glory
  • The rescheduling of the Clarence House to Cheltenham is a masterstroke
  • Trials Day being a vital preparation for the Cheltenham Festival
  • Are the Brits running scared of the Irish over the next fortnight?
  • Popular star stayer Paisley Park looking back to his best
  • Can anyone stop Energumene and Willie Mullins’ domination at Cheltenham?

Cotswold Chase Verdict

The Cotswold Chase this Saturday is a good chance for Noble Yeats to throw his hat into the Cheltenham Gold cup mix – but I’m looking forward to seeing another British challenger

“Noble Yeats was very impressive at Aintree in the Many Clouds Chase and took a big step forward. 

But, I am really looking forward to seeing Protektorat. He was hugely impressive in the Betfair Chase and it will be interesting to see if he can repeat that. I know A Plus Tard was way below par. He is definitely the strongest British challenger for the Gold Cup. “

Protektorat Has To Win Before Going For The Gold Cup

Protektorat has got what it takes to go up against A Plus Tard and Galopin Des Champs in the Gold cup

“We will see Galopin Des Champs at Dublin Racing Festival, so we will see how the next ten days or so can have a bearing on the Gold Cup markets. Protektorat was third last year in the Gold Cup, his season debut this year was very impressive and he’s definitely the number one English challenger.”

“The Cotswold Chase will have been the plan since he ran at Haydock. They never considered the King George on Boxing Day, they freshened him up for here en route to the Gold Cup. You also have Frodon, Noble Yeats, Ahoy Senor and they are all good horses but if Protektorat is going to stamp his authority on the Gold Cup then he has got to win here.”

“The Skelton team are having a great season with some real big Saturday wins. I do think if Protektorat and Noble Yeats turn up, I see Protektorat repeating his Betfair Chase win and coming out on top.”

Clarence House Chase Masterstroke

“It’s great to see a race such as the Clarence House be moved, previously it would have likely been scrapped but it’s great to have it moved and have a nine-race card at Cheltenham at the end of January.”

Trials Day is a very important meeting ahead of the big one in March

“It is an important day, especially with the rescheduling of the Clarence House as this is the only chance the two-milers can run between now and the Festival because after this, you’re starting to get a bit too close to the Festival.”

“That’s especially the case with the Cotswold Chase over three miles and a furlong as staying chasers take a bit longer to recover. If this was delayed or didn’t happen then the likes of Protektorat would be going straight to the Cheltenham Festival having not run since November, so it is a very important day.”

Clarence House Chase Verdict

Energumene should win the Clarence House but his clash with Edwardstone should be a cracker

“He’s rightfully very short odds-on for both but it’s a horse race and anything can happen. I was delighted to see entries for the Clarence House reopen and for it to have a few more entries as well. There were only the three previously with Energumene, Edwardstone and Amarillo Sky but Edietur du Gite has been thrown into the mix. He was very impressive last time out and loves Cheltenham. “

“I’m not saying he’s good enough to beat Energumene or Edwardstone. All being well, Energumene should win it.”

“Edwardstone is the new kid on the block, having won the Arkle last year at Cheltenham and the Tingle Creek this year. He had a slight mishap last time but he’s a good horse. It’ll be good to see last season’s top novice taking on the reigning champion.”

Cleeve Hurdle Verdict

Popular stayer Paisley Park is enjoying a new lease of life and is the one to beat in the Cleeve Hurdle

“I think this season Paisley Park has been a reformed character. His run at Newbury where he was beaten by Champ by a neck was a fantastic run.”

“I thought the rescheduling of the Long Walk Hurdle to Kempton from Ascot might not have suited him as it is more of a speed track but he proved me wrong in no uncertain terms there. It was a hell of a performance, beating Goshen by four and a quarter lengths.” 

“This season, he just seems a much happier horse, really well in himself and he’ll be hard to beat. He loves Cheltenham, he won this race last year after giving himself no chance at the start. If he puts up the same performance he did at Kempton then Paisley Park will be very hard to beat.”

Cross Country Chase Verdict

“This is a new adventure for Minella Times, going down the cross-country route on the route back to Aintre so it’ll be all systems go for the Grand National.”

“This is a route that has been successful before for horses going to Aintree and he has schooled well over the banks. If he puts in a nice performance here then he’ll be in good shape for the Grand National.”

Plan Of Attack is a bit of an old hand at these. This race suits him a lot better, he’s getting a stone and eight pounds. He loves a cross-country race.”

Lack Of British Runners At The Dublin Racing Festival

It’s amazing the Brits aren’t taking up the tempting prize money at Dublin Racing Festival.”

“I am amazed there are so few entries from Britain for the Dublin Racing Festival with the prize money on offer. But then when you look at the strength in depth that Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead have, do you really want to travel over to take them on? I don’t know.”

“English horses have come over before and taken the prizes home so it is a bit of a surprise to me. But, everything these days seems to be geared around Cheltenham in March, which is a pity because there is so much good racing with good prize money that deserves respect.”

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