Past Winners » Ballyandy


I am backing Ballyandy for the Champion Bumper. We still tend to concentrate on the Irish horses in the Cheltenham Bumper, despite the fact that the British now have as good a record in the race as the Irish.

Six of the first seven renewals of the Champion Bumper were won by the Irish, and 14 of the first 17. However, the last six have been shared, three-three, and the British horses filled the first four places in the race last year.

Ballyandy stands out among the British horses, and that could make him good enough to win the race. He won on his debut at Worcester in October, then he won the good bumper at Cheltenham’s November meeting. Then, after getting narrowly beaten by Coeur Blimey at Ascot, when conceding 7lb, the pair of them clear, he put up the best performance of his career when winning at Newbury last time.

That is a race that has been won by some top class horses in the past. Al Ferof won it in 2010. Shutthefrontdoor beat Village Vic in it in 2012, Definitly Red beat Tea For Two in it in 2014, and Barters Hill beat Buveur D’Air and Altios in it last year.

Also, this year’s renewal looked top notch beforehand. Five of Ballyandy’s six rivals were previous winners and three of them were unbeaten under Rules going into the race. He took up the running at the top of the home straight, and always looked likely to prevail.

It looks like there is not a stand-out Irish horse this year. Augusta Kate is interesting, but she is short for what she has achieved, and she still has the option of running at Sandown on Saturday instead. Outside of her, there doesn’t appear to be much between all the Willie Mullins horses. Aspen Colorado is also interesting, but he was not overly impressive at Leopardstown last time, and he is not a certain runner either.

Ballyandy is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, so you know that the Champion Bumper has been on his radar for a while. He has previous experience of the track, he has winning form there, and he should run a big race.