16.00 Cheltenham: On The Fringe a cunning bet in Foxhunter Chase
On The Fringe looks to hold leading claims of giving the Irish their fourth winner of the Foxhunters in the past eight years.
Enda Bolger’s nine-year-old ran well in the contest back in 2011 when finishing fourth to Zemsky and is very lightly raced for his age.
He is now looking a far stronger horse than he was three years ago, and his form this season has a solid look to it.
The gelding beat Tammys Hill and Salsify in good style on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal and the latter has won this race for the past two years.
He then then went down by just 3/4 of a length to Tammys Hill in the Raymond Smith Memorial Hunters’ Chase at Leopardstown on his latest start and that has proved the key Irish trial for Cheltenham in recent years.
Although he is set to meet Tammys Hill on the same terms, that one has since come out and run below par when finishing third at Fairyhouse and I fancy him to reverse the placing’s as he seems to have had a better preparation than that rival.
Another plus is that he has the services of Nina Carberry in the saddle and he looks a worthy favourite to land the spoils in the famous green and gold colours of JP McManus.
The other horse that I like in the race is Berties Dream, whose record at the big meeting suggests he could well be a lively outsider.
The 11-year-old won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the 2010 Festival when trained in Ireland by Paul Gilligan and went on to finish a highly creditable sixth in the World Hurdle behind the mighty Big Buck’s 12 months later.
He then missed the showpiece meeting in 2012, but was back a year ago and once again showed his love for the big occasion when putting in a cracking effort to finish fifth to Holywell in the Pertemps Final for trainer Henry de Bromhead.
That was his last appearance under Rules, but he has done well in the point-to-point sphere since joining Lauren Braithwaite last summer.
He has won his last two starts at Ampton and North Carlton in good style to show that he retains plenty of enthusiasm and ability.