Cheltenham Festival 2015: Kim Muir Challenge Cup preview (16:40)
Unexposed Irish raider Gold Bullet gets the services of top amateur rider Derek O’Connor in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup (16:40), and looks to have plenty going for him.
The Tom Taffe trained gelding had some smart form in bumpers, including when runner-up to leading Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Road To Riches, and developed into a decent hurdler when winning twice.
Gold Bullet then overcame an absence to make a winning debut over fences when scoring in good style by five lengths at Down Royal before suffering an injury and spending 421 days on the sidelines.
The seven-year-old shaped as if badly in need of the run on return to action when well beaten at Limerick in December, but duly put in a much improved effort last time out at Fairyhouse when third to Los Amigos.
Gold Bullet was heavily backed in the latter, suggesting that connections thought he was ahead of his current mark of 139.
That run should also have put Gold Bullet spot on for this, and the booking of O’Connor to do the steering suggests connections mean business.
The 32-year-old is one of the very best amateur riders in the game and last month became the first jockey to ride 1,000 point-to-point winners in Ireland.
Another well worth considering in a wide open contest is The Package.
Trained by David Pipe, this 12-year-old has run some of his best races at the track and is 1-1 at the venue over this afternoon’s trip.
The Package also ran a cracker last year to finish third of 23 to Holywell at this meeting off a mark of 141 and is now able to race off 4lb lower.
His current mark of 137 is the lowest he has raced off in five years, and gives the veteran major claims from a handicapping perspective.
Another plus is that The Package gets the services of Jamie Codd in the saddle, who has already tasted success at the meeting when giving Cause Of Causes an ultra-confident ride to win the National Hunt Chase.