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Belmont Festival Friday
The Irish have been the dominant force at the Cheltenham Festival for several years now, but could this be set to change with the home side having many of the leading favourites heading into the meeting. Many punters have been looking on the new online sportsbook to support their fancied horses as the Festival nears. Here we cover two of the key Irish horses who will be expected to land their respective races at jump racing's key meeting in just a few weeks' time.
The Day One banker for the Irish looks to be the tough and reliable mare, Apples Jade. At seven years of age she looks to be improving and has amazingly yet to finish out of the first three in all of her 19 starts to date. She failed to fire last season that also saw her beaten at odds of 1/2 in this very race. Despite clearly not herself she was still only beaten by just over a length, having previously landed the contest back in 2017.
Apples would clearly be a leading contender were she to head to the Stayers Hurdle, but her trainer has continually said the Mares Hurdle will be the destination this season. She has returned this season at the top of her game that included a 26-length victory in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. If she can put in a similar performance then she is going to be extremely difficult to beat.
Another very likeable horse for the Gordon Elliott yard who heads in as many people's Day Two banker. This being the nine-year-old, Tiger Roll, who many people remember from winning last season's Grand National. He had previously landed this race at last season's festival despite the ground going against him. If he returns and puts in a similar display then he is going to take a lot of beating.
Tiger Roll made his reappearance over course and distance early this season, and put in a very eye-catching display, being beaten only five lengths off top weight. With the Cross Country at the Festival now not a handicap it sets up for classy horses to come to the fore, so is tailor-made for Tiger Roll. He also comes alive at the Festival and will be looking for his fourth Cheltenham Festival victory and third in succession. He rates a strong bet to defend his title this time around.
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