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Panel discusses the tips and tricks when fluttering during the festival, with one horse tipped to “walk to the line” in Tuesday’s Champion Chase

Ahead of the Cheltenham Festival next week, Paddy Power brought together some of the sports’ biggest names to discuss their favourites and tips for each day during the Ultimate Cheltenham Preview Night.

The Paddy Power panel included:

  • Cheltenham’s most successful jockey, Ruby Walsh
  • Group one trainer, Tony Mullins
  • Journalist and broadcaster, Lydia Hislop
  • Paddy Power trader, Frank Hickey

With a full week of jam-packed racing on the cards, the racing experts gave a race-by-race breakdown of the ones to watch, including for main event, the Gold Cup.


Expect an open race for Tuesday’s Supreme Novice Hurdles. Tony Mullins, tips this to be “the most informative race for the next three of four years”


Tony Mullins says…

“This is a hell of a race, it’s the best Supreme Novices Hurdle that I’ve ever seen. Not just in a few years, but ever. You have Sir GerhardConstitution HillDysart DynamoJonbon and Kilcruit.”

“There’s five top class horses unexposed. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve never seen a bunch of horses like it.”

“This race is going to tell you a lot about the top-class horses for the next for the next few years.”

“I’d find better bets [to place money on] during the week, because this is a race [the Supreme Novices Hurdle] that’s going to benefit Paddy Power far more than the punters.”

“I’m most looking forward to the Supreme [Novices Hurdle]. If they [the horses] all turn up, it’s going to be the most informative race for the next three or four years.”

Ruby Walsh says…

Dysart Dynamo and Sir Gerhard are the two that are deadly split, they are the ones to ride, and they will be split.

“I believe whichever one goes to the Ballymore [Novices Hurdle] will win it. But whichever one runs here [at Cheltenham] might win. They Ballymore is much weaker race.”

“I think this is a cracking race, as people have already said.”

“I think if Dysart Dynamo were to run here, this race is made for him.”

Lydia Hislop says…

“For the Supreme Novice Hurdles, I’d also throw in Mighty Potter [as a potential winner]. In a strongly run race, I think he could be finishing off very strongly.”

Frank Hickey says…

Constitutional Hill had looked very good, and times are good. But on a heavy testing ground, it doesn’t always work out.”

“For me, Sir Gerhard will win. He blew me away, even with his sloppy jumping at Leopardstown. He is by far the most interesting of them all.”

“If he [Sir Gerhard] runs in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, he will win it and then Dysart Dynamo will win the Ballymore Novices Hurdle.”

Ruby Walsh predicts Stormy Island to take the Mares Hurdle after returning to Willie Mullins’ stable…


Ruby Walsh says…

It’s Stormy Island that will win it for me, she was very good at Fairyhouse last year.

“She was brought back to Willie Mullins’ stable this year then was great at Fairyhouse, won at Punchestown and she’s run well at the festival in the past. I do think this is the weakest Mares Hurdle she’s run in.”


Ruby Walsh and Tony Mullins both earmark Shishkin as the banker of the week at Wednesday’s Champions Chase…

Ruby Walsh says…

Shishkin will win this race.”


Tony Mullins says…

Shishkin will walk up to the line again [and win]. There’s no evidence to say that anything different could happen.”

Tiger Roll actually might not will be calling it a day at Cheltenham’s Cross Country…


Frank Hickey says…

“This race is probably the one to sweeten Tiger Roll up for the Grand National. That must be the thinking.”


Tony Mullins says…

“Could you imagine if Tiger Roll runs here, but not in the Grand National? I’ve seen crazy things, but that would have to be the craziest move of all time to do so.

“We have the next potential Red Rum. Can you imagine having the only horse [Tiger Roll] for 40 years, who could potentially win a treble Grand National not running because he has a lighter weight? It’s very funny [to think about].”


Mares Novice Hurdle splits the opinions of all four experts…

Lydia Hislop says…

“At his very best, Klassical Dream is the best horse in the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle and he’s going to either completely blow out or run really well. He’s at a reasonable price at 4/1. If he turns up and runs a good race, he wins but there is a possibility he completely blows out.”


Ruby Walsh predicts… Champ

Tony Mullins predicts… Paisley Park

Frank Hickey predicts… Sporting John

Lydia Hislop predicts… Klassical Dream


Ruby Walsh and Tony Mullins earmark last year’s Gold Cup runner-up to win this time around…


Frank Hickey says…

“I don’t think A Plus Tard will turn it around. I’ve never been a fan of him to be honest and he wasn’t good enough last year.”

Lydia Hislop says…

“I don’t see why I just can’t have Protektorat. He’ll make mistakes in the early stages and he won’t be able to hold his position.”

“I like Galvin at 6/1, not so much at 7/2. In the back of my mind, I’m worried about the toll that the Gold Cup takes on horses that are coming back.”

Tony Mullins says…

“I’m going for A Plus Tard for all the reasons that Frank says he can’t win. I thought he was brilliant in Haydock, he was beaten at Shorthill by the joint favourite, he was very unlucky last year. Everything points to A Plus Tard.”

“Frank is a very good analyst but everything he says about why A Plus Tard will get beaten, is why I think he will win! One of us will be wrong.”

Ruby Walsh says…

“I agree with Tony, I’d ride A Plus Tard. Galvin had a brilliant run at Christmas and A Plus Tard was in the wrong place the whole time and it’s very easy to turn that result around.”

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