Supreme. Unbeaten: 20/1
A week today at half past one a roar will rise from Cheltenham’s grandstands and another Festival will begin. As the sound rolls down the track to the galloping horses, it’s possible that there will be just one among them who will be unbeaten – Moon Racer. Three others with a rack of 1s against their name – Winter Escape, Yorkhill and Long Dog – could miss this race for other engagements, leaving Moon Racer the only runner about whom we can say ‘we don’t know how good he is.’
That’s if Moon Racer makes it to post. His last run was a year ago when he won the Champion Bumper comfortably. Training troubles have kept him off the track since, but David Pipe, his trainer, says he will declare him at the five-day stage and see how it goes. You can’t get more touch and go than that with racehorses.
But the triple winner is valuable property. His connections won’t let him run in this hottest of novice hurdles unless he is capable of winning. He hasn’t jumped a hurdle in public, but they must be happy with how he’s schooled or he’d already have been counted out.
Min is the short-priced favourite. Altior looks the key challenger from England, at least according to the betting. But Moon Racer is, I believe, the best value in the race if you bet now, because you can have 20/1 (Betfred), with a guarantee of your cash back if Moon Racer doesn’t run.
When lining up last year for the Bumper, Moon Racer hadn’t run for five months. He was backed into favourite. I believe there will be money for him again if he lines up on Tuesday.
If you want one for an each-way double at around the same price as Moon Racer, try Kilcooley in the Ryanair World Hurdle. He is another who’s had a troubled season which has kept him at home since the end of October. But he seems likely to line up against Thistlecrack on Thursday.
So, take on the two short ones with two long ones.