The Festival Interviews – Kim Bailey

Horse Racing Tips

With the 2017 Festival now on the doorstep, myracing.com sat down to discuss the Cheltenham Festival with Kim Bailey. Our Cheltenham Festival Tips have been live for the big races for a number of weeks now with others being added all the time. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook to make sure that you don’t miss any update.

Taking out a training licence in 1979, it was not long before the name Kim Bailey was well known in racing circles. A Grand National winner in 1990 with Mr Frisk, a horse who broke Red Rum’s Grand National winning time, would begin a decade of dining at the top table. A horse small on stature but big on heart by the name of Docklands Express would pick up the mantle the following season. A second at Sandown to Welsh Grand National and future Gold Cup winner Cool Ground in January 1991 saw the horse embark on a Spring campaign that produced victories in two marquee handicaps, the Racing Post Chase at Kempton and the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown’s April meeting.

Despite the steady flow of winners, the early years were barren of a victory at the meeting that stands above the parapet as the pinnacle of the jumping game, the Cheltenham Festival. It was not until 1995 that Bailey was to train his first winner at the meeting but a Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup double was a fine way to remove the albatross from around his neck.

“Alderbrook was so tough, he had so many problems to overcome” from removing bone chips from his knee to continual problems with his joints which meant he could only race on soft ground. Having fairly bolted up in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, Alderbrook would start at 11/2 in the Champion Hurdle. Turning for home with a double handful, Norman Williamson looking confident, it was merely a matter of how far. “it all came as a bit of a shock” Bailey reminisces when asked about 1995 “well…not really, they were both well fancied” but plenty of well fancied horses get turned over. Master Oats, the winner of the Gold Cup that year, completing the dream double but the feeling after the week? “Exhausted!”

It’s the Champion Chase however that Bailey enjoys above all others, “to watch high class jumping at speed…Sprinter Sacre winning last year, a wonderful reception and the new stand made it even better.” It is a two mile chaser that Bailey would love to have in his own stable. There are so many stars in Willie Mullins yard including the Champion Chase favourite Douvan but when asked who he would most like to train if given the chance, the answer is short and sweet, “Altior.”

Charbel was 5th to Altior in the Supreme last season, once against finishing behind the Nicky Henderson trained star at Sandown at the Tingle Creek meeting. Would Bailey be looking to avoid a further clash in the Arkle then? “Yes, probably the JLT but to shock you we could go down the handicap route.” Since however it would appear that Bailey has opted for the Arkle, with the field migrating away from Altior, the opportunity for a place is arguably stronger over the shorter trip. Red Spinner was the yards representative in the Grand Annual in 2016, would he be heading back there in 2017? “He’s difficult to place as he prefers better ground, the race Darna won would suit…he is well, we’re just waiting on the ground.”

When pressed on a horse to follow for possibility of success at future Cheltenham Festivals, it was the ex Seamus Durack trained Nicely Indeed that got the mention. He hasn’t been seen since finishing fifth to North Hill Harvey in a Cheltenham novice hurdle in December 2015 but described as ‘statuesque with a great attitude’, he can make up for lost time when he is back from his injury setback. Twice a bumper winner, he will come into his own when he gets sent over longer trips.

Bailey is unlikely to have many other runners in the Festival handicaps but there are a number of other big guns looking to make an impact this season. In fact the handicapping system is the one thing in racing that Bailey would change given a chance, “to quick to go up, too slow to go down, it sours horses who are consistent.”

myracing.com would like to thank Kim Bailey for his time and wish the whole team the best of luck for the remainder of the season and beyond. Our daily free horse racing tips made almost £8,000 profit during 2016 and are already North of £2,000 in profit in 2017! Multiples generally go live the evening before to ensure our followers get the best possible prices with the NAP and singles live before 8.45am the following morning.

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