Facile Vega put in a phenomenal display when routing the field by 12 lengths in the bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown. As a consequence, the highly regarded son of Quevega is now as short as even money to land the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. But is he worthy of being so short in price and will he have many challengers?
I have to admit that I was absolutely blown away by the debut of Mercurey. Another of Willie Mullins’ up and coming stars and owned by Rich Ricci, the turn of foot he showed at Gowran Park on his racecourse debut was something else. Milton Harris also has an exciting challenger in the form of Mullenbeg, who bolted up over the Cheltenham Bumper course and distance in January.
However, it is a horse that we have not seen since December that could be the ace in the pack. Well, that’s if Jamie Codd is to be believed. He believes nothing will touch American Mike in March and those are certainly bold words. Codd was quoted saying: “I wouldn’t swap American Mike for any of them; I really wouldn’t. He’s certainly not going to Cheltenham to follow Facile Vega around, that’s for sure. If American Mike brings his A-game they will have to go some to get by him.”
The Gordon Elliott-trained five-year-old son of Mahler won impressively at Down Royal on debut (the second won since) and then won a Listed bumper at Navan in December by 17 lengths. The runner up in that race Battling Bessie was only beaten a nose in the Grade 2 mares’ bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival. One could certainly argue that American Mike has the strongest form of them all!
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