As we look forward to next week’s greatest National Hunt Racing Festival in the world my mind wanders back to the last time I ‘walked’ the hallowed ground that is Prestbury Park. It was 2006 and a Grey 5-year-old gelding, Sky’s the Limit (11/1) ridden by Barry Geraghty won the Coral Cup by 4 lengths carrying top weight. Not done by many 5-year-olds! The horse was owned by my late father Raymond Rooney and several other individuals including the late Paul McNamee. What a buzz I got, to be there and being part of this great win. Fond memories great times.

Great times, will hopefully be had by all next week and here I give my three best tips for the week and one or two insights that might help you fill your satchel with a few euro or sterling (if you are travelling!)

Tuesday 12th March Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeplechase

Kalashnikov – Current price 12/1

There is a strong Galway connection with this horse as local lad Seamus O’Flaherty from Cappagh Road is the assistant trainer to Amy Murphy who trains this animal. He is worth a few € or £ each way at 12/1. He ran last year at the Festival in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and was just pipped at the post for the opening race of the Festival.

Tuesday 12th March Unibet Champion Hurdle

Apple Jade – Current Price 2/1

This brilliant mare is trained by Gordon Elliot who had the most wins (8) of any a trainer at last years’ Festival. She receives an 8lb mare’s allowance which I feel should assist her greatly in winning this prestigious race.

Friday 15th March Gold Cup

Presenting Percy – Current Price – 7/2

I backed this horse last year in the 2018 RSA Insurance Novice Chase on foot of word I got from a wise seasoned Mayo punter Christy Feerick a great friend of our family. Trained locally by Pat Kelly out of his Craughwell yard this will be a stiff test for this previous Cheltenham winner.

Thought for the week…

Keep your powder dry and pace yourself, for the long four days. Don’t let your heart rule the head by punting on all Irish horses. Our ‘Brexit’ neighbours do have some decent equine animals as well, all be it tough, we the Irish won 17 of the 28 races last year!

Stay away from handicaps and have a great week.

Mise le meas

Niall Rooney