Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Billy Blakeman ValueChecker

Nina Carberry to Win the Kim Muir for Ferdy Murphy

The Kim Muir is a staying handicap for amateurs and it is notable that the last two victors have shouldered the maximum weight of 11st 12lb. Other stats to throw in early include no Irish winners in the past 10-years and a general lack of success for horses wearing any kind of headgear. Interestingly, 9-year-olds have won 4 of the last 5 runnings.

© Racehorse Photos


All well and good but my idea of the winner of the race is the 7-y-o Galant Nuit. Ferdy Murphy is a trainer whose whole season is geared towards getting the horse to Cheltenham in prime order and Galant Nuit looks exactly the type he excels with. Last season, he had two runs in the winter and then came fresh to Prestbury Park to contest this race and he finished a decent third, despite getting hampered on the run in. Just a pound higher here, one run in December when he was pulled up wbut no matter, he is likely to be absolutely ready for this and Nina Carberry in the saddle does nothing but strengthen his claims. One of the market leaders and whilst I would prefer to have found a lively outsider, I have to think Galant Nuit the most likely winner.

Supporters of Junior, of which there will be many, will no doubt disagree. David Pipe’s stayer is a real star who has not been out of the placings in any of his last 8-runs. Included in that sequence is a runaway win on the flat at Royal Ascot and he brings a very strong case with him. Third to Midnight Chase here in November and second to his classy stablemate Ashkazar over hurdles here on New Year’s Day. Another who will be fresh but I assign little concern to that fact and major claims.

Of the rest, then I think Victor Dartnall’s Richard's Sundance could play a part. A late developer, he ran his best race here over fences at the New Year meeting when second in a decent handicap and he can be forgiven his effort next time in the Warwick mud as that almost certainly came too soon. A late developer, he could have more to offer and he would be my pick of those outside the market leaders.

Recommendation: Galant Nuit


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