Deep field expected for Champion Bumper

While National Hunt racing fans will be treated to a plethora of world-class jumps fixtures across the four days at the Cheltenham Festival, they will also be fortunate enough to have an elite flat racing contest they can tune in to, with the Champion Bumper taking place on day two of the meeting.

The Grade 1 affair is run over two miles and half-a-furlong and is open to horses aged between four and six. Established in 1992, the Festival’s only flat race has seen some exceptional thoroughbreds win it in year’s past, with the likes of Facile Vega, Sir Gerhard and Envoi Allen some of the more notable names on that list.

Just like every other year, a deep field is expected for 2023’s Champion Bumper – therefore, without further ado – let’s take a look at the three favorites to reign supreme at the time of writing.

It’s For Me

Although the Willie Mullins-trained It’s For Me has just two appearances to his name, he has been mightily impressive in both. After dominating on debut to win by eight lengths at Loughanmore, the French-bred horse followed that performance up with another emphatic 10-length triumph at Navan.

As is the case with many Champion Bumper entries, It’s For Me is an unproven commodity – however in spite of that – Mullins likes what he sees from his five-year-old thus far.

“It’s For Me was very impressive in winning on debut and would look one of the best of ours in the bumper at the moment,” he said.

“He’s a light-framed horse who would go on good ground and if it came up soft, he has form on that too.”

With little rain forecast for the Festival, 3/1 favourite It’s For Me could prove hard to beat.

A Dream To Share

Three from three dating back to May of last year, five-year-old A Dream To Share enters the Champion Bumper as the second favourite in the horse racing betting lines at 5/1. The gelding has displayed respectable speed in the middle third of each of his wins, making good headway and tracking the leaders before showing an impressive turn of foot up the straight to finish over the top of his opposition.

His performance in his most recent outing at Leopardstown is particularly worth noting, as he bested a promising up-and-coming prospect in Willie Mullins’ Fact to File. If he can replicate the type of will and toughness he showed down the stretch in Ireland, he’s a real chance of causing the minor upset at Cheltenham.

Fun Fun Fun

A good value bet at 7/1, the Mullins-trained Fun Fun Fun hasn’t broken a sweat en route to nine-and-a-half and ten length victories at Sligo and Leopardstown respectively this season. The five-year-old is one of 14 entries for the Closutton trainer, and given the stamina and finishing speed Fun Fun Fun has shown over two miles or longer – she could pose the two short-priced favourites It’s For Me and A Dream To Share some headaches up the straight.

If she were to do so, it would mark Mullins’ 13th Champion Bumper triumph.