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Trainer David Pipe is aiming to have Israel Champ go straight to the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in around two month’s time.
The four-day event, which kicks off on March 10 and has 28 races scheduled, is fast approaching. This has owners and trainers pretty excited, as are persons looking to watch or attend the events and/or place a few bets.
As for Israel Champ, the five-year-old has won two consecutive races since his under rules defeat on his debut at Worcester in October, claiming a pair of victories from runs at both Cheltenham and Ascot.
Pipe says he’s spoken to the horse’s owners about his plans, having determined that Israel Champ does not need to go to Newbury and has already proven that he could take on Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper in March.
“I’ve had a chat with the owners, and the only other possible race for him was to go to Newbury, but the plan is to now go straight to the Champion Bumper,” he claimed, via Racing TV. “He would only have one penalty to carry at Newbury, but he has already proved he warrants taking his chance in the Champion Bumper.
“He has only just turned five, so we thought we would freshen him up this month and then start training for the Champion Bumper. He won’t worry about the occasion.”
Pipe has branded Israel Champ more of a galloper, as opposed to the quicker Moon Racer, who won the event back in 2015.
“Israel Champ is a galloper really, whereas Moon Racer was a bit more of a speedier type,” he explained.
“We didn’t buy Israel Champ as a bumper horse, so all this is an added bonus really. Hopefully, he is one for future and the type to build over novice hurdles next season.”
Israel Champ is considered to be a favourite for the Bumper at 10/1 with Bet365, while all of the other top bookmakers in the UK are offering odds on the race. We advise you to check all the best free bets offers for Cheltenham from freebets.co.uk, if you’re keen on getting the best value for your money.
Eric Bloodaxe is a joint favourite at 10/1 with the aforementioned sportsbook and Ladbrokes are offering 16/1 on Forged In Fire. Meanwhile, William Hill and Marathon Bet have both posted odds offers of 14/1 on Ferny Hollow, as well as 16/1 on Farouk DAlene. There’s also a 16/1 offer on Appreciate It from Paddy Power.
BetVictor are one of the few bookmakers currently handing out odds on Get In The Queue and you could grab a 16/1 bet on that front. Wilde About Oscar is a 20/1 bet with most of the bookies but Coral have 16/1 going on his chances while the likes of 888sport and MoPlay are offering 18/1.
The bookies seem to be in agreement with Pipe over Israel Champ’s prospects of winning the Champion Bumper this year. And chances can only get better given the trainer’s plans to keep him out of the Newbury affairs ahead of the year’s first major racing event.