Robbie Power believes Aspire Tower may have been “underestimated” as the jockey bids to win his first Unibet Champion Hurdle at The Festival™ supporting WellChild tomorrow (Tuesday).
All the focus has so far been on Honeysuckle, Goshen and Epatante for the feature race on Day One, but Power believes his mount can go one better than he did 12 months ago, when finishing second in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
The Born To Sea gelding is yet to finish outside the first two places this season, having captured a Grade Two at Down Royal on his reappearance before finding only Sharjah too strong on his return to Grade One company in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown in December.
When Rachael Blackmore opted to ride the favourite, and stablemate, Honeysuckle, Henry de Bromhead turned to Power to pair up with the five year old. And despite having not yet partnered him in public, the jockey reports him to be in good order after riding him on the gallops and in a schooling session at the trainer’s yard in Knockeen in recent weeks.
Power said: “I’m looking forward to riding him. He was second in the Triumph Hurdle last year so we know he handles travelling over and the course.
“I’ve been down to Henry de Bromhead’s twice to sit on him. I’ve ridden him in a piece of work and schooled him and he feels in very good form.
“His form this season is rock solid. He was very impressive winning the Grade Two at Down Royal and he ran a very good race last time behind Sharjah at Leopardstown where he probably a shade unlucky.
“He is only five so he should be open to more improvement so we are keeping our fingers crossed. When you have an improving horse like this who knows when they are going to stop and on his Leopardstown form he should go close. He has probably been underestimated a little.”
Power will also be re-united with Fiddlerontheroof on his return to Grade One level in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on Wednesday and he believes the seven year-old, who is one of two runners in the race for Colin Tizzard alongside The Big Breakaway, is overpriced.
Power said: “Both Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway are both rated the same, yet one is around a 13-2 chance and the other is 25-1 and I think he could be overpriced.
“He didn’t perform at the meeting in the Supreme last year as that was not him at all and I’m not concerned about that performance.
“With Covid I’ve not been down to sit on him so the last day I sat on him was when he ran at Ascot, but they have said he is in good form and on ratings there is little to choose between the two of them.
“It was a good run he put in the last day behind Next Destination at Warwick. It looks a tough race against Monkfish but he has run consistently all season.”
Power captured the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John in 2017 and four years on his chances of claiming Jump Racing’s holy grail rest with last year’s third Lostintranslation, who also hails from the yard of Dorset handler Tizzard.
Despite failing to feature in any of his three starts this term, Power believes the nine year old could easily bounce back to form if building on the positives from his run in last month’s Grade Two Denman Chase at Newbury.
Power added: “Lostintranslation’s form has been disappointing this season but if he comes back to the sort of form of last year’s Gold Cup he should go well.
“I thought there were positives to take out of his last run at Newbury as he travelled much better than he did in the King George and he jumped much better.
“He felt very good before I rode him at Haydock but the ground that day was way too soft for him. I thought jumping three out at Newbury he was going to win but maybe he just needed that run.
“A lot of the time he has shown his best form in the spring and hopefully with the drying ground he can do so again and will not be a million miles away.”