Champion Bumper 2022 Entries: Facile Vega and American Mike ready for duel

Facile Vega looks the one to beat in the Champion Bumper
Facile Vega looks the one to beat in the Champion Bumper

The Champion Bumper is always a polarizing race at the Cheltenham Festival with some salivating at the prospect of the best youngsters clashing before embarking on their novice hurdling campaign, while others would prefer to see the bumper stars sent straight over timber. This year’s entries are packed full of potential again and we’ve taken a look through them all…

The Irish have a formidable record in the Champion Bumper on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival and it’s that man Willie Mullins once again who is responsible for the favourite at this stage in Facile Vega. A fiendishly impressive winner when last seen at Leopardstown, the five year old gelding was hoisted to the top of the market and seems to lead Mullins’ formidable bumper battalion.

His chief market rival American Mike has also been entered and will look to follow in the footsteps of Sir Gerhard last year in starting second favourite but coming home in first place in a battle of the two big guns. Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd have spoken glowingly about American Mike on multiple occasions and both have stated they would not swap him for anything else in the race so the clash certainly is mouthwatering.

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Willie Mullins is responsible for nine of the twenty nine entries in this season's Champion Bumper and the next entrant in the market behind the 'Big Two' is Redemption Day. He has only been seen once on a racecourse but there was a lot to like about his four and a half length success at Leopardstown back on 28 December 2021. Patrick Mullins seems to be enamoured with this horse and predictably is keeping his cards close to his chest over which of the Mullins squad he will ride. It would be a huge shock were he not to ride the favourite but he could be swayed by the claims of Redemption Day, or indeed Mercurey. A stunning looking horse sporting the Ricci silks, he has like his stablemate only been seen once and that was in a smooth success at Gowran Park in late January.

It is not all about the Closutton crowd however, as there are a few home team challengers with Cheltenham course form. One such runner will be Mullenbeg for Milton Harris, who won at 8/1 at the end of January at HQ in the style of one with far more to come both in the bumper and hurdling spheres. Fergal O'Brien is notorious for bumper success and has another course winner in Poetic Music entered up for the most prestigious of prizes in this discipline. At best price of 25/1 he is not without place claims.

Mullins has another well fancied runner in James's Gate who has been nibbled for this race all winter and is now best priced 10/1, while his Madmansgame is yet another who is worth consideration for the shortlist following an impressive debut. Top Dog is an interesting entrant for Emma Lavelle and the gelding is one of the more experienced runners in the race.


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