Robbie Power's Cheltenham Festival routine and who he's backing this year

Robbie Power's Cheltenham Festival routine and who he's backing this year

IRISH JOCKEY Robbie Power  knows a thing or two about backing and winning when it comes to horse racing at Cheltenham

The 40-year-old rode 33-1 outsider Silver Birch to victory in the 2007 John Smith's Grand National at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 14 April 2007. 

Since then he's won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup on Sizing John. He also won the Irish Grand National on Our Duke.

With Cheltenham nearly upon us the Irish jockey detailed everything about the festival and how he copes

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Robbie Power riding Tiger Roll during. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Power was speaking to BoyleSports horse racing betting.

Robbie Power: “My routine at the Cheltenham Festival.”

Last week Ruby Walsh said that he doesn't envy people in the lead up to Cheltenham, 'time slows down

Power didn't seem to mind and mentioned that he didn't get stressed in the lead-up the Cotswold event

"In terms of the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival, I guess you try not to answer the phone too much! But joking aside, I’ve got some nice rides in Ireland at Navan and Naas this weekend. They are the most important and you just have to keep doing the day job.

I’ll then get on the 6.45pm flight on Sunday evening and then it really begins. I don’t really get too stressed or worried in the build-up to Cheltenham. You hear people in the week before Cheltenham thinking about a plan for their respective races. I have an idea of what I’m riding, but I don’t get worried or make any plans until I see the final declarations."

He added that he also gets asked a lot about horses like Minella Indo and just has to deal with it

"If someone at the airport comes up to me and asks about my thoughts on Minella Indo or whatever, you just deal with it. 

My routine during Cheltenham is that I’m staying with Johnny Burke who lives about 20 minutes away from the track.

I get up around 6.30am, jump in the shower and have some porridge for breakfast. That gets me through till about 11am.

I will then drive to the track and get there around 7am/7.15am. I will then ride out on Tuesday morning, I’ll probably be riding the horses I would be riding that day and also the Wednesday. It would probably be riding two lots.

Then I will go back to Johnny’s and get changed and I would then head back out at 10/10.30am to avoid the busy traffic on the way to the racecourse and arrive at the track. I might then catch up with some friends I have in England at the track and have a chat.

Then for lunch, I would get something like chicken for lunch in the weighing room. The catering at Cheltenham is top-class and I would probably have to be in the weighing room about two and a half-hours before racing begins so I can get a few bits and pieces to eat before that at around 11am/11.30am.

That keeps you nice and relaxed for the day and then in the evening we’d go back for a nice meal at Johnny’s and see what he is cooking"

The 40-year old  also gave his take on who can take the crown from Honeysuckle. 

Rachael Blackmore CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Honeysuckle ridden by Rachael Blackmore. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Robbie Power: “Teahupoo has each-way claims in the Champion Hurdle.”

The Henry-de Broomhead Rachael Blackmore duo won the crown last year and are unbeaten in 14 races. The bookies have tipped the mare heavily to win again.

"Teahupoo seems in great form at home, he needs to improve a lot to trouble Honeysuckle, but he is open to that improvement and it is hard to get a handle on his work at home as he only does what he has to do."

"We don’t know how good he could be,  but he was impressive at Gowran Park and he is a ride I’m really looking forward to do."

"I think he’s got live each-way claims. Giving 7lb to Honeysuckle is going to be really difficult. She is a fabulous mare, is 14 from 14 and is the defending champion."

"Appreciate It was impressive in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year and I think it is the stiffest task that Honeysuckle has faced so far."

Both Appreciate It and Teahupoo both need to improve to give Honeysuckle a challenge. Obviously for Appreciate It, the plan was to go chasing but he had a hold up. However, if any trainer can get a horse ready to win first time out at the Cheltenham Festival – it’s Willie Mullins. The vibes coming from Cloustton are very strong and he has to be respected.

Robbie Power: “If I could ride one horse it would be Shishkin.”

Speaking on one horse he'd love to ride, Power said “If I could ride one horse it would be Shishkin.” He also gave other tips for races 

I think Saint Felicien has a big chance in the Coral Cup. He is a horse we think a lot of and he does have to overcome his lack of experience, but that is something I will have to try and negotiate in the race.

He is a very talented horse and I think he could be very well-handicapped. I’m looking forward to him.

I’m on Discordantly in the Ultima. He won at Leopardstown last time out and he runs off 10st 5lb in this event and he was sixth in the race last year off a 1lb lower mark than he has this year. He is obviously coming into the race in form and I think he has an each-way chance.

I also ride Say Goodbye in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. I think she has a big chance.

She was only a length and three-quarters behind Party Central at Leopardstown. She is 5/1 for this race, whereas Say Goodbye is 33/1. I think she is a little bit overpriced.

If I could ride one horse at the Cheltenham Festival it would be Shishkin. Two mile chasers definitely float my boat, so I would love to ride Shishkin. 

Robbie Power’s five to follow at the Cheltenham Festival

Teahupoo (Champion Hurdle)

Minella Indo (Cheltenham Gold Cup)

Shishkin (Champion Chase)

Saint Felicien (Coral Cup)

Discordantly (Ultima Handicap Chase)