Jamie Codd believes American Mike has a leading chance of ending Willie Mullins' domination of the Champion Bumper after it was confirmed he would ride the unbeaten star at the Cheltenham Festival next month.
Three of the last four runnings of the Grade 1 contest have going to Mullins but Codd is determined to break the trainer's hold with American Mike, who is priced 3/1 to make a winning start in Graded company.
"It's been mad looking at Willie winning nearly every bumper since Christmas and he looks to have unearthed a few gems," said Codd.
"That said, I wouldn't swap American Mike for any of them; I really wouldn't. He's certainly not going to Cheltenham to follow Facile Vega around, that's for sure. If American Mike brings his A-game they will have to go some to get by him.
"I'm actually glad American Mike didn't go to Leopardstown for the Dublin Racing Festival in the end. It means the dream is still alive and no bubbles have been burst yet. He's a smashing horse and has done nothing wrong so far. I love him anyway."
Codd, who missed the festival last year when amateur's were not allowed to ride, has won the Champion Bumper twice in his illustrious career and last struck on Envoi Allen in 2019 for American Mike's trainer Gordon Elliott.
He has partnered American Mike to both victories under rules this season and most recently stormed to a 17-length success when short-priced favourite at Navan in December.
However, Codd's hopes at claiming a third Champion Bumper crown will be complicated by Mullins, who fields another strong contender in the race with Facile Vega.
The five-year-old gelding also enters the festival unbeaten in two starts and as the son of Cheltenham legend Quevaga carries the pedigree to back up his Cheltenham claims.