Cheltenham Festival 2017 Weights Announced

Horse Racing Tips - Annie Power Doom Bar Hurdle

With the long awaited Cheltenham Festival fast approaching, the handicap weights have been announced with less three weeks to go until jumping’s premier festival. The handicap weights are always crucial in picking our Cheltenham Festival tips as all the fields are hugely competitive and there is likely to be many horses who have been aimed with a certain race in mind. Below we have gone through each race in detail, where you can the key handicap weights and our initial thoughts on how it changes the complexion of the contest.

Ultima Handicap Chase

Top weight goes to the Venetia Williams trained Tenor Nivernais, who will have to carry 11st 12lb for the first handicap of the Festival. He crushed a field in an Ascot Listed race in February so this doesn’t come as any surprise, winning by thirty lengths and not hard pressed to do so. Kim Bailey’s The Last Samurai will be carrying 11st 11lb, who is obviously known for his gallant second in the Grand National last season and will be competing off a 2lb higher mark than when third in the Becher Chase at Aintree. Current ante-post favourite Noble Endeavour will be carrying 11st 4lb and Paul Nicholls’ Saphir Du Rheu looks to be in a good position off a weight of 11st 6lb if back to his best.

Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

Another for Venetia Williams, Zamdy Man for JP McManus will be shouldering top weight off 11st 12lb for the contest after two chasing successes this season. Of the others, Gordon Elliott’s Squouateur who was a good second on his latest start will be carrying 11st 5lb, which may seem him well weighted as a potential improver. In terms of the market, ante-post favourite Roman De Senam will carry 11st 6lb and his market rival Foxtail Hill will carry a weight of 10st 4lb, which is a very light one indeed.

Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

After his dismantling of the National Spirit Hurdle on stable debut for Gary Moore, Camping Ground has been given 11st 12lb for the race. If he wins, he’ll be only the second horse to carry that weight to victory since the race made it’s debut in 1993. Ante-post favourite Automated for Gordon Elliott has 10st 8lb and as an improver, it puts him in a strong position for the race. Perhaps the most interesting is Peregrine Run, who will carry the same weight for Peter Fahey and beat Wholestone here in November. Market second favourite Modus will carry second top weight, 11st 8lb which doesn’t necessarily rule him out of things.

Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

After his impressive win last time out, Mega Fortune will have to shoulder top weight of 11st 10lb for Gordon Elliott, though this doesn’t look the intended target for him. Ante-post favourite Dreamcatching will carry 10st 4lb for Paul Nicholls and as an improver with only two runs under his belt, he’s likely to be dangerous off that mark. Of the remainder, Project Bluebook will carry 10st 11lb for John Quinn and Dinaria Des Obeaux looks potentially well weighted off 10st 12lb for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House.

Pertemps Network Final

The ante-post favourite and rapidly improving Tobefair will have to shoulder 11st 7lb if he’s to make it eight wins in a row for Debra Hamer, which may be tricky in such a competitive race. Oscar Sam will be bidding to carry top weight of 11st 12lb to victory for Jessica Harrington, though he isn’t fancied in the market. The improving Isleofhopendreams will carry 11st 3lb for Willie Mullins and Jury Duty will have 11st 9lb to contend with on his bid for glory.

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

Like in the Ultima, Tenor Nivernais will have to shoulder top weight in this contest of 11st 12lb, though he’s not particularly fancied for this in the markets. The favourite Diamond King will carry 11st in his bid to go back to back in Festival races, with other notable runners being Taquin Du Seuil (11st 10lb), Traffic Fluide (11st 7lb), Frodon (11st 3lb) and Belami Des Pictons (10st 12lb). Front runner Village Vic will be bidding to go from pillar to post carrying 11st 8lb, a mark he has been running well off of late.

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

A Grade 3 winner over fences in 2015, Pendra hasn’t been seen since being well beaten in the Grand National, but has given top weight off 11st 12lb for this amateur riders contest. Ante-post favourite Mall Dini will be carrying 11st 10lb and still looks a likely type for improvement over these obstacles. Singlefarmpayment performs well around Cheltenham with two wins from three starts at Prestbury Park and will be carrying 11st 9lb for Tom George, 9lb above his last winning mark. Although not at his best on return, Southfield Royale is well weighted on the best of his form off 11st 8lb and David Pipe’s Doctor Harper is now onto the same mark as when he run in the contest last season. He was laid out for the race last season and will carry 11st 8lb again; with another year’s experience under his belt he looks very interesting.

Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle

Since 2000 only five horses have carried 11st + to take victory, so weights are particularly crucial in this contest. With that in mind, Artic Fire, as classy a horse as he is, looks to have an impossible task from the top of the weights at 11st 12lb. 2015 Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov looks to be in a strong position from 11st 4lb at his best, with ante-post favourite North Hill Harvey likely to go close off 11st 3lb for Dan Skelton. There has been a lot of interest for Tombstone after the admission he could swerve the Champion Hurdle, and he will carry 11st 1lb which may see him well weight on the best of his form. Although very, very risky, Labaik will carry 10st 10lb along with Jer’s Girl, although there is no guarantee that the former will jump off with the field.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Four runners will be shouldering joint top weight with Thomas HobsonCourt MinstrelTagliatelle and Jury Duty all carrying 11st 10lb, though none of them are fancied in the market. The ante-post favourite The Storyteller will be carrying 11st 7lb, which could be seen as generous considering his latest victory Thurles. He is a strong fancy and clear of the remaining runners, with Battleford, who he beat at Thurles in that latest run, reopposing him off 11st which means he’s 7lb better off.

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup

The ever popular Sire De Grugy will have to shoulder top weight of 11st 12lb if he’s to win the Festival closer, though he is not handicapped out of things on the best of his form. You have to go down 6lb to find the next runner, Balleycasey, who will be carrying 11st 6lb for Willie Mullins. At the top of the market there is a three way go with Dandridge carrying 10st 3lb (4lb higher than last year), Le Prezien carrying 10st 10lb and Starchitect carrying 10st 7lb for David Pipe.

Some of our Cheltenham Festival tips are ready to view now, with tips for all four championship races covered! With most firms now NRNB, this is the perfect time to get involved, with previews for every race at the festival now available to be viewed on site.

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