Cheltenham Festival markets shaken up after informative Christmas period

Epatante wins the Christmas Hurdle under Barry Geraghty

The Christmas period always brings us fantastic racing, but this year really was a present. We’ve been treated to incredible Grade 1 action and have seen many Cheltenham contenders on show. Some have enhanced those credentials, while several bubbles have been burst.

After four days of informative racing, we’ve taken a look back with a view towards the Cheltenham Festival. From the Gold Cup picture, to the Pertemps Final, all you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival markets can be found below!

You can also find our horse racing tips on site now, including Lucky 15 and Accumulator tips!


Boxing Day

Winners

Shan Blue (16/1 for the Marsh Chase) made it 3/3 over fences with a masterful jumping display in the Kauto Star, downing The Big Breakaway. He might not have the stamina for an RSA, but he’s a strong player for the Marsh Chase back down in distance.

Frodon (16/1 for the Gold Cup) jumped them silly in the King George VI Chase. He made all in incredible fashion and it’s hard to dismiss him from the Gold Cup as a result. He loves Prestbury Park and if there’s rain in lead up, it’ll put him right in the each-way picture.

Losers

Epatante suffered a 1/5 defeat in the Christmas Hurdle, not travelling with her usual verve and unable to show her showcase her turn of foot. She remains favourite for the Champion Hurdle, but it puts a small question mark next to her name.

Felix Desjy was a drifter for the Arkle after a poor performance in the Racing Post Novice. He looked to be rallying after being headed but weakened late, pushing him out from a general 12/1 to 25/1 for the Festival.


27th December

Winners

French Aseel (10/1 for the Triumph Hurdle) put in a dominant performance on hurdling debut at Leopardstown. That was mightily impressive and he may be wearing different colours come March in the Triumph Hurdle, a race he looks potentially made for.

Chacun Pour Soi (6/4 for the Champion Chasecouldn’t have been much more impressive on Sunday, posting an RPR of 176 in a romp over a smart Grade 1 field. With Altior below form on return, it’s unsurprising he’s now a very short price for the Wednesday feature at such an early stage.

Losers

Ballyadam drifted to a general 14/1 for the Supreme after a heavy defeat to Appreciate It in the Future Champions’ Novice Hurdle. Perhaps a stiffer test will suit him, so the Ballymore could end up being his destination come March.

Altior was a big drifter on the day and ran below his best when second in the Desert Orchid. The winner was mightily impressive and he’s entitled to come on for this, but at the age of 11 soon, he’s now 10/1 for the Champion Chase.


28th December

Winners

A Plus Tard soared to a best-priced 12/1 in the Gold Cup market after a last-gasp success in the Savills Chase. With many of the protagonists underperforming, the form is up for debate, but Henry De Bromhead now has a plethora of options for his smart six-year-old.

Flooring Porter built on a handicap victory off a mark of 136 by springing a surprise in the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle. He’s unlikely to get such a soft lead at Cheltenham, but it was still a very good performance and 12/1 for an open Stayers’ Hurdle is probably fair.

Losers

Allaho travelled powerfully into the Savills Chase but found little for pressure and was ultimately beaten over 20 lengths. On that basis, his Gold Cup bubble has likely burst, and the Ryanair is likely to be his target come March.

Minella Indo is perhaps an unfair addition, but it was a missed opportunity for him. Taking on a smart field, a victory would have cemented him as the likely favourite for the Gold Cup. Instead, his day ended with a fall and he’s drifted out to double digits for the Gold Cup.


December 29th

Winners

Concertista was an empathic winner of the Grade 3 Mares Hurdle, shrugging off a penalty with the minimum of fuss. Her ceiling remains unknown and given Willie Mullins excellent record in the Mares’ Hurdle, a best-price of 3/1 is tempting.

Bravemansgame joined the likes of Barters Hill, Champ and Thyme Hill by winning the Challow. He did so in a very comfortable fashion and looks like another smart recruit for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

Losers

Abacadabras and Saint Roi were both disappointing in the Matheson Hurdle, with the latter unable to get past Petit Mouchoir for third. They’re both surely capable of better and perhaps Cheltenham will bring out the best in both.

Star Gate looked to have the race set up for him in the Challow but found little for pressure as Bravemansgame sauntered away after the last. Some poor jumps didn’t help and he did look green when ridden, but connections will have to lick their wounds.


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