In this series of articles we will look at some of the main winners and losers to come out of this weekend’s big race meetings and see how these performances have affected their chances of scoring a festival victory, when Cheltenham comes around in March. All these thoughts will be utilised to help us pick our Cheltenham betting tips for the big event!
Cheltenham Betting Positives
Supreme Novice Hurdle favourite Min reinforced his current favouritism for the opening race of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, with a dominant performance in the Moscow Flyer at Punchestown. Ruby Walsh was never troubled in the saddle of the 1/7F, coasting to a comfortable victory. Bookmakers reacted by cutting him from 7/4 to 13/8 best price (6/4 general) although William Hill have gone to just Evens already.
The biggest mover on the exchanges was the Paul Nicholls trained four year old, Adrien Du Pont. He produced a great performance to win the Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on heavy ground, reeling in the long-time leader, Chic Name down the home straight, showing great strength and stamina in the process. This victory has resulted in his odds for both the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and the Triumph Hurdle significantly lashed. Coming in from 33/1 and 25/1, to being a 16/1 shot for both races.
Good victories for Venetia Williams’ Yala Enki and the Philip Hobbs trained Kruzhlinen, saw both enter the Cheltenham betting for the first time. Yala Enki didn’t jump that well, but was still tough to hold off Westren Warrior to land the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton. Both have now been listed at 20/1 to win the Coral Cup. 5/2 favourite Kruzhlinen produced a commanding performance when winning a Class 2 at Kempton. A few dodgy jumps didn’t upset his rhythm too much and pushed clear over the last three furlongs. The 9 year old has now been listed as a 20/1 shot for the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase on the first day at Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Betting Negatives
Terrible conditions didn’t stop Mountainous winning a thrilling Welsh Grand National in the first televised race on Saturday, but only six of the 20 starters managed to finish the race. Poor performances from 8/1 favourite Cogry and the well fancied 10/1 shot Upswing saw them bow out of the race very early. Both have now slipped down the exchanges in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, sliding from 16/1 prospects, to 25/1 outsiders.
The biggest loser of the afternoon was Paul Nicholls multiple Group 2 winner, Ptit Zig. After a fall at Huntingdon in early December, the seven year old was hoping to bounce back with a comfortable victory, going off as the 1/2 favourite in a three horse Listed chase at Kempton. However, history repeated itself. Upon feeling the returning Triolo D’Alene cruising past him going into the second to last, Ptit Zig jumped very poorly into the fence, unseating rider Sam Twiston-Davies. This has seen him slip from being the 12/1 joint third favourite for the Ryan Air Chase, right down to 25/1 mark with some bookmakers, leaving this clearly talented jumper languishing amongst the potential also-rans.