Road to Cheltenham 13th February 2017

We are another step closer to the Cheltenham Festival. In a matter of weeks, the roar from the stands when they get underway at the bottom of Prestbury Park for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle will be heard for miles. We take a look at this week’s action and the week just gone by for clues and betting advice for the festival 2017.

This Week’s Racing

The feature race this weekend is the Ascot Chase which is bound to be a cracker. The classy old boy Cue Card is currently the 1/2 ante-post favourite for the contest whilst Kylemore Lough, Royal Regatta, Taquin Du Seuil, Traffic Fluide, Shantou Flyer and Irish Cavalier currently have an entry. The Grand National Trial is another race to look forward to and Kerry Lee’s Bishops Road heads the betting at 8/1.

Performance of the Week

He may have been a long odds-on favourite and was expected to win, but the run of ALTIOR at the weekend was nothing short of awesome. He finally silenced his doubters who claimed he was yet to be tested out of novice company and still had a lot to prove. Well prove it he did. To beat a 167 rated like Fox Norton by 20 lengths on the bridle will now surely mean Altior gets the credit he deserves. Let’s not forget Fox Norton was clear second favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase before the weekend, a very fine horse in his own right. Would Altior beat Douvan? Nobody can say but it would be a race for the ages and one we will hopefully see at Cheltenham in 2018.


Native River & Sizing John – Gold Cup

The amazing run of Bristol De Mai in the Peter Marsh Chase was a flash in the pan. That is the conclusion after his run at the weekend where he finished last of the three runners in the Denman Chase, about 9 lengths off the eventual winner Native River. Colin Tizzard has a real Gold Cup horse on his hands and oh no, we’re not talking about Thistlecrack, we’re talking about Brocade Racing’s inmate. He has now proven he is not just a top class handicapper and fully warrants his place as second favourite for the Gold Cup. Some could argue he should be favourite given the stamina question marks surrounding Thistlecrack. The Gold Cup is all of a sudden looking very competitive once more as Sizing John, the horse who was fed up of looking at Douvan’s rear end, has flourished over the extra distance. He won the Irish Gold Cup at the weekend and is another who could be a surprise package for the big day in March. Our Cheltenham Gold Cup tip may be neither of the above mentioned but they certainly can’t be discounted.

Other Cheltenham Festival News

  • Politilogue is now 8/1 for the JLT Novices’ Chase after an impressive display at Kempton on Friday, for all the 1/8 favourite only beat one rival.
  • Debra Hamer’s Tobefair won an incredible seventh handicap in a row at Newbury and now heads the betting for the Pertemps Final in March at 10/1. Amazing training performance.
  • Ballyandy took advantage of a lenient mark to win the Betfair Hurdle for Nigel Twiston-Davies at Newbury. The Neptune looks his most likely target now as he doesn’t seem to have the speed required for a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
  • More forceful tactics brought out the best in Mega Fortune at Leopardstown on Sunday. Gordon Elliott’s charge is now 8/1 for the Triumph Hurdle and he looks sure to appreciate the hill.
  • A fine ride from amateur Patrick Mullins saw Bacardys pick up a Grade 1. It was done in very workmanlike fashion and he is now 16/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but the Neptune would seem to be the best option as he looks a stayer.
  • Noel Meade’s Disko beat Our Duke in the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown. A dominant front running display saw off his rivals and he is now 14/1 for the RSA Chase.
  • Ted Walsh, father of Ruby, has a real live contender for the Cross Country Chase in the form of Foxrock, after beating On The Fringe at Leopardstown on Sunday. He is 10/1 currently.
  • Colin Tizzard’s Finian’s Oscar impressed once more at Exeter, winning by a few lengths in moderate company at Exeter, sent off the 1/16 favourite. He could go Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or Neptune, a very versatile horse.

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