Another week goes by and we are now only weeks away from the greatest show on turf, the Cheltenham Festival. The topsy turvy nature of the ante post markets continued in grand fashion during the week as it was announced Faugheen will go straight to the festival. On top of this, Yanworth went walkabout for the Champion Hurdle on the exchanges as he has a niggling injury and Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air has now entered the equation. Ante post betting is tough, make no mistake about it. Our free horse racing tips are live at 8.45am each day so many sure you tune in.
This Week’s Racing
There are two cracking races to look forward to this week, most notably the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Big names like My Tent Or Yours and Zarkandar have won the Grade 3 in recent years and the competitive handicap is always a real treat. On Sunday, we have the Irish Gold Cup to feast upon and it is the Gordon Elliott trained Don Poli who heads the market at this early stage. Let’s move on and look at the week just gone by.
Douvan Wins Again
To be fair, he didn’t have much in the way of opposition but Willie Mullins’ Douvan hosed up in the manner of a classy animal, once again. Now 13 from 13 for the Irish trainer, he cruised to victory in the four runner Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown. His only real potential rival, Smashing, pulled up at the half way point so that left Douvan with a very untroubled win with Realt Mor running on into second place.
Ruby Walsh was very satisfied with the performance “He just sauntered along at the front at his own speed, did his own thing and I gave him a squeeze at the second last, he jumped right out of the bridle. He won as he liked – or how you would have expected him to really. He just has a huge amount of natural ability and is a pleasure to ride. Cork had a great crowd when he turned up there and then Leopardstown and here. He is a wonderful horse and it’s great to see people coming out to watch him. It’s a lovely prize in its own right, but it was also a perfect warm up for next month”
Trainer Willie Mullins added “I’m relieved that’s over. He’s probably not showed anything that he hasn’t showed us before.”
Douvan – too good… pic.twitter.com/c4lRAwSXa1
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) February 5, 2017
Buveur D’Air enters Champion Hurdle frame!
JP McManus is a shrewd owner and when Yanworth started drifting on the exchanges last week, we knew something was going on. Enter Buveur D’Air, the horse that beat Petit Mouchoir twice last season. Mr McManus bought this horse back in October and the Seven Barrows horse couldn’t have been more impressive in the Contenders’ Hurdle at Sandown at the weekend. OK, he beat very little but he was given a supremely confident ride by Barry Geraghty, a jockey who knows he is on a very good horse perhaps? Yanworth has a slight injury, Faugheen is a huge doubt, Annie Power is out so it looks a golden opportunity for a below top class horse to land this years’ showpiece event on the Tuesday.
Hot 1-4 favourite Buveur D’Air burnishes his Champion Hurdle credentials with a comfortable win under an ice-cool ride from Barry Geraghty pic.twitter.com/N9fRgvMb0g
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) February 4, 2017
Top Notch Performance
What Top Notch lacks in the size department, he certainly makes up for in other ways and he won his first Grade 1 over fences at the weekend in the Scilly Isles Chase for the Nicky Henderson stable. Where does he go next? Well he has several options. He could go down the Champion Hurdle route, a race he was 5th in last season. He could run in the Arkle but he may well be out of his depth against Altior. The most likely race he will run in is the JLT Novices’ Chase where he is trading at 8/1 currently. Nice prospect, but he’s very small and could get found out in a big field at Cheltenham.
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) February 4, 2017
Other Cheltenham Festival News
Nicky Henderson has plenty of ammunition for the Supreme Novices Hurdle and his impressive debutante Lough Derg Spirit entered the fray after winning the Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle. He was one of the leading contenders for the Supreme before his flop at Ascot but bounced back here in style so he could be a massive player come March.
Enda Bolger is no stranger to the Cross Country Chase scene and although he trains Cantlow, the current favourite for the race in March, his supposed “outsider” Auvergnat could be a real live chance at 12/1, Heavily backed on Trials’ Day, the young horse crashed out early but he bounced back in style at Punchestown and he may be a much better horse than what the market may suggest.
Last but not least, Ask The Weatherman has shortened to 6/1 for the Foxhunters’ Chase. The Jack Barber inmate was a very impressive winner at Wincanton and is highly thought of, watch out for this horse in March, he must be a huge player.
First 5 Cheltenham Festival Tips Launched
Who doesn’t love a Cheltenham Festival ante post bet? Well, we have released our tips for the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup. Read our Cheltenham Festival article where you can avail of the FREE tips and we also give you full details about the NRNB offers with Paddy Power.