The Cheltenham Festival is just three months away so the excitement is building week on week. We look at the potential festival runners that ran over the past seven days in a bid to give you some betting clues ante post. January is a huge betting month for the festival, people love to get a bet on early so make sure our weekly series is followed for massive festival pointers. Follow @myracingtips on Twitter for all the latest tips, gossip and banter.
Colin Tizzard has had the best season of his career to date and he showed no sign of letting up as his extremely classy novice hurdler Finian’s Oscar laid down a huge marker at Sandown on Saturday. The five year old was smashed from 8/1 earlier in the week to 11/10 favourite for the Tolworth Hurdle and backers were singing a merry dance as he ran out an impressive 5 length winner over Capitaine. This is an extremely versatile horse as he won over 2m6f at Hereford on his rules debut but coped extremely well with the drop back to two miles for the Tolworth. The Neptune looks his most obvious target for the festival. He will more than likely only run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle if the ground was very soft or heavy which is unlikely. One thing is for sure, Colin has another special horse on his hands.
Lifeboat Mona is now as short as 20/1 for the Mares’ Hurdle in March after a comprehensive three length victory in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. Paul Nicholls is confident she can put it up to the best mares in the lands but if Annie Power, Vroum Vroum Mag or Apple’s Jade turn up, she will have her work cut out.
Chateau Conti entered the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle equation along with about 10 of his stablemates after running out an impressive 7.5 length victor on debut at Cork. He can be backed at top price 16/1 for the opener in March.
Rich Ricci’s well fancied American Tom fell at Naas on Sunday but did so when he was well beat so the jury remains out on this horse and he certainly doesn’t look a Cheltenham festival winner in waiting. Very disappointing effort in a race won by Some Plan at 7/1,
Gigginstown’s Death Duty carried on his fine run of form by landing the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas but it wasn’t plain sailing. He was strongly pressed by Augusta Kate jumping the last and it would have been a close finish. Is he value at 5/2 for the Albert Bartlett? Probably not at this stage.
It is with a sad face that we announce 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree will not run in the Gold Cup this season after a major setback.
Sara Bradstock said: “I’m afraid it’s (Gold Cup) not going to happen, which is a real shame.
“When you have a horse like this you must not take any risks and there is no point going there half-baked.
“He has just niggled the bone, where the cannon bone meets the knee. He is still walking at the moment, but we must not take a risk as these niggling things can turn into fractures.
“We will not rush him and we will make sure he is fine before he comes back.
“He will do plenty of swimming and other stuff. Hopefully he will go to Punchestown and win the Irish equivalent.”
She added: “We might just give him a change of scenery and run him in the French Champion Hurdle, which is over three miles and is usually run on soft ground.
“He might possibly make Aintree, but only time will tell.
“I think we ran him on ground we had not trained him on at Haydock, as it had only rained those two days there and there had been no soft ground to train him on.
“He ran a great race at Haydock, but he might have been feeling this coming on.
“He has no miles on the clock and I’m hoping he can become a veteran record-breaker and a novice record-breaker. “He is in very good nick, mentally, and is full of himself.”