Shrewd Operator: JP McManus runners to watch in the betting at Cheltenham 📉

JP McManus and his instantly recognisable green and gold silks are staples of the Cheltenham Festival. McManus is arguably the sports biggest owner and stands out above the rest with a record 67 Festival winners. The total grows by the year and by the time he’s finished his record could be unsurpassable. Whether it’s his own money or everyone else’s, his runners always make a splash in the betting so we’ve provided three McManus-owned horses to look out for next week.

Jonbon (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)

This full-brother to the brilliant but fragile Douvan has been a talking horse ever since he was purchased for the not so tiny sum of £570,000. Expensive doesn’t cover it as this is a gargantuan amount for a jumps horse with no breeding prospects. He started the season as ante-post favourite for the festival curtain raiser but he has been surpassed in the market by stablemate Constitution Hill and the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo. Jonbon is one to look out for as it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go off much shorter on the day.

Sire Du Berlais (Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle)

Sire Du Berlais is a festival stalwart at this point having won this race twice and finishing second in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle. After a couple of disappointing runs this year it looks likely that he will make a hat-trick bid for this handicap rather than aim for Grade 1 glory. The Gordon Elliott-trained veteran’s status as both a previous festival winner and a McManus horse makes him sure to be popular with punters on the day now that the handicapper has given him a chance.

Champ (Stayers’ Hurdle)

Champ is the holy trinity from a punter’s point of view; a previous festival winner trained by Nicky Henderson and in the ownership of JP McManus. He is a Grade 1 scorer already this term having won the Long Walk at Ascot. It was a disappointing effort when second to Paisley Park at Cheltenham last time out but he’ll undoubtedly be in prime condition for the Festival. As a result of his fan favourite status this gelding named after the great AP McCoy is almost guaranteed to be popular with the punters and could be one to watch in the market.

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