Upping The Ante – Episode 11

Benie Des Dieux and Ruby Walsh winning the Mares' Hurdle 2018

Do not be alarmed! Despite the shutdown of UK racing, Gavin Lynch and David Jennings have been as busy as ever at bringing us the lowdown on all things Cheltenham that have occurred over the past week, as well as providing us with some indispensable statistical advice for the Festival, a fine set of pointers that direct the punter in the right direction. This includes the races with the biggest average starting prices, the domination of Willie Mullins’ in the Mares’ division which has seen him win twelve out of the fourteen runnings of the Mares’ and Mares’ Novice Hurdle, as well as the ages of the winners of the Novice Hurdles and Novice Chases in the past six seasons. Further to that, Gavin Lynch also provides us with a list of his five biggest punting successes, which, given the impressive portfolio he is building this year, he could be adding to come March-time. You can view our own Cheltenham Clues here, which are published weekly.

Of course, the lack of British racing was a blow however there was still plenty of action from over the Irish Sea to dissect, with the pair singling out numerous performances that caught their eye from Thurles, Naas and Punchestown. None were more impressive than Joseph O’Brien’s Band Of Outlaws who beat stablemate Konitho at Naas, jumping incredibly well and strengthening his trainer’s grip on the novice hurdle division even further. Willie Mullins’ Pravalaguna has entered the reckoning for the Arkle and the JLT with a Listed success on Saturday. Henry De Bromhead’s Sinoria was similarly impressive over hurdles, and is of interest for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, and the admirable veteran Josies Orders declared his intention to reclaim his crown at Cheltenham with a comfortable success over the Cross Country fences at Punchestown on Sunday.

Added to this, Lynch provides his first three for the Champion Hurdle from the live contenders of Apple’s Jade, Buveur D’Air and Laurina, and answers questions from viewers. Sponsors redzone.bet also answered questions from David Jennings, noting a flurry of support for Enda Bolger’s Josies Orders after his success at the weekend, as well as providing us with the usual enhancements –

  • Delta Work 4/1 RSA Novices’ Chase – backed a few weeks ago by David Jennings at 12/1, Lynch desperately wants the Drinmore-winner on side come race-day. A game winner of that race from Le Richebourg, who has won two Grade Ones since, the pair couldn’t understand how Santini was favourite for the race ahead of this one. He has course form, winning the Pertemps last year, and as a dual Grade One-winner already, boasts some very strong form coming into this.
  • Benie Des Dieux 15/8 out to 2/1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle – three-from-nine in France, she has been a revelation for Willie Mullins, the King of training Mares, winning all five of her starts for him. To revert from fences last season back to hurdles and win this race, beating Apple’s Jade, was mightily impressive. She has very strong claims, particularly considering that her main rivals in the aforementioned and her stablemate Laurina aren’t likely to turn up.
  • First Assignment 20/1 out to 25/1 Pertemps Final – according to David Jennings, he looks sure to go off favourite for this, particularly considering that he has already scored twice at Cheltenham this season. Trainer Ian Williams has said he is best fresh, although he was beaten less than two-lengths by Paisley Park making a rapid reappearance after his second seasonal win. He is now rated 142, so is sure to get into the race, but has plenty of scope for further improvement and is a huge player at an each-way price.
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