Upping The Ante – Episode 12

Clan Des Obeaux winning the Denman Chase at Ascot

The return of racing certainly didn’t disappoint, with the duo waxing lyrical about the weekend action and its importance to the Cheltenham Festival, pinpointing the performances of two Paul Nicholls’ runners as those that stood out the most at Ascot. Nicholls’ fantastic Saturday which saw him win eight races was topped off in fine style with Clan Des Obeaux’s eleven-length victory over Terrefort, leading Gavin Lynch to suggest that he should be favourite for the Gold Cup rather than Presenting Percy. Another of his highly-impressive performers was Cyrname, who posted for the pair the best performance of the season, and who may well resurface at Punchestown in the spring. You can view our own weekly Cheltenham Clues here.

Monalee was given rightful attention after his success at Gowran Park, although the duo are unsure about his claims at Cheltenham, whether he turns up in the Ryanair or the Gold Cup. One Irish-raider whose chances about whom the pair are convinced, is Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll who was a surprise, and mightily decisive, winner of a prep-run over hurdles for which he wasn’t entirely fit. He has marked himself out as the most obvious winner of the Cross Country Chase at the Festival, and is a part of Gavin Lynch’s impressive Cheltenham portfolio, which the pair discuss during the episode. Other reflections on the week that was saw the pair discuss Supreme-favourite Al Dancer, the defeat of Kalashnikov, and action from racecourses as diverse as Kelso, Clonmel, Haydock and Sandown, amongst others.

It wasn’t just the weekend’s performances that were given attention by Gavin Lynch and David Jennings, but also the trends and statistics for the Festival’s handicap hurdles. Discussed this week were the ages of winners of the County Hurdle, Coral Cup and Pertemps, the average prices of the winner of the Fred Winter in the past six seasons, and the key markers of a Martin Pipe winner, including their age, their prep, and their novice status. Those will certainly prove invaluable given that just one favourite in the last thirty runnings of handicap hurdles over the last six years of Cheltenham has scored, and just four from sixty-three in handicaps over both timber and fences. Sponsors redzone.bet revealed the best backed horses for the handicaps so far, namely Give Me A Copper in the Ultima Handicap Chase and Dallas Des Pictons in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. They also revealed their opinions on Samcro, who may well appear in the Stayers’ Hurdle, and current Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy, and whether they fear the pair.

Added to this were the usual enhancements courtesy of the sponsors –

  • Envoi Allen – 9/2 out to 11/2 Champion Bumper – David Jennings’ shortest price selection for the Festival so far, he revealed that both trainer and jockey were especially keen on the chances of this one. In light of the same connections’ Malone Road being injured, and Elliott being unwilling to run Andy Dufresne, the Champion Bumper looks to be something of a two-horse race between this and Mullins’ Blue Sari. Given the opinions of connections, his unbeaten status, and the nature of Cheltenham that looks sure to see him to best effect, he is a cracking price.
  • Ucello Conti – 6/1 out to 7/1 Foxhunter Chase – a decent handicapper who stays forever, he ran well in the Grand National last year when unseating four out. He has since won a Point and two Hunter Chases, including at Navan on Sunday, and in light of the weekend blow-out of dual-winner Pacha Du Polder, he looks another decent bet for a high-class Elliott-trained performer.
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