Cheltenham Festival market movers following an exciting Trials Day
We are now offering Non-Runner Money Back in the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup.
From the moment the tapes went up for Cheltenham’s opening race of nine on Saturday, ante-post clues for the big four days in March came thick and fast.
The winner of the 11:40, Comfort Zone, followed up his Coral Finale Hurdle victory at Christmas with a narrow verdict over Scriptwriter, a winning margin of just ¾ length ensuring his price cut for the JCB Triumph Hurdle was just two points, and he’s now 10/1 from 12/1 for the juvenile contest.
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE BETTING HERE >
There was a more significant ante-post price drop following Cheltenham’s second race, after Stage Star produced a classy frontrunning performance under top weight in the novice handicap chase. A top level scorer over hurdles, the Paul Nicholls-trained 7-year-old looks well up to that standard over fences as well, and odds of 10/1 (from 33/1) for the Turners Novices’ Chase back up that thought.
TURNERS NOVICES' CHASE BETTING HERE >
On a day at jumping’s HQ that had everything, it was the turn of the Cross Country specialists in the third. Back On The Lash landed the spoils to earn a 16/1 quote for the Glenfarclas-sponsored feature back here in March, but Delta Work will have pleased connections with a third place finish under joint top weight, and the Gigginstown horse remains 5/4 favourite to repeat last year’s Festival success.
GLENFARCLAS CROSS COUNTRY CHASE BETTING HERE >
Ascot’s loss was very much Cheltenham’s gain as far as the 13:20 was concerned, with six going to post for the rearranged Clarence House Chase. Billed as a match between Energumene and Edwardstone, as is so often the case it didn’t play out like that.
Gary Moore added Editeur Du Gite to this Grade One field at the start of the week, and it proved money well spent, as the 9-year-old got the better of a thrilling finish with Edwardstone. Moore now has a 5/1 (from 20-1) chance to win a second Queen Mother Champion Chase, nine years after Sire De Grugy’s victory in the two mile championship, while the horses relegated to second and third, Energumene being the latter, share favouritism for what is now a wide-open looking Queen Mother as 7/4 joint market leaders.
QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (NRMB) BETTING HERE >
The track’s other big race was the Cotswold Chase, and once again it didn’t follow the script many had predicted. Protektorat was sent off a warm favourite to enhance his Gold Cup claims, but he could finish no better than fourth, with Ahoy Senor instead staking his claim for March’s Blue Riband.
An emotional winner for trainer Lucinda Russell, her charge is now 12/1 (from 33/1) for the Boodles-sponsored showpiece, while Sounds Russian ran a cracker to take second, and his Gold Cup odds also tumbled, to 20/1 (from 50/1).
CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (NRMB) BETTING HERE >
On a day of surprises, the Cleeve Hurdle went to the French challenger, Gold Tweet, who doesn’t hold an entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle, but given the manner of his victory, connections are unsurprisingly considering supplementing him, and as a result he’s been given an 7/1 quote for the race. The Irish dominate the betting for the three-miler, with Teahupoo at the head of the betting following his win in the Galmoy Hurdle last week, Gordon Elliott’s runner now the 5/2 favourite.
STAYERS' HURDLE (NRMB) BETTING HERE >