The Cheltenham Festival kicks off 10 weeks tomorrow and the excellent Christmas racing has had a shuddering effect on the ante-post markets. But the brilliant performances of Silviniaco Conti, My Tent Or Yours, Bobs Worth and Hurricane Fly were all overshadowed by the plight of the great Sprinter Sacre. The irregular heartbeat that caused him to be pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase cast a shadow over the Kempton Winter Festival. However, racing fans will have been gladdened by yesterday’s positive bulletin from Nicky Henderson and the possibility that the “Black Aeroplane” could race again this season.
Sprinter Sacre is 10/11 with BetVictor for the Champion Chase, which is good value under their Cheltenham Festival Non Runner Free Bet offer. The Desert Orchid winner, Sire De Grugy, is now 3/1, which looks a bit short when you consider he has never won at Prestbury Park.
Silviniaco Conti’s game victory in the King George VI Chase stamped him as a genuine Cheltenham Gold Cup contender. We kind of knew that anyway but his rematch with Bobs Worth on March 14 will be one to savour. Silviniaco Conti has been trimmed to clear second favourite at 4/1 for the Gold Cup with BetVictor. Cue Card, who stopped as if shot on the run to the last, is now out to 8/1. That could look good value come Gold Cup day. The Lexus Chase was extremely informative, heralding a return to form for Bobs Worth who is now 5/2 favourite with BetVictor from 9/2 for racing’s Blue Riband. Sir Des Champs is out to 9/1 but he will surely be more effective if he gets the good ground he needs to show his best. And the fabulous run of First Lieutenant has seen his odds tumble to a still generous 12/1 (from 16s).
There were shades of Night Nurse and Monksfield about the titanic battle between My Tent Or Yours and The New One. They are 3/1 joint favourites for the Champion Hurdle with BetVictor although they are being stalked by Hurricane Fly, who looked backed to his best in yesterday’s Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown. BetVictor have The Fly at 7/2 (from 11/2) to retain his Cheltenham crown.
A major mover in the Cheltenham ante-post market was Paul Nicholls’ Vicenzo Mio who stayed on really well to win at Kempton last weekend. He looks to have speed and stamina in abundance and should relish the Cheltenham hill. He is now 16s from 50/1 for the Triumph Hudle.
And another rising Nicholls star, Dodging Bullets, was cut to 7/1 for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy after beating Grandouet at Kempton. His was a thoroughly professional performance and he is three from three over fences.
For all the latest Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets visit BetVictor