IT WAS a marvellous weekend of racing. But there were ripples rather than waves when it came to the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets. HURRICANE FLY was eased by most bookies for the Champion Hurdle after breaking the world record of Grade One victories. But he could do no more than win and 6/1 looks generous even at this stage. The other Champion Hurdle mover was DELL’ ARCA, who won the Greatwood Hurdle on his British debut. He was introduced into the Champion Hurdle picture at 33/1 with Stan James.
But there were some real standout performers over the weekend. One was THE LIQUIDATOR who was cut in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle ante-post market and is now second favourite at around 12/1 behind West Wizard. He won like a serious horse. So did RED SHERLOCK, who was given the ride of the three-day Open Meeting by Timmy Murphy in the bumper on Sunday, and has entered calculations for the Supreme at 25/1.
TAQUIN DU SEUIL showed surprising speed to outpace OSCAR WHISKY up the Prestbury Park hill and is now 12/1 for the Arkle with William Hill, with Oscar Whisky at 16s. The latter price could end up looking extremely generous. Both are now 10/1 for the Jewson with the same bookie.
ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR won on Saturday with frightening authority and showed the stamina required to win the Triumph Hurdle for which he is now 12/1 clear ante-post favourite with Hills. LE BEC produced a lovely round of jumping and looks a solid each-way bet for the RSA Chase at 16/1 with most firms, while CREEPY looks an Albert Bartlett possible after his victory and is best priced at 25/1 with SkyBet.
DODGING BULLETS was impressive in outgunning RAYA STAR and is now 12/1 for the Arkle but SIRE DE GRUGY remains as big as 25/1 for the Champion Chase after being mugged up the hill by KID CASSIDY and Tony McCoy. Sprinter Sacre won’t be losing any sleep.
And, finally, the promising racecourse return by GODSMEJUDGE on Saturday has kept him among the ante-post favourites for the Grand National at around the 25/1 mark.