THE tapes go up for the 2014 Cheltenham Festival four weeks tomorrow. And after a magnificent weekend of racing in both the UK and Ireland, the ante-post market has seen a raft of changes. LAST INSTALMENT was the biggest mover of the weekend after his scintillating victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown. (His leap at the second fence was amazing). He is now a major player in the Cheltenham Gold Cup market. BetVictor today reported wads of money for Philip Fenton’s nine-year-old and he has been backed in from 16/1 into 8s.
SMAD PLACE was another big mover following his Newbury win and is now 6/1 for the RSA Chase behind another mover BALLYCASEY who is the 9/2 favourite with BetVictor after his win over DON COSSACK.
VAUTOUR is likely to start clear favourite for the SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which kicks off the meeting on March 11. His win over THE TULLOW TANK had an air of authority about it and he also had to do it from the front. He is now 4/1 with BetVictor.
I was also taken by the Warwick success of BALDER SUCCES. Few novices jump with as much fluency as Alan King’s black flier, and although he is not certain to line up in the Arkle (his owners are keen on Aintree and Punchestown), he could be solid each-way value if the ground is soft at 20/1.
We learnt nothing new about CALIPTO but he will probably improve a tonne for his easy Newbury win and he is 7/1 for the Triumph. A few Triumph bubbles were burst over the weekend with disappointing runs from IVAN GROZNY, CHOCALA and PLINTH who are all big drifters.
RAYA STAR was only third in the Game Spirit but again he failed to get the strong gallop he badly needs. He pulled his way to the front, was outpaced two out and then ran on again towards the end. If the handicapper doesn’t murder him then he looks every inch a Grand Annual horse for which he is 12/1 from 20s.
And then there is HARRY TOPPER. I’m kicking myself for not backing him at 50/1 under BetVictor’s Non Runner No Bet offer on the four championship races. He is now into 20s. Kim Bailey will be doing a rain dance for the next month in the hope of heavy ground. If he gets it, Harry Topper will be a major each-way player.
Here are the main BetVictor market movers and shakers from the weekend…
Supreme: Vautour 4/1 (from 8s), The Tullow Tank 8/1 (from 6s), Irving 8/1 (from 10s), First Mohican 16s (from 20s).
Arkle: Champagne Fever 7/2 (from 4s), Balder Succes 20/1 (from 25s).
Champion Hurdle: My Tent or Yours 9/2 (from 5s), NRNB
Mares Hurdle: Swing Bowler 20/1 (first show).
National Hunt Chase: Sam Winner 8/1 (from 12s), Midnight Prayer 14s (from 25s).
Neptune: Faugheen 3/1 (from 7/2), Red Sherlock 11/2 (from 6s), The Tullow Tank 11/1 (from 14s).
RSA: Ballycasey 9/2 (from 8s), Smad Place 6/1 (from 8s).
Champion Chase: Arvika Ligeonniere 12/1 (from 16s) NRNB.
Champion Bumper: Vigil 8/1 (first show).
Ryanair: Benefficient 9/2 (from 6s), Al Ferof 8/1 (from 6s), Module 14s (from 16s), First Lieutenant 6/1 (from 10s).
World Hurdle: Annie Power 5/2 (from 11/4), Fingal Bay 20/1 (from 40s) NRNB.
Triumph: Calipto 7/1 (from 10s), Le Rocher 7/1 (from 10s), Guitar Pete 8/1 (from 16s), Royal irish Hussar 16/1 (from 25s).
Albert Bartlett: Kings Palace 3/1 (from 7/2), Briar Hill 9/2 (from 5s).
Gold Cup: Last Instalment 8/1 – cut 12s from 16s after the race, then 10s now 8s. First Lieutenant 16/1 (from 12s), Harry Topper 20s from 50s, Al Ferof 25s from 12 NRNB.
Grand Annual: Ted Veale (8/1) from 10s, Raya Star 12s (from 20s)
Check out BetVictor’s Non Runner Free Bet offer on the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.