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How the Early Winter Races Have Impacted Cheltenham 2019 Betting

For some trainers and owners of the UK and Ireland’s best jumps horses, it’s been quite a pleasing few weeks as we have seen big races like the Fighting Fifth and Tingle Creek Chase going with form. For others though, performances have left a few scratching their heads. Here is a quick rundown of what has happened over the past month, and how it has impacted the ante-post markets for some of the big races at Cheltenham.

Buveur D’Air Shows Samcro Who’s Boss

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Samcro is a wonderful horse, arguably among the picks of Gordon Elliott’s brilliant stable. However, he looked nothing less than a pretender to the crown when coming up against Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth. Samcro started as the 6/5 favourite as once again bookies and punters felt Buveur D’Air would somehow be caught out. It’s unlikely they will make the same mistake again. Buveur D’Air is now as low as 4/5 with Betfair for a third successive Champion Hurdle. Samcro, now found at 9/1 with BlackType, has left Gordon Elliott with something to ponder.

Altior Has No Equal

Un De Sceaux is a remarkable horse, a superstar in his own right, but he doesn’t belong in the same league as Altior. That’s no slight on Willie Mullins’ two-time Cheltenham winner, it’s rather a testament to the effortless brilliant of Altior. Un De Sceaux fought hard right up to the end of the Tingle Creek Chase, but Altior simply switched from third to fourth gear when the pressure was on. The best you can find for the Champion Chase now is the 8/11 with William Hill. For Un De Sceaux, who was just 4 lengths behind, you can find 20/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes. A long-shot perhaps? But perhaps worth a shot to nothing with some Cheltenham Festival free bets?

Footpad Looked a Little Foot-Loose

Footpad, who had a remarkable season in 2017/18, looked a bit wobbly before falling in Naas in mid-November. Willie Mullins’ horse is really well thought of and, in fact, only trails Altior in Timeform’s ratings for best chasers. He is now found at 5/1 generally for the Champion Chase, which could represent value if you believe the poor performance at Naas was an outlier and not indicative of wider problems. If he is at his best, the Queen Mother Champion Chase could be the race of the Festival.

Can Bristol De Mai Win Big Away from Haydock?

Everyone at Haydock who saw Bristol De Mai trounce the likes of Might Bite, Native River and Thistlecrack was left puzzled at the performance of the likeable grey. He is just so good when it comes to slogging it out there, but so often comes up short when it comes to the big races elsewhere. His victory rattles the Gold Cup markets, mostly down to the abject performance from Might Bite. As it stands Presenting Percy is the new favourite with Betfair at 9/2, with 11/2 cited for Native River. The biggest mover was Might Bite, now at a tempting 9/1. However, will some consider Bristol De Mai? 20/1 for a horse that has undoubtedly got talent. If only the Gold Cup was run at Haydock.

Faugheen Disappoints

A final, brief word on Faugheen. He has tumbled down the odds for the Stayers’ Hurdle after a disappointing first run of the season at the Morgiana Hurdle. In his prime, Faugheen would have left the field in his wake, but he could just manage an unremarkable second-placed finish this time. 12/1 now with Hills for the Stayers’ Hurdle. He will need a big performance between then and now to convince punters he can do it.