WITH Trials Day and the Dublin Racing Festival behind us, we’re now into five weeks of silly season as owners and trainers finalise their plans for the Cheltenham Festival while punters try to second guess them.
Race plans during the season may well have been skewed, making for some early ante-post selections going out the window, but the fields in most of the big races are starting to take shape as many of the top contenders complete their prep runs. In fact, now is a good time to for a refresher from @TheVoiceOfValue on How to Conquer the Cheltenham Festival from last year.
Nine Grade One races across the weekend and some interesting results have seen big shifts in the ante-post market, here’s some of the most important:
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Santini’s win in the Cotswold Chase backed up the claim that good RSA form translates to Gold Cup-challenging material and Delta Work did exactly the same in the Irish Gold Cup on Sunday at 5/2, beating Kemboy 5/4f and Presenting Percy 10/3 in yielding conditions.
The Gordon Elliot-trained seven-year-old was 17/2 with Sport Nation to win Cheltenham’s biggest prize before Sunday’s race and has been cut to 5/1 following his one-and-a-half length victory over Kemboy.
Kemboy had been the favourite to win the Gold Cup in the summer but has drifted after missing the start of the season due to issues with his ownership. Bookies, however, remain aware of his talent, with his odds drifting from 6/1 before Sunday’s race to 7/1, a respectable price given he's been beaten by Delta Work in his last two outings.
Presenting Percy, last year’s SP favourite in the Gold Cup, ran a good race at Leopardstown but could only finish third. Pat Kelly’s stable star has drifted from 9/1 to 12/1 for The Gold Cup, a price that offers good value should he bring his best to Prestbury Park.
Marsh Novices' Chase
Elsewhere, Faugheen brought the house down at Dublin with a stunning win to claim his 11th Grade One race.
The legendary horse has several entries at Cheltenham, National Hunt Challenge Cup, RSA and the Marsh Novices Chase, but the most significant market move was in the latter of those. Faugheen had been 6/1f and has shortened to 4/1f for the Marsh Novices Chase. There also was a change in the RSA price, 14/1 to 11/1, but no alteration in the National Hunt Cup.
Itchy Feet also was the subject to significant market movement in the Marsh after landing Olly Murphy his first Grade One victory with a fine performance in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and has shortened from a massive 28/1 to 11/2.
The market for the Wednesday’s final race is often slow to take shape and has a new leader after Appreciate It was cut from 8/1 to 3/1 following a commanding victory over two miles at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Supreme Novices Hurdle
Asterion Forlonge’s very impressive performance to beat Easywork on Sunday has seen bookmakers cut his odds on landing the opening race of the Festival from 20/1 to 11/2.
How have your ante-post betting plans changed after the weekend's action? Let us know in the comments section below.