Market movers ahead of the Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is now less than a week away, but the ante-post markets are continuing to fluctuate as the meeting draws ever closer. Whether it be an injury concern, a video on social media of a horse working well, money coming in for a runner or a quote from a trainer, there has been movement at the fore of the some the Festival’s biggest races.
That said, read on as we take a look at some of the most notable market movers in the build up to the Festival getting underway on Tuesday.
Jonbon and El Fabiolo have toed and froed for favouritism at the top of the Cheltenham betting for the Arkle Challenge Trophy. The former was the long-time favourite for the two-mile novices’ contest on day one, and retained the market leader status despite El Fabiolo’s impressive 10-length win in the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
It was a drift after the Grade 2 Kingmaker that cost Jonbon the top spot. The Nicky Henderson-trained horse survived a scare to win by five-and-a-half lengths from Calcio in a two-horse race at Warwick, but the less than convincing nature pushed him out in the market and allowed El Fabiolo to swoop in.
However, his challenger Calcio won a Handicap Chase at Doncaster last weekend and that resulted in Jonbon shortening back to 6/4. That’s good for joint-favourite alongside the Willie Mullins-trained El Fabiolo.
Impaire Et Passe
From the same yard and owners as El Fabiolo, Impaire Et Passe is another Mullins-trained, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned horse vying for favouritism at the fore of one of the 14 Grade 1 contests.
Hermes Allen had been favoured to win the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for most of the season, and still holds a solid claim having gone three for three over obstacles for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden this season — including a course and distance win in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle in November and a Grade 1 triumph last time out.
However, in the last couple days, Impaire Et Passe had leapfrogged Hermes Allen as the favourite for the Ballymore — shortening to 5/2 from 7/2, while his British-trained rival has remained an 11/4 shot.
Arguably the most wide-open of the four Championship races — or if not, certainly the market that has chopped and changed the most — it’s hard to keep up with the Stayers’ Hurdle as the ante-post odds are constantly fluctuating.
The three-mile feature has had multiple favourites since the start of the season, with Flooring Porter initially tipped for a third-straight success. But his poor form, finishing fourth in both of his outings this season, resulted in him dropping back in the betting.
Teahupoo then led the market for a while after winning back-to-back races in Ireland, including the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Fairyhouse from 20/1. But it’s Blazing Khal who has held the favourite tag since returning from a 428-day absence to win the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan last month.
The seven-year-old has course and distance form after winning the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle in December 2021 and is on a four-race win streak, but his trainer Charles Byrnes revealed that he suffered a bad cut last time out and his participation now stems on a key piece of work this Friday. Blazing Khal has drifted from a general 5/2 to around 11/4 as a result.
Charleston Weekend Events
There’s ALWAYS something to do in Charleston – especially on the weekend. If you need help finding plans, just consult...