By Sean Goff | Cheltenham 2013
With the Cheltenham ante-post markets as fluid as Paddy’s latest betting on the new Pope a couple of key trials over the weekend has made the picture a little clearer.
Newbury and Leopardstown threw up some impressive winners with Nicky Henderson’s My Tent or Yours, Paul Nicholls’ Silviniaco Conti, Willie Mulins’ Sir Des Champs and Dessie Hughes’ Our Conor all shortening in the market for Cheltenham 2013.
My Tent or Yours was awesome in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and was immediately rushed into 9/4 favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by Paddy Power and given a tentative 6/1 quote with a run for the Champion Hurdle behind Hurricane Fly.
AP McCoy’s mount now has a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 163+ (the ill-fated Darlan was rated 165+) and JP McManus has some serious thinking to do as their second favourite Jezki also runs in his colours.
Silviniaco Conti was given a RPR of 175 while Sir Des Champs (169+) after both won their respective trials and hardened into 11/2 and 7/2 respectively for the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Bobs Worth.
Will Flemenstar race against Sprinter Sacre?
Flemenstar’s connections must be feeling a bit like Roberton Mancini at the minute after a season that promised so much has suddenly run out of steam. He’ll go for tests today and may need a shot of Casey’s viagra if something is wrong.
The Caseys are known to favour the 2m Champion Chase – which would involve a mouth-watering clash with Sprinter Sacre – on the Tuesday but the 2m 5f Ryanair Chase – for which he is the 4/1 favourite is another option.
Our Conor (RPR 146+) was a very impressive winner in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle and is joint 11/2 favourite with Rolling Star (149+) for the Triumph Hurdle in a race Ireland last won in 2002 with the Willie Mullins-trained Scolardy.
Mullins’ 2012 Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever (RPR 150) ran out a ready winner of the 2m 2f Deloitte Hurdle on Sunday and is 14/1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle but has been supported at 9/1 for Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle over three miles.
Unioniste and Boston Bob were narrow winners of their respective trials and remain on a RPR of 146 and are 11/2 and 10/1 behind David Pipe’s 9/4 favourite Dynaste (rated 165+) for the RSA Chase.
Jeremy Scott’s Melodic Rendezvous is 8/1 for the Supreme Novice Hurdle and 12/1 for the Neptune Novices Hurdle on the Wednesday after cantering over the previously unbeaten Puffin Billy from the Oliver Sherwood yard at Exeter on Sunday.
It’s a trip to the vet for Sherwood’s beaten runner who’s been pushed out to 25/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but the trainer had better luck with Many Clouds earlier on the card but he’s likely to be targeted at Aintree instead.