Racing Review and Cheltenham Festival 2014 Tips – The highlight of this weekend’s racing came from the home of National Hunt Racing, Cheltenham. With the two-day International meeting one of the few remaining meetings at Cheltenham before March, owners and trainers where keen to bring out some of their key Festival prospects. We have a round-up of all the important action!
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Oscar Whisky won over chases for the first time on Friday, with a front running performance of great merit. He beat the useful Wonderful Charm by half a length, with the former Grade 1 winning hurdler always doing enough to keep his head in front. His next port of call looks more than likely to be The Dipper Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, with the RSA possibly his ultimate aim for the Festival.
Sire Collonges (8/1 Stan James – Cross Country Chase) is sure to be back in March for the Cross Country Race. This was his second time over these fences, and he seems to be taking to it really well, after staying on gamely under pressure. It was a great ride under jockey Ryan Mahon, who timed the race to perfection. In terms of the Cross Country Chase he should face a stern opponent in the form of Balthazar King who, in recent runs, has become very proficient over the cross country fences.
The New One (7/2 Betfred – Champion Hurdle) was impressive when beating Zarkandar in the Stan James International Hurdle, re-enforcing his position as favourite for the Champion Hurdle. He is set to take on My Tent or Yours in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. They’ve both been impressive so far this season, but The New One might just have the edge with an extra run under his belt. In terms of the Champion Hurdle we are sure to know more after the Boxing Day clash, but at the moment I can’t split them.
Double Ross was the first part of a double on the card for the Twiston-Davies’ as he won the December Gold Cup beating the likes of Cantlow and Colour Squadron. As of yet his future plans haven’t been decided but he seems to relish good ground, and is definitely one to follow on this basis. Cantlow is likely to step up in trip to three miles, after staying on strongly in the race.
In terms of a World Hurdle prospect, More Of That (10/1 BetVictor – World Hurdle) impressed alot of people when winning the Relkeel Hurdle on Saturday. He managed to get the better of some good up and coming youngsters, remaining unbeaten in four starts over hurdles.
Away from Cheltenham, there was a fantastic renewal of the Peterborough Chase at Huntington last Thursday. Riverside Theatre took victory by overhauling Champion Court and Captain Chris. Typical of his character, connections had to wait until the last strides for the horse to win, showing that all of last season’s problems are well behind him. Champion Court ran admirably as he put in a gallant and gutsy performance to finish a close second. Behind these came Captain Chris who, if it wasn’t for a slight mistake at the last, could well have finished closer. All three have entries for the King George, with Riverside Theatre also holding one for the Gold Cup.
Finally, over in Ireland, Briar Hill (12/1 Ladbrokes – Neptune Novices Hurdle) made his second appearance over hurdles in a Grade 1 novice event at Navan. With only one other challenger the race turned into a bit of a farce and didn’t take a lot of winning. He remains unbeaten but his jumping wasn’t overly convincing and he will have to improve to be taken seriously for any of the top novice hurdling honours at the Festival in March.
Current Ante-Post Prices –
Sire Collonges (Cross Country Chase) (8/1 Stan James)
The New One (Champion Hurdle) (7/2 Betfred)
More Of That (World Hurdle) (10/1 BetVictor)
Briar Hill (Neptune Novices Hurdle) (12/1 Ladbrokes)
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