THE 2022 Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching and we are starting to get a feel for how the markets for the meeting’s top races may shake out.
Some feel like unattractive punting propositions already – anyone want to take on odds-on favourite Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle?
That said, there is plenty of value to be found elsewhere and it’s time to start properly filling out those ante-post portfolios.
There will be hits and misses, with key meetings in the run up to the Festival and with almost inevitable injuries to contend with.
But all being well, we’ll make it to the start with a few healthy ante-post positions.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL ANTE-POST PORTFOLIO
Ferny Hollow (Arkle) 11/10
Redemption Day (Champion Bumper) 6/1
1pt double at EXCLUSIVE BOOSTED odds of 16/1 with Paddy Power
With the Dublin Racing Festival fast-approaching now is a good time to delve into the Cheltenham markets.
Big-names will clash at Leopardstown next weekend and they’ll be some serious shake ups looking ahead to Cheltenham too.
As such, I’m keen on a double of Willie Mullins-trained horses now, before we likely see them in their final prep races pre-festival.
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The first is Ferny Hollow, who will be odds-on for the Arkle this time in two weeks if he wins either of his potential engagements at Leopardstown.
He’s far likelier to turn up in the Irish Arkle as opposed to the Dublin Chase but he should go off favourite for either one he does pitch up in.
He’s 11/10 of the Arkle now and I think that could look like serious value before long.
He impressed me hugely at Leopardstown over Christmas, where he batted away a classy mare in Riviere d’Etel despite her lofty weight allowance.
He’s becoming something of a serial winner but remains unexposed for the most part over fences and should only improve again from what we have already seen.
He’ll form the first leg of a double alongside another talented member of the Mullins squad – Redemption Day.
The Champion Bumper is shaping up to be a cracker with American Mike and Facile Vega leading the market after impressive displays this winter.
However, the price disparity between those two and Redemption Day is too much for me to ignore and so I’ll take Paddy’s 6/1 and pair that with Ferny Hollow.
Patrick Mullins barely moved a muscle as he guided Redemption Day to his debut success at Leopardstown last month.
It often gets said that an impressive winner didn’t get out of second gear – I’m not sure Redemption Day got out of first gear.
There’s was evidently a huge amount more in the tank that day as he eased clear of a well-regarded young horse of Gordon Elliott’s.
There’s clearly a huge amount more to come and the Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing festival could be next.
That could mean a clash with either, or both, of American Mike and Facile Vega and a serious shake up in the Champion Bumper market.
Now’s the time to get on.
Bets already advised
Call Me Lord (Coral Cup)
1pt e/w at 25/1
Allegorie De Vassy (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle)
1pt win at 7-1 with Bet365
Shishkin (Queen Mother Champion Chase) 11/10
Honeysuckle (Champion Hurdle) 4/5
Galopin Des Champs (Festival Novices’ Chase) 7/4
1pt treble at combined odds of 8/1 with Paddy Power
Sir Gerhard (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
1pt win at 5/1 with Paddy Power
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