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Motion Chance Hinges or Rain Arriving at Cheltenham
11/03/11

You suspect that if Emma Lavelle could be granted one wish a little over a week ahead of the bid by her Court In Motion to land the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, it would almost certainly be that the heavens above Prestbury Park would open and deposit copious amounts of rain on the turf, ensuring soft ground for her leading contender, writes Elliot Slater.

Court In Motion
© Racehorse Photos

Court In Motion

Although he can act on a decent surface, there is absolutely no doubt that Court In Motion is far more effective when the mud is flying and with less than five days to go to the opening day of this year's National Hunt extravaganza reports suggest the ground is drying out and is no worse than 'good to soft'. Those who were planning on backing him may want to look at the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting instead.

Lavelle is certainly due a change of fortune having only recently seen her stable star and former Cheltenham Festival winner Crack Away Jack leave her care and join champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

A win at Exeter on his seasonal bow and a good second place effort behind the ill-fated Backspin in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December marked the Fruits Of Love gelding down as a potential Cheltenham winner, and after his demolition of the opposition in Grade 2 company at Warwick in January (on his favoured heavy ground), Court In Motion was promoted to ante-post favourite for the three-mile 'Albert Bartlett' Hurdle.

Sent off an 8/13 favourite at Haydock last month in another Grade 2 contest, Lavelle's charge suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Howard Johnson's newcomer Back In Focus (another who needs testing ground), and was subsequently replaced as favourite for Cheltenham by the northern raider.

Nicky Henderson's exciting youngster Bob's Worth has now been promoted to favouritism for the big race and heads the market at 6/1. Back In Focus can be backed at 8/1 along with Irish raider Oscar's Well, whilst Court in Motion, together with Champion Court and Kilcare Kim, is a 10/1 chance

Meanwhile, the Grand National betting prices offer very few clues as to who will win the World's Greatest Steeplechase this year.

The Midnight Club is currently favourite, but a whole host of horses are just behind him in the ante-post list.

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