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Nicholls Duo the Biggest Market Movers Following the Cheltenham Open Meeting 15/11/10

The status of the Cheltenham Open meeting continues to grow year on year and its reputation as the best three days racing outside of the Festival in March is a consensus that anyone in attendance at Prestbury Park over the weekend would agree with and for punters and bookmakers, it provides plenty of early season insight in to many leading contenders for several of the Festival’s feature races.

There were four winners of the Open meeting’s 18 races that really caught the eye, all of them instantly promoted to the head of the antepost betting for the respective races for their divisions at the Cheltenham Festival.

Cue Card
© racing-images.co.uk

Cue Card

The most impressive winner of the three days came on Friday afternoon in the Grade Two, Cheltenham Collection Sharp Novices Hurdle, in which the 8/13 favourite, Cue Card justified the hype surrounding him in emphatic style. On just his second start over hurdles, the 2010 Champion Bumper winner looked every bit as good as when winning here in March, putting in a good round of jumping before asserting himself to go clear up the hill, winning with hands and heels with the nearest of several useful rivals some eight lengths back in second.

Immediately after the race, the odds on Cue Card winning the Supereme Novices Hurdle were cut from 6/1 to as short as 2/1 clear favourite, with the best price currently available on him landing the opening race of the 2011 Festival 3/1 with Ladbrokes .

Sam Winner
© Grossick Racing Photography

Sam Winner
The odds were also trimmed for the Neptune Novices Hurdle but trainer, Colin Tizzard, said after the race that his runner would more likely be aimed at the Supreme and wouldn’t rule out a tilt at the Champion Hurdle, for which he is generally a 16/1 chance, cut from odds of 33/1 prior to his Cheltenham reappearance.

The biggest market move of the weekend came in the antepost betting for the Triumph Hurdle, in which the Paul Nicholls trained Sam Winner was cut from 33/1 to 7/1 following his demolition of 14 rivals in the Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday. Making his first appearance on a British racecourse, the French import won by 15 lengths and has the hallmarks of another exciting Ditcheat prospect that will seemingly take all the beating in March.

Ghizao
© Grossick Racing Photography

Ghizao

Another Paul Nicholls youngster who impressed was Ghizao, who landed the Independent Newspaper Novices Chase on Sunday. A seasoned campaigner at Cheltenham with five of his eight runs to date coming at the Gloucestershire track, he was making only his second start over bigger obstacles and clearly benefited from his jumping debut when finishing second over course and distance in October to land this by ten lengths and it could have been more and was installed as the 12/1 favourite to win the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Another novice chaser who was made favourite, this time for the Royal Sun Alliance Chase, was Time for Rupert who won on his first start over fences in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices Chase. Runner up to Big Bucks in the World Hurdle on his last start, there was no doubt that the Paul Webber trained runner wouldn’t get this 2m 5f trip on a course where he has yet to finish out of the top two in four starts and clearly sets the standard that other up and coming staying chasers this season will need to surpass.

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