Coral Racing News
Tuesday 15th January 2019
   

Five Cheltenham Festival ante-post outsiders to keep an eye on

The countdown to the Cheltenham Festival is on, with less than two months to go until the famous roar greets the runners in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on 12th March 2019. 

We can’t wait until the tapes go up to signal the start of four days of fantastic racing. So we’re getting our eye in early with five ante-post outsiders to keep an eye on.

Elixir De Nutz – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 

Where better to start than the opening race? This year’s Supreme looks wide open, with a number of Irish trainers yet to show their hand due to the unseasonably good ground. No matter, Elixir De Nutz is one we’ve been sweet on all season for Colin Tizzard.

The five-year-old is as game as they come – a trait which he showed to excellent effect earlier this month with a hard-fought Tolworth Hurdle win. He quickened away from his hurdles superbly that day and will likely be rested until Cheltenham now.

Previous Tolworth form works out pretty well too. Last year’s 1-2 returned home in the same positions in the Supreme, giving you a sense of how big an indicator the Kempton contest can be. Elixir De Nutz is currently 12/1 with the Coral traders.

Bellshill – Cheltenham Gold Cup 

The Gold Cup market is wide open, too. Favourite Presenting Percy has yet to run this term, while last year’s 1-2 of Native River and Might Bite have disappointed in both the Lancashire Chase and the King George. Kemboy’s win in the Savills Chase doesn’t look a great piece of form either.

Looking further down the list – it’s Bellshill who catches our eye. Willie Mullins’ raider shaped well to finish fourth on reappearance in the Savills Chase. Further insight will be gleaned from a possible run in the Irish Gold Cup early next month.

If he comes on once again then his 16/1 odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup should shorten in a market which, at the moment, lacks a standout candidate.

Bellshill

Paisley Park – Stayers’ Hurdle 

Paisley Park isn’t an outsider as such. But there’s enough juice in his odds given the form to make him a workable alternative to Penhill and the Mares’ Hurdle-bound Apple’s Jade.

Emma Lavelle’s progressive seven-year-old completed a hat-trick to land a strong looking Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas. Another prep-run in the Cleeve Hurdle looks set to follow, before the hold-up horse is unleashed in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival.

He’s currently 9/1 for the race – in from 12/1.

Paisley Park

Champagne Classic – RSA Chase

It’s been a difficult 18 months or so for Champagne Classic. The eight-year-old has been missing in action since winning a Grade 1 contest at Punchestown in April 2017. Gordon Elliott’s charge injured his leg after that success, and looks set to return over fences rather than hurdles in the Flogas Novices’ Chase next month.

That potential run at Leopardstown will be his chasing debut. And if the eight-year-old impresses over the bigger obstacles, then the RSA Chase could be the aim. The Stowaway gelding is a huge talent, and if connections can get his return right, the Festival 20/1 shot could be right in the mix.

Espoir D’Allen – Champion Hurdle 

Not long ago Espoir D’Allen was 50/1 in places for the Champion Hurdle. Now he’s 25/1 with the Coral traders. That will shorten again if Gavin Cromwell’s charge produces another taking performance in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas on 27th January.

The five-year-old has swept aside all before him so far this term, quickening impressively just after Christmas to upset highly-rated 4/6 favourite Stormy Ireland in a Grade 3 contest at Limerick.

There’s no guarantee connections will choose to take on the might of Buveur D’Air so early in the raider’s career. But he’s been left in so far. And on that basis, it’d be churlish to ignore the Voix du Nord gelding. 

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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication