The Dormant Cheltenham Ante-Post Market

January 28th, 2018 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

I don’t appear to have missed much while I was away for a few days earlier this month.

My short break in Gran Canaria almost came to a grinding halt before it started when upon opening my I-Pad in the hotel I found that access to betting sites was prohibited. Fortunately thanks to guidance from the inhabitants of ‘Twitterland’ there was an immediate response to my plea for help and everything turned out well.

I’m not sure that the Cheltenham picture is any clearer following my return.

Apart from a small combination bet including Buveur D’Air for the Champion Hurdle and Native River for the Gold Cup, placed back in the autumn, I have not had an ante-post bet of any kind for the Festival.

In fact there has never been a season when my involvement has been so limited. It’s not that there aren’t horses that I expect to run well, but even with the NRNB concession the prices just don’t appeal – especially when taking into account the offers that will be around never the time or even on the day of the race.

I am far from alone in liking the claims of the superb-jumping Footpad in the Arkle Chase but at a top price of 6/4 those wanting to step in would be best advised to settle for a fraction shorter on the day.

We will know more about Faugheen after he runs next weekend and there is a case for speculating a little at the 5/1 without the NRNB concession because if he wins well then he could be down to 2/1. Buveur D’Air is obviously no sort of bet at a top price of 8/11 at this stage.

I still like My Tent Or Yours each-way. His record at the Festival stands up to the closest inspection and prices ranging from 12/1 to 16/1 each-way are not unattractive.

Sam Spinner has emerged from left-field in the Stayers’ Hurdle but I would no be fancying him to beat the established performers at this level. I have already stated my case for Supasundae, who makes some appeal at 7/1 each-way with the NRNB concession. There are doubts about yesterday’s winner Agrapart, who requires hock-deep ground, L’Ami Serge and Yanworth.

Nicky Henderson believes that Triumph Hurdle favourite Apple’s Shakira will prove as effective on good ground as she is with give, but she is untried in the hustle and bustle of a big field and she may be vulnerable. Redicean, who I seem to recall held a Derby entry in his days with Peter Chapple-Hyam, needs to brush up his hurdling technique but has a touch of class and at 10/1 makes some appeal.

I will be keen to take on Might Bite in the Gold Cup. In my view everything has to be absolutely right to win that race and, for me, he may still have an issue with Cheltenham. I don’t know what the latest news is on Native River – I gather he has had surgery on a leg – but the last word was that he was being kept fresh for a challenge at the Gold Cup and Grand National. The key to him is soft ground, which has to be a concern at Cheltenham in March.

We may see Our Duke and Coney Island next weekend while Sizing John has to show he is back in form following his latest run. Definitely Red is a reasonable outsider at 25/1 in the light of yesterday’s useful effort.

I am happy to stick with the each-way double I recommended a few weeks ago – My Tent Or Yours and Supasundae at odds of 16/1 and 7/1 if you can get it. Other that than nothing has really happened to encourage me to step in again.

Bye for now