Cheltenham Festival 2023 Market Movers – The Horses Shortened for Cheltenham Success
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2023 MARKET MOVERS
Are you searching for some Cheltenham Festival Tips? Well, why not start by checking out the horses who have been well backed lately in recent days following scintillating performances at the track. Harvey Mayson has picked out the horses that could be making a splash at the season’s biggets meeting.
Secret Reprieve won a thrilling renewal of the Coral Welsh Grand National to provide Wales with their second consecutive home-trained winner of the race. Evan Williams skilfully planned the seven-year-olds path to Chepstow, culminating in a three lengths victory on only his sixth start over fences. The horse earned a quote of 25-1 for the Aintree Grand National but his next outing could be in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Bookmakers quote Secret Reprieve at 16-1 for that race with Paddy Power going a more conservative 7-1 (with a run).
Imperial Aura was meant to underline his claims for the Ryanair Chase but fluffed his lines at Kempton when parting company with his rider at the second fence. Trainer Kim Bailey is likely to send him straight to Festival where has also been given an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Imperial Commander won that race in the same colours in 2010 but it would be a surprise if Bailey were persuaded to go there instead of the Ryanair. Imperial Aura has shown his best form over two and a half miles and remains a general 7-1 shot for his primary target.
Another horse who looks ear-marked for Cheltenham is Adagio, an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow. His odds for the Triumph Hurdle were slashed from 20-1 to 10-1 after defeating the highly-regarded Nassalam by two and a half lengths. It was 20 lengths back to the third horse which suggests the front two are well above average.
The German-bred has done nothing but improve since arriving at David Pipe’s yard and provided the trainer with his first Grade 1 success since 2015. The Triumph Hurdle market is dominated by the Irish-trained Zanahiyr and French Aseel from the powerful Elliott and Mullins yards respectively. Adagio will need to improve further but is arguably the pick of the juveniles for the home team at present.
Paul Nicholls had a red letter day on Saturday with a seven-timer paying 10.419-1. Master Tommytucker benefitted from the early departure of Imperial Aura at Kempton where McFabulous was a cosy winner of the Relkeel Hurdle. Although both horses hold Cheltenham entries, the consensus was that Aintree would provide more suitable objectives.
Nicholls is struggling to convince himself that McFabulous could turn Newbury form around with Thyme Hill and Paisley Park. He was beaten into third behind that duo in the Long Distance Hurdle. The Ditcheat Trainer also sees Aintree suiting the front-running Master Tommytucker much better than Cheltenham.
Exeter is not normally the stage for Cheltenham hopefuls but connections of Bear Ghylls have the festival in their sights after the gelding rattled off a fourth straight victory on Sunday. Trainer Nicky Martin is frustrated that the six-year-old cannot reproduce his immaculate home schooling sessions on the track but he certainly has a big engine and is quoted at 25-1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Next weekend’s principal meeting is at Warwick, a card which featured three subsequent festival winners 12 months’ ago. The Conditional (Ultima Handicap Chase), Sire Du Berlais (Pertemps Final) and Lisnagar Oscar (Stayers’ Hurdle) were all beaten at the Midlands track last year before striking gold at Prestbury Park.