Cheltenham Festival Market Movers - 08/02/22

Sir Gerhard - Supreme Novices' Hurdle- 11/2 into 3/1

The first horse that moved in the betting for the Cheltenham festival was last year's Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard who went from 11/2 into 3/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Having been electric on hurdles debut over Christmas at Leoaprdstown, on Sunday he returned over the same course and distance at the Dublin Racing Festival looking to land his first Grade One over timber.

Taking on some smart types in Three Stripe Life and My Mate Mozzie, he went to clear away after the last taking the contest by six lengths.

Still undecided whether he will go for the Supreme or the Ballymore, he has put himself well in the picture to land more Grade One honours.

Ahoy Senor - Brown Advisory Novices' Chase- 10/1 into 5/1

The next smart performance from the weekend that saw a market mover for the festival in just five weeks time was the Lucinda Russell trained Ahoy Senor.

Having been a Grade One winner at Aintree's Grand National meeting last year over hurdles, the yard were very excited to see what he could do over fences this term.

Although unseating on debut at Carlisle, he went to Newbury in the Grade Two John Francome Novices' Chase and bolted up by 31 lengths.

Looking to land his first Grade One over fences at Christmas in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase, he was out jumped the whole way round by Bravemansgame and had to settle for second.

Looking to get back on track last weekend he managed to land the Grade Two Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby, never coming off the bridle.

This has now seen him come into 5/1 for the three mile Grade One at Cheltenham from a previous price of 10/1

Good Time Jonny - Coral Cup- 25/1 into 10/1

One of the bigger market movers from the weekend that not many punters would of heard of but will not be forgotten now is the Anthony Martin trained Good Time Jonny.

This season the horse has turned into a very nice handicap hurdler, winning two of his four starts whilst also placing on seasonal debut.

Over Christmas the gelding won a nice event over 2m4f at Leopardstown off a mark of 120.

His handler on Saturday decided he could handle the step up to three miles and staying the trip expertly, he went on to beat the gambled on Rightplacerighttime in the handicap hurdle.

He is now being seen as a big contender for the 2m5f Coral Hurdle at the festival being the 10/1 favourite from a previous 25/1.

Facile Vega - Champion Bumper - 3/1 into 1/1

One of the most impressive winners from the Dublin Racing Festival at the weekend was the Willie Mullins trained Facile Vega in the Grade Two bumper.

The highly talented son of Walk In The Park out of six time Mares Hurdle winning Quevega, has been thought of very highly by the yard ahead of this season.

Making a superb debut at Leopardstown over Christmas when winning by six lengths on the bridle, back over the same course and distance on Saturday he threw out a freakish showing.

The five year old took on some smart types and went on to cruise away by 12 lengths, showing clear ability when asked for more under Patrick Mullins.

Showing he is getting better and better with each run he is now the the 4/5 favourite for the Champion Bumper having been 3/1 before his success at the weekend.

Minella Crooner - Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - 10/1 into 6/1

The first race of the day on Saturday at Leopardstown saw a shock winner for Willie Mullins in the Grade One over 2m6f, with Minella Crooner stealing the race from the front under a great ride by Danny Mullins.

The David Bobbett owned six year old was a bumper winner at Kilbeggan last June by 10 lengths and was then saved for this term.

Making his debut over hurdles in November at Cork over two miles, he was a good second but needing a step up in trip, he went to Navan over 2m4f and got off the mark for the season in taking style.

Stepping up a further 2f at the Dublin Racing Festival he saw off the chasing pack from the front to take the Nathaniel Lacy Grade One.

He was 20/1 for the Albert Bartlett ahead of the race at the weekend but is now the joint favourite at 6/1 with most firms.

The second also in that race at the weekend was the Gordon Elliott trained Minella Crooner who is another that moved from 10/1 into 6/1 and over the further trip in Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle could reverse the form.

Conflated - Gold Cup - 100/1 into 12/1

The penultimate horse we want to talk about arguably gave us the shock of the weekend with Conflated for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown winning the Irish Gold Cup.

A horse that could not win a handicap before its last race before the Dublin Racing festival was a huge 50/1 at the start of Saturday and after some support in the betting ring he went off at 18/1 and hosed up by over six lengths from the Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

The eight year old has to now be in the frame for the main event at the Cheltenham festival and after that sparkling performance under Davy Russell, he is now 12/1 to land the Gold Cup from 100/1.

Vauban - Triumph Hurdle- 8/1 into 9/4

The final horse we want to note in the betting for the Cheltenham festival is the superstar Vauban who landed the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle on just his second ever hurdles start.

The Willie Mullins trained and Rich Ricci owned youngster on debut for the yard and over obstacles was a half length second to the smart Pied Piper.

With the latter bolting up over the Triumph Hurdle course and distance in the Grade Two Trial at Cheltenham to boost the form, Vauban was thought of very highly.

He himself produced the goods at the DRF on Saturday when seeing off the old favourite for the Triumph Fil Dor, travelling beautifully and powering home after the last.

Vauban was 8/1 for the Grade One event before the weekend and is now the 9/4 joint favourite with Pied Piper.

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing