Cheltenham Festival Market Movers - 31/01/22

Stattler - National Hunt Chase - 5/1 into 3/1

The first market mover this week for the Cheltenham festival was the Willie Mullins trained Stattler who massively enhanced his credentials for the National Hunt Chase.

The talented hurdler last term has looked an even better animal over fences this term, with the National Hunt Chase always been a big target throughout the season.

Making his chase/seasonal debut at Fairyhouse over 2m5f he was a six length winner of a decent Beginners Chase and then at the weekend made it 2/2.

Taking on some potential superstars in Vanillier, Farouk D'Alene and En Beton, he went on to stay out the three miles the best to win by just under two lengths.

This has now seen him go from 5/1 second favourite for the NH Chase into 3/1 favourite with most firms.

Mercurey - Champion Bumper - 33/1 into 5/1

Another horse from over in Ireland that made big waves in the Champion Bumper market this week was the Willie Mullins trained Mercurey.

The Rich Ricci owned four year old looks to be a very well bred gelding who made a superb debut over two miles at Gowran Park on Thursday.

Being heavily backed into 30/100 favourite before the off he cruised to victory under a great ride by Patrick Mullins, to win eased down by 13 lengths.

Before that event he was 33/1 for the Champion Bumper but now with most firms can be backed around 5/1 for the Grade One event on the Wednesday.

Paisley Park - Stayers' Hurdle - 33/1 into 7/1

One of the most popular winners at the weekend was the Emma Lavelle trained Paisley Park who put himself firmly back in the Stayers' Hurdle picture after landing the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle.

The superstar 10 year old has found things tough over the last few seasons not winning since December 2020 when narrowly taking the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle.

Since then he had been seen five times, being pulled up once but on the other four occasions running on strongly as ever into third each time.

Getting back to Cheltenham this weekend for the first time since his third in the Stayers' Hurdle last term, he went on to do what he does best when looking well beaten, to then outstaying the whole field to win fairly comfortably.

He saw off Stayers' Hurdle favourite Champ by close to four lengths to see his price for the Thursday Grade One at the festival go from 33/1 into 7/1.

Pied Piper - Triumph Hurdle - 16/1 into 5/2

Finally, one of the most impressive performances of the weekend came from the ex John Gosden horse trained Pied Piper, who now over hurdles for Gordon Elliott looks a serious animal.

Having been a fair horse on the flat, really coming across a mud loving animal producing his best work in tricky conditions, he also did this on stable/hurdles debut at Punchestown.

Taking on the smart type for Willie Mullins in Vauban, he handles the heavy ground well to see him off by a length.

Facing a different test at Cheltenham at the weekend when running in a Grade Two event on good ground, he went on to shock many in the sport by bolting up by nine lengths, hard held.

This saw his price of 16/1 for the Triumph Hurdle be slashed immediately into 5/2 with most bookmakers.

A serious talent.

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee