Cheltenham Festival Market Movers And Drifters From The Weekend

Fakir D'oudairies - Arkle Chase - Steamer

The first horse we want to talk about this weekend is the returning Fakir D'oudairies for trainer Joseph O'Brien and this smart hurdler last season was making his chasing debut at Navan on Sunday.

Last term the four year old won at Cheltenham in January and was bought for a hefty fee by JP McManus and now it looks like a very shrewd sale.

The gelding placed in some smart events last season finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the festival before narrow seconds in Grade Ones at the Grand National and Punchestown festivals.

On his first outing over the bigger obstacles he was superb seeing off the established Melon who was also having his first try over fences but Fakir D'oudairies out jumped him all the way to land the Beginners Chase.

Before this race he was 20/1 for the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham festival but now has steamed into second favourite at 10/1, being 8/1 with some firms.

Santini - Gold Cup - Drifter

These week as well as the market movers we are also looking at horses that may not have performed to their normal standards and have drifted in the betting markets for Cheltenham.

We start with Gold Cup hopeful Santini who made his comeback at Sandown in the Listed Intermediate Chase over three miles and although winning it was not convincing.

Nicky Henderson's seven year old had a stellar season last term starting his season off in good style at Newbury on soft ground when taking a Grade Two Novices Chase not beating a whole lot but a nice race to start the season off.

He then went off to Kempton on Boxing Day and finished third in behind Topofthegame and La Bague Au Roi and was arguably the horse to take out of the race.

He stayed on emphatically and got himself back in contention to go and win the race, coming from so far off the pace and looked like a horse to follow next time.

In the lead up to the Cheltenham festival he suffered little niggles at the yard and Henderson was not sure whether he would head to Prestbury Park.

However, he got there and was a superb second to Topofthegame with the race showing how close they are in talent to each other.

This season he had been tipped for a huge campaign but gave a very underwhelming comeback narrowly hanging on in the four runner event and looking like a sluggish and laboured version of the Santini we know.

This has not helped him the Gold Cup betting market seeing his odds drift out to 12/1 from 10/1in places and if running like that in the big Grade Ones he will be blown out of the water.

Andy Dufresne - Ballymore Novices Hurdle/ Albert Bartlett Hurdle - Steamer

One of the performances of the weekend came on Sunday at Navan from the Gordon Elliott trained Andy Dufresne who has only raced three times during his career but looks one of the most highly anticipated horses to follow this season.

The JP McManus owned five year old won a three mile point to point contest for his trainer back in March last year and showed his clear potential that day.

In 2019 he made his rules debut at Down Royal in a bumper where he romped home to back up his credentials and many thought he would head to the Champion Bumper.

Elliott has been very patient with this gelding not racing his since his win in January and missing out last seasons Grade One at the festival and on the weekend he made his hurdles debut.

Many punters had been waiting for this run since his bumper run in January and he did not disappoint, demolishing the field over 2 miles 4f in a Maiden Hurdle.

This saw big movements in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle market where his trainer already has the current favourite but now has the second favourite with Andy Dufresne now 10/1 from a previous 25/1.

He also went into favourite for the Grade One Albert Bartlett on the Friday at the festival from 33/1 to now a best priced 14/1.

Fakir D'Alene - Champion Bumper - Drifter

Another story of underperforming from the weekend came in the bumper at Navan on Sunday and Gordon Elliott's Fakir D'Alene headed the market on his rules debut but was looked a shadow of the horse that won his point to point.

Back in May of this year he scored nicely at Broughshane on his first start in a point to point and after that was bought for £160,000.

He was held in very high regard but on his first bumper start but he finished a mid-field seventh of 16 runners and looked nothing special whatsoever.

For the Cheltenham bumper before that outing he was a solid 33/1 but now can be backed as big 66/1 with most high street firms.

Cilaos Emery - Champion Chase - Steamer

The final market mover from the weekend we want to focus on is the Willie Mullins trained Cilaos Emery who has had a very unlucky career but now looks to be back to his best.

The seven year old looked ready last season to get back amongst the big races after having almost two year off the track through injury and went on to win a 17 runner Beginners Chase at Gowran Park.

He was tipped highly after that run for the Arkle Chase at Chase but suffered another injury setback to the frustration of his trainer but this season he has recovered and is back again.

He got back to winning ways in the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase at Naas easing to a 10 length victory which has now seen the betting market for the Champion Chase change massively.

Mullins has never won the Grade One that has been dominated by Altior for the past few seasons but could this season with Cilaos Emery now 9/1 from 20/1.

Apple's Jade - Stayers and Champion Hurdle - Drifter

One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the return and defeat of Apple's Jade in the Grade Three Lismullen Hurdle which is a race she has dominated for the past few seasons.

The seven year old mare is a 10 time Grade One winning hurdler but at the back end of last season and now the start of this one looks a shadow of that horse.

She has never really faired well at Cheltenham putting in her worst performances of her career there and with how she performed on Sunday it has seen her negatively drop in odds for some of the bog Grade Ones at the festival.

The three mile Stayers Hurdle looks the more likely contest she will head to this season and before Sunday she was a general 14/1 to take the spoils but is now as big as 33/1.

She went off favourite for the Champion Hurdle last term after three superb performances before she headed over to England and could be a possibility again this season.

If she was to run in it she could go off at 33/1 having previously been 20/1 before the weekend.

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