Three Biggest Cheltenham Market Movers From The Christmas Period

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Maxxum - Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final - 25/1 into 4/1

The five year old Maxxum was one of the biggest movers over the Christmas period for Gordon Elliott with the Patrick Rabbitt owned gelding now the 4/1 stand alone favourite for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final from 25/1.

Since joining Gordon Elliott in October the gelding has gone from strength to strength, making an exciting seasonal debut when second over 2m 4 1/2f at Punchestown in a 21 runner handicap off a mark of 99.

Being seen next at Navan in a similar event off 103, he got off the mark for the season in a big way landing the big fielded handicap by nine lengths, with the step up in trip to 2m6f playing to his strengths.

Raised to a mark of 120 for his run over Christmas when running in a qualifier for the Cheltenham event, he absolutely bolted up by 16 lengths to make a mockery of the field and his handicap mark.

Moved into the 4/1 favourite from 25s for the Pertemps final, he has been moved up 17lb by the Irish handicapper to a mark of 137, with it yet to be seen what the English handicapper will do.

Home By The Lee - Stayers Hurdle - 20/1 into 6/1

A surprise package in the Stayers Hurdle division this season has been the Joseph O'Brien trained Home By The Lee who has been massively progressive and currently sees himself unbeaten for the season when finishing his races.

Seen in November at Navan in the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle he took on the likes of Flooring Porter, Bob Olinger and Ashdale Bob and went on to see off the field well in the final stages at big odds.

Still not taken seriously in the Stayers Hurdle betting market, he put that right over Christmas at Leopardstown when taking on similar horses again, this time at three miles in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle and he was even more impressive than before when winning well by three lengths.

This saw him go to the top of the betting for the Grade One Stayers Hurdle at Prestbury Park being a best price of 6/1 from a previous 20/1 outsider.

Hermes Allen - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle - 10/1 into 7/2

The final big mover over the festive period, where there was plenty, came on New Year's Eve where Hermes Allen for Paul Nicholls landed the trainers third straight win in the Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle and saw his price massicely contract for the Ballymore at the festival.

One of the most expensive PTP horses this season, the French bred gelding cost £350,000 at Cheltenham's December meeting and was given to Paul Nicholls.

Unleashed for the first time over 2m6f in October at Stratford when easily landing the Maiden hurdles event by 27 lengths, he was last seen being sent to Cheltenham on the Friday of the November meeting up into Grade Two company and saw off a very smart field by nine lengths going away.

The Cheltenham markets reacted accordingly to the strong performance with Hermes Allen going from 33/1 into 10/1 for the Ballymore in March but after his win on Saturday he has gone even shorter for the race now a general 7/2 with most firms.

He is the stand alone favourite for the race after a superb victory in the Challow, beating You Wear It Well by close to five lengths.

However, do take note that not one of the last 19 winners of the Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle have gone on to win the Ballymore.

Can Hermes Allen break that trend?