Three Horses Not To Give Up On Ahead Of The Cheltenham Festival

Minella Indo

The seven year old has raced 11 times during his short career and has only finished outside the top three once in his point to point and rules career to date.

Two seasons ago on his final two starts over hurdles he really came to life landing the Grade One Albert Bartlett at the festival at a huge price of 50/1 and then backed that up at the Punchestown festival when landing another classy Grade One.

He went novice chasing last season and after running well on debut behind star mare Laurina, he landed a Beginners Chase at Navan before narrowly being beaten in the RSA Novices' Chase at the festival, With Champ pipping him on the line.

Coming out of novice company this term he started his season off at Wexford at the back end of October in the Grade Three Memorial Chase where he jumped the field into submission, going on to win the event by 25 lengths.

Having again put up another superb performance his handler targeted the Savills Chase over Christmas at Leopardstown and it was the first time in his career that he put in a poor performance.

The gelding went off favourite for the event but suffered the first fall of his career when crashing out with a circuit still to go in the event.

This saw him drift slightly in the Gold Cup betting to 10/1, but we believe he is worth sticking by for the Cheltenham event if jumping better, having bundles of staying ability

Epatante

Although still a horse that punters have not fully given up on, Epatante in the Champion Hurdle is a horse that may be overpriced after her latest performance.

The JP McManus owned superstar has been seen eight times since coming to England under Nicky Henderson and has gone on to land six of her races, including three Grade One events.

Last season she started off in the Gerry Feilden Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury and then on her final start before Cheltenham landing the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

This set her up perfectly for the Champion Hurdle when going off favourite and under a cool ride by Barry Geraghty went on to land the prestigious event with ease.

She is the mare to beat in the two mile hurdling division again this season and cemented that thought on seasonal debut when landing the Grade One Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, never coming off the Bridle.

She went to Kempton on Boxing Day looking for her second win in the Christmas Hurdle and caused one of the biggest shocks over the festive period when getting beat at 1/5.

The mare was well beaten by Silver Streak by 6.5 lengths, who she had previously beat on three occasions and on the day was not up to her usual standards.

She drifted slightly in the betting for the Champion Hurdle but is still the favourite and has gone back out to a price we believe is worth backing.

Although not herself last time out she is still the horse to beat in the division and with the 7lb allowance and getting back to her best, she could be a dual winner of the race.

Defi Du Seuil

Defi Du Seuil has been a superstar for Philip Hobbs over the last few years landing numerous Grade Ones over both hurdles and fences and he makes his return in the Shloer Chase on Sunday at Prestbury Park.

Having been faultless in his three runs last term before the festival, winning all three of his contests over two miles including back to back Grade Ones in his last two runs in the Clarence House and Tingle Creek.

He headed to the festival going into the Champion Chase that fell apart in truth, and gave a below par effort, with everything going wrong for the chaser on the day.

Back for another season, Hobbs was hoping he could bounce back to form in the Grade Two Shloer Chase which he landed last term, but again gave a very underwhelming run which saw him pulled up before the finish.

Although it is worrying he has not shown the best of his ability on his last two starts and has been prone in the past to run below par, he is still a Grade One winning hurdler and chaser that has been a superstar in the past.

With that in mind we think that the 20/1 on offer for the Champion Chase may be worth taking as an each way bet as if he gets back to his best in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January, then he will be much shorter for the race at Cheltenham.

The saying class is permanent, form is temporary really does sum this horse up and we are hoping that he can bounce back before the festival and show the real Defi Du Seuil

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