Cheltenham ante-post betting suggestions: weekend review 20-21 February
Slot Betting critiques the latest Cheltenham Festival ante-post odds after some standout performances this weekend at Newbury and Ascot
There was a bumper weekend of leap racing action in Britain, with Saturday’s meetings at Ascot and Haydock bolstered by a rescheduled Newbury card that provided a correct ‘Super Sunday’ feel.
The last main weekend of jumps racing before the Cheltenham Festival is within the books and listed below are the weekend eye-catchers to take from it.
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Game effort keeps Champ in picture
Odds correct at time of publishing and topic to vary.
Having ventured the opinion that Champ would need to display nearly Kauto Star-like ability to win the Betfair Game Spirit Chase over two miles on his seasonal return on Sunday, his sole prep run for next month’s Gold Cup, Nicky Henderson’s cost very practically pulled it off at Newbury.
With some massive and bold leaping, last year’s RSA Chase winner was in a place to set the pace within the Grade 2 contest on his first run for 347 days and since a wind operation. As the likes of Greaneteen and Fanion D’Estruval toiled, it was left to Champ and Sceau Royal to battle it out.
Champ’s only poor jump of the race came on the final and it gave the initiative to Alan King’s admirable and versatile performer, a possibility he grasped wholeheartedly in recording an emotional success for connections just a day after they lost L’Ami Serge.
It was the efficiency of Champ that may most likely garner most attention. For those of a thoughts to see him win subsequent month’s Gold Cup, this was a perfect return.
The journey was a good distance in want of his optimum and he raced keenly enough, however it’ll bring him on markedly and, with lower than 4 weeks till the showpiece race, this will not leave a dent on him. It may prove a masterstroke from Henderson.
It’s the first time Champ has been beaten over fences but there have been a lot of positives to take from the race. He may even be the worth name in a Gold Cup where the likes of A Plus Tard, Frodon, Santini and Kemboy all have questions towards them.
Goshen again within the groove
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to alter.
Following his merciless unseating of Jamie Moore at the final flight of the Triumph Hurdle last 12 months, Goshen was expected by many to come back this season as a leading Champion Hurdle contender.
He was twice overwhelmed on the Flat within the autumn and then turned in a bitterly disappointing run within the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. That performance was mitigated when a fibrillating coronary heart situation was revealed nevertheless it still left coach Gary Moore scratching his head for solutions.
On Saturday the true Goshen returned to win the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton by a streak from the consistent Song For Someone, with Buveur D’Air’s Haydock conqueror Navajo Pass back in third spot.
It was a nice statement from Goshen and a win that was extensively greeted with joy in racing circles. He seems to have his mojo again and is now the chief menace on paper to the main girls, Epatante and Honeysuckle, within the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday 16 March.
His hopes of a redemptive Annie Power-like return to The Festival are as robust as they’ve been at any level within the last 11 months.
Gowel Road reigns supreme
Odds correct at time of publishing and topic to vary.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has by no means been afraid to tackle a problem and the Naunton handler notably relishes such exams after they come at close by Cheltenham.
He will have been thrilled to see the proficient Gowel Road make it two wins on the trot at Newbury on Saturday under son Sam Twiston-Davies as they comfortably reversed previous course kind with the Paul Nicholls-trained French import Good Ball in profitable a Class 3 novices’ hurdle in good fashion.
Having completed second to the gifted Bear Ghylls on his racecourse bow at Ffos Las in November, Gowel Road didn’t jump properly sufficient in finishing fourth behind Good Ball at Newbury over Christmas. The winner appeared very helpful, with the type of his Auteuil second within the autumn strong.
Gowel Road has recorded back-to-back successes at Newbury since then, scoring on heavy going final month and on good to gentle on Saturday, both occasions by 5 lengths or extra.
Sam Twiston-Davies revealed after the race that Gowel Road was “a little bit of a insurgent to interrupt in” and “not the completed article by any means”. His father has a decision to make regarding the Festival curtain-raiser nevertheless it wouldn’t be a shock if he rolls the dice and Gowel Road could make for a lively outsider within the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
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