Gordon Elliott is no stranger to winning handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival and it is no real surprise that Carlito Brigante is one of the big market movers to win the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Elliott sent Sir Des Champs to win the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at the 2011 Festival, with the same Carlito Brigante landing the Coral Cup in the same year. Handicap success has continued this season with Cause Of Causes, who triumphed in the valuable Ladbroke Hurdle before Christmas.
Carlito Brigante has been backed into 6/1 from 8/1 for this 2m4f contest and it is his fourth-placed finish in a five-runner race at Cheltenham in November that offers the best insight into his chances.
He was running off top weight that day and gave 8lb to Dynaste, who has since run to a 30lb higher mark when taking the Feltham Chase on Boxing Day.
Even more interesting is that Carlito Brigante has been dropped 3lb by the handicapper for this defeat, despite the fact he was well in contention until the final two fences, when he faded.
Unsurprisingly, trainer Elliott has not run him over fences again since to preserve his mark and there are certainly grounds to believe he is significantly well-in to win the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.
The seven-year-old is not the only horse to come in for support in recent days. Bostons Angel has been backed into 8/1 from 10/1 for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and he has looked slightly rejuvenated this season since debuting in this sphere.
Punters may also be expecting a Willie Mullins one-two in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, with Tarla now 10/1 from 14/1 as some each-way value is sought behind heavy favourite Quevega.
Elsewhere, there has been support for both Champion Court (8/1 from 10/1) and Menorah (10/1 from 12/1) for the Ryanair Chase, alongside Edeymi (7/1 from 10/1) for the Coral Cup.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.