Road to Cheltenham: Three As who enhanced their Festival claims

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Just in case you needed reminding, the long and winding Road to Cheltenham took a few thrilling twists and turns over the past weekend.

And the Ladbrokes News team were keeping a keen eye on some of the key market movers as the National Hunt season takes shape.

Of course, there’s still plenty more drama to enjoy before the Festival next spring.

But there’s certainly no harm in trying to pinpoint some antepost value before we head to Prestbury Park.

For the first in this season’s RTC reviews, we’re focussing primarily on three pretty special As…

Apple’s all the rage for the Mares’ Hurdle

Heart, class and an undeniable toughness are traits that turn National Hunt horses into cherished superstars.

Apple’s Jade showed all of those in abundance to end the unbeaten run of Vroum Vroum Mag and land the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

It was a bold call by trainer Gordon Elliott to run the four-year-old filly just eight days after such a hard-fought clash in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.

But he was well-rewarded with Apple’s Jade’s stunning victory resulting in her price being cut into 5/2 from 3/1 for the Mares’ Hurdle.

Vroum Vroum Mag remains the 2/1 jolly in that market but with her options extremely open there’s bound to be further interest in Sunday’s heroine.

Unbeaten Airlie Beach puts Mullins in seventh heaven

While Willie Mullins was left rueing Mag’s defeat, the Closutton handler had plenty to cheer half an hour beforehand.

Airlie Beach took her record to seven wins from as many races when scoring in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.

And later in the afternoon Getabird justified favouritism to land the bumper.

The former of the pair is now 5/1 to land the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham having been 10/1 previously.

Meanwhile, as reported on Saturday, Mullins’ Tingle Creek winner Un De Sceaux is now 8/1 (from 10s) for the 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Altior for the Arkle – or perhaps the Champion Chase?

Last season’s Supreme Novices’ hero Altior has made a glittering start to his career over fences with the Nicky Henderson-trained charge landing the prestigious Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

He’s come in to 7/4 for the Arkle but there are some suggestions Henderson may throw a curveball and put him in for the Champion Chase.

We’ll wait and see on that one but what’s not in doubt is the Seven Barrows star’s huge potential.

JOB doing a fine job of keeping up with tradition

Joseph O’Brien is doing a fine job of upholding his family’s fine training tradition with his three-year-old Landofhopeandglory notching a third straight win over hurdles having been switched from the Flat.

The precocious talent is now 6/1 favourite for next year’s Triumph Hurdle with the runner-up in Sunday’s contest, Bapaume, entered into the market at 12/1.

Josses Hill and Coney Island are looking good over the larger obstacles

Sunday’s Peterborough Chase winner Josses Hill put in a fine round of jumping and can be found at 12/1 for the Ryanair.

Elsewhere, Coney Island stepped up to the top level in style to take the Drinmore Novice Chase and make him a 10/1 shot for the RSA Chase.

Keep checking back for more on the Road to Cheltenham and the latest Festival odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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