The Cheltenham Festival clues to emerge from the Open meeting
The recent three-day Open meeting offered a number of pointers ahead of the Cheltenham Festival next spring.
But what can we take from the weekend’s action and how did the bookies react?
Here’s our look at some of the highlights…
Peregrine Run was visually impressive
Cast your minds back to Friday if you can and the competitive Hyde Novices’ Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s pre-race favourite Baden drifted like the proverbial barge and remains winless under Rules.
The 5/2 jolly Wholestone did his best to prove the late money was right but even he couldn’t hold off the swooping Peregrine Run.
Having stalked his prey, jockey Roger Loughran hit the front after the last and sauntered to an impressive Grade 2 score. The striking son of King’s Theatre has been put in as a 25/1 shot for next year’s Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.
Fox Norton is improving all the time
Everything’s going the way of trainer Colin Tizzard with Fox Norton the latest star to emerge from his Dorset yard.
The six-year-old’s nine-length success in the Shloer Chase completed a hat-trick of wins at Prestbury Park and in turn saw his odds for the Champion Chase cut from 20/1 to 6/1 as the money poured in.
Whether he’ll prove to be the successor to the great Sprinter Sacre remains to be seen but Fox Norton has certainly turned a few heads lately.
Moon Racer is your Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite
Sunday’s Sharp Novices’ Hurdle was billed as a battle between the two previous Champion Bumper winners as Moon Racer and Ballyandy went head-to-head.
And it was the former who came out on top with David Pipe’s charge now the 8/1 favourite for the 2017 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle following his two-and-a-quarter-length win over Mirsaale.
Ballyandy was back in third with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner 16/1 to take the big juvenile prize having now finished behind Moon Racer in each of his previous two appearances.
Thistlecrack divides opinion
Depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on Thistlecrack is either flattering to deceive or a Gold Cup certainty.
Only three opponents stood in his way of going two from two over fences with the 1/7 jolly duly obliging.
However, his jumping wasn’t faultless and that’s led some to question Thistlecrack’s King George and Gold Cup claims.
That said, our traders were convinced enough to cut Tizzard’s superstar into 3/1 from 7/2.
Taquin Du Seuil remains a class animal
Most of the talk before Saturday’s Gold Cup revolved around Jonjo O’Neill’s More of That and his trainer’s claims that he was the ‘best he’s ever trained’.
But in the end it was O’Neill’s second string that did the business with Aidan Coleman eventually steering Taquin Du Seuil to a hard-fought victory.
The 2014 JLT Novices’ winner has found it tough going at the top level but this latest victory served as a reminder that the nine-year-old retains plenty of ability.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing