One of the best things about betting ante-post for the Cheltenham Festival over a month in advance is that some lengthy prices are still available, especially with numerous horses far from certain with their race plans.
There is the obvious disadvantage of money effectively going down the drain if a chosen horse doesn’t line up, but that is the risk taken when bigger prices are available.
Smaller stakes on the biggest odds makes this risk more manageable and below are two Cheltenham entrants that are currently available at three-figure prices that may be much shorter come race day.
Given the demolition job carried out by Un De Sceaux in the Irish Arkle against two high-class opponents, there is a real possibility that many of the fancied entrants for the English equivalent will run scared for an alternative engagement instead.
Few will bet against Un De Sceaux winning the Arkle if he stays up and he has looked the stand-out 2m novice of the season. Expect at least a handful of those in the next tier of the betting to run in the 2m4f JLT Novices’ Chase instead, or forego the Festival altogether.
What this does mean is that a small field can be expected for the Arkle, but some smaller trainers will see this as a big opportunity to pick up a decent windfall by sneaking one of the places.
Ben Case is one such trainer, who has only had one Cheltenham winner in total across the last five seasons.
The main reason for the optimism towards Case’s Deep Trouble was his run in the Kempton contest formerly known as the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase last time.
Approaching the final fence, he was bang in contention with Vibrato Valtat and Three Kingdoms before taking a heavy fall.
Yet now Vibrato Valtat is 14/1 for the Arkle. Based on that 2m contest, 33/1 looks a fairer price on Deep Trouble than 100/1.
With the JLT now potentially set for an overload of runners, there will be some horses with more assured stamina that could step up themselves – into the RSA Chase over 3m.
O’Faolains Boy won the RSA despite having an official rating of 144 last year, which goes to suggest horses can find improvement at Cheltenham.
Fine Rightly has only been contesting novice chases in minor company so far, but was quite eye-catching last time at Ayr last time on a first start stepped up to 2m4f.
He was conceding 3lb to a horse with the same official rating and ran out a cosy four-length winner, without ever being asked a question.
That victory came off 132 and it could easily be upped to a performance of a rating of 140+.
Fine Rightly is unproven over 3m, but stamina appears no issue given his results on heavy ground, while he is a clever jumper that is solid in the main.
Further improvement is obviously needed, but over an untested trip, it is not out of the question that he could relish the longer distance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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