With the frenetic Christmas and New Year racing programme now in our rear-view mirrors, we thought it was the perfect time to catch-up on some of the leading Cheltenham Festival fancies.
A number of plotlines have developed with the performances of Messire Des Obeaux and Clan Des Obeaux just two of our touchpoints.
Here’s the latest on the Road to Cheltenham…
Both of these Obeauxs are well worth backing
The Neptune Novices’ Hurdle and the JLT Novices’ Hurdle are our first ports of call with Alan King’s recent Challow Novices’ Hurdle winner Messire Des Obeaux one of the horses in focus.
In landing the spoils at Newbury on New Year’s Eve the talented five-year-old completed an impressive hat-trick and secured a maiden Grade 1 victory.
Granted, it wasn’t all straightforward. He hit the last and was driven out by Daryl Jacob but the way he surged ahead of his rivals prior to that mistake hinted at his class.
We make him a 12/1 shot for the Neptune although trainer Alan King is also considering a tilt at the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
However, it’s an upcoming Neptune trial where this Des Obeaux will be heading first and that contest should reveal plenty more about his Festival claims.
Meanwhile, Clan Des Obeaux was spotted at Prestbury Park a day later and he’s another novice we like the look of, despite eventually finishing behind Whisper.
The Paul Nicholls-trained jolly looked like he was gaining the upper-hand in his Dipper Novices’ Chase duel, only to clip the penultimate fence.
But despite that set-back, the way he gamely rallied up the hill in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies was a ready display of heart and guts.
Whisper won the day but the bookies can’t split the pair and both can be found at 12/1 in the JLT market.
CDO could be up against some classy rivals in the spring but we think he’s worth an each-way dabble.
Brace yourselves for another Closutton assault on the Champion Bumper
Willie Mullins put his Champion Bumper hopefuls through their paces over the festive period with Redhotfillypeppers, Ballyward, Carter McKay and Next Destination each obliging.
The first of that quartet looked to have plenty in hand when scoring at Punchestown while the second name on that list won by an incredible 16 lengths at Leopardstown.
Once again, all eyes will be on Willie’s wonders this spring.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing