Altior and Min both put their best hoof forward to enhance their Cheltenham Festival claims on an exciting weekend of racing at Sandown and Punchestown.
The pair could still clash in what would be an ultra-exciting renewal of the Champion Chase. But we think their paths to the Festival could culminate in different destinations.
We’ve rounded it all up in this week’s Road to Cheltenham.
Altior – Champion Chase – 8/13 from 11/8
Was there ever really doubt over Altior in the Tingle Creek Chase? Nicky Henderson’s raider brushed his rivals aside to take the Grade 1 contest and a 15th win on the spin over obstacles.
After swatting three seriously talented horses to the wayside, it’s difficult to see how anyone or anything can stop the eight-year-old. He’s now 8/11 for a second consecutive Champion Chase.
Min – Ryanair Chase – 5/1 from 10/1
Shattered Love and Jack Kennedy gave Min a real scare in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on Sunday. Just ask Ruby Walsh, who almost got edged out on the run-in.
Willie Mullins’ pairing just about held on to take the Grade 1 contest with a performance full of guts and determination. Eyelashes were soon fluttering over a possible clash with Altior.
But the trainer quickly dispelled rumours by hinting that Min would go wherever the Champion Chase favourite doesn’t. That looks set to be the Ryanair Chase, where he’s now 5/1.
Tornado Flyer – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – 12/1 from 14/1
It was a solid if unspectacular debut over jumps for Tornado Flyer at Punchestown. The Mullins five-year-old did enough over the obstacles before quickening to land the contest at 4/9.
Bigger days lie ahead for the son of Flemensfirth, who could be headed to Naas for a Novice Hurdle in January. If he comes through that, then the Ballymore could be next.
He’s currently the 14/1 second-favourite for the race. That puts him ahead of Truckin Away, who had looked impressive prior to falling at Sandown over the weekend.
Lalor – Arkle Chase – 8/1 from 4/1
Cast your mind back three weeks and Lalor was the talk of the town after producing a barnstorming run to take the November Novices’ Chase.
Fast forward to the present day and a 12l defeat in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase has punters running scared. Was it the ground, the quick turnaround or the opposition?
Either way, Kayley Woollacott’s runner is now out to 8/1 for the Arkle. Be warned, though, another win between now and March and that price will almost certainly shorten again.
Definitly Red – Cheltenham Gold Cup – 33/1
Now look. We’re not saying that Definitly Red is going to win the Gold Cup – far from it. But it’d be remiss of us not to mention his each-way potential off the back of another gutsy win.
Brian Ellison’s raider remains a 33/1 shot for the Cheltenham showpiece. That’s probably about right, given that he came home in sixth last year over 39l behind the winner.
Take into account the below-par performances of the likes of Might Bite and Clan Des Obeaux at Haydock, though, and we reckon there could be some potential there.
Click here for all our 2019 Cheltenham Festival odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication