With all or nearly all of the Christmas racing digested, CALUM LEITCH decides its now time to look at some antepost fancies and value prices ahead of the Cheltenham festival with one runner suggested each day this week.
If your not a big lover of the festive season, then you’ll be all too familiar with the fact that Cheltenham is creeping up very fast now that we are into the first week of January. It’s now 9 weeks until the famous Cheltenham roar will be heard and to kickstart the New Year I deem it appropriate to point out some value antepost selections that have caught my eye for a number of weeks and months.
A race won last year by Samcro, I wonder if the same connections of Gordon Elliott, Jack Kennedy and Gigginstown can repeat the feat which a horse who has been kept out of the spotlight, remains unbeaten, and is very far from a “talking horse.”
He’s now 2/2 over hurdles, winning at the required trip, beating the highly touted Willie Mullins star novice hurdler Tornado Flyer. Battleoverodyen exchanged for good money ahead of his romping hurdling debut success. His first star in a P2P was an impressive one, where he beat Court Liability, who has since gone on to win all four stars under rules, including off a lofty handicap weight on latest start.
Elliott’s charge seems to have requisite stamina and bred to be an outstanding staying chaser, something we will see more of next season. But he has enough dash to win this Cheltenham opener on Day 2, and he will be staying on strongly up the hill in a bid to remain unbeaten for last years winning connections.
Jarveys Plate is not to be underestimated after his performance last time but he may struggle to beat the market principles. I’m a big fan of Kateson, but the named horse was held by Champ last time who finds himself accordingly priced after some terrific performances, both in handicap and graded company. Champ is a very good finisher and traveller and there’s lots to like, but Battleoverdoyen could be a superstar and he is preferred at the odds as this is his likely target.
Stay tuned throughout the week to find all the festival fancies