2022 Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Market Movers

2022 Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Market Movers
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Another action-packed weekend of National Hunt racing threw up some outstanding performances that affected ante-post 2022 Cheltenham Festival betting odds.

Here’s our round-up of the main weekend movers and shakers from both sides of the Irish Sea.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

It was a relatively quiet weekend in terms of ante-post movement in Cheltenham Festival markets, but one horse stood out from the crowd and he is now the new favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Tuesday, March 15. That horse, of course, is Constitution Hill who made light of the thoroughly unpleasant conditions at Sandown on Saturday to win the Tolworth Hurdle by 12 lengths and it could have been many more.

It wasn’t a strong Grade 1, it rarely is, but that shouldn’t detract from the manner in which the Michael Buckley-owned five-year-old spectacularly swatted away his opponents in the manner of a horse that has the world at his hooves.


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The Tolworth Hurdle is hardly a rich source of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winners, indeed only Noland (2006) and Summerville Boy (2018) have completed the famous double this century. However, even that wasn’t going to prevent the best betting sites making Constitution Hill the new Supreme favourite at a general 2/1 (in from 4/1), usurping stablemate and JP McManus-owned Jonbon, who is also unbeaten in two hurdles starts.

Connections were blown away by the manner of Constitution Hill’s performance, especially his jockey Nico de Boinville - who was winning the Grade 1 contest for the first time.

Nicky Henderson’s stable jockey said: “This is some horse, quite an animal. I couldn’t believe when I looked round how far clear I was. He made very easy work of it. That ground was bottomless out there, but he made light work of it.

“I love his disposition. He’s so relaxed and like a pony. He just eats, sleeps and goes out. He wanders round at the start and does everything so easily. It was a great performance and I’m delighted. He is push-button to ride, honestly a jockey’s dream. I was blown away by that today.”

When asked to compare Constitution Hill with his previous Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winners Altior and Shishkin, De Boinville said: “He’s right up there. Barry [Geraghty] thinks that as well and he found him.”

It remains to be seen whether Constitution Hill is as effective on firmer spring ground, should conditions be dry in the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival, but he hardly looks short of speed. He will almost certainly turn up on the sport's biggest stage as the horse they all have to beat.

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Mares’ Hurdle

Earlier on the Sandown card, Martello Sky was clipped into 12/1 from 16/1 with betting sites for the Mares’ Hurdle after winning a Listed contest under Aidan Coleman.

Martello Sky could only manage eighth in last season’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, but she has won four of her five starts since (twice at Listed level) and she looks just about the best mare trained this side of the Irish Sea right now.

Martello Sky’s trainer Lucy Wadham said; “That was an amazing performance. Martello Sky hated the ground and down the back you could see Aidan (Coleman) was thinking 'should I pull her up?’, but once she was in with other horses she took off.


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“She is very talented, she's tough and she's improving. We were well treated by the weights today, but she needed to be tough to go out there and do that. We'll give her a break and then look at the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham for her.”

One of Martello Sky’s vanquished opponents was odds-on favourite Gauloise, the only runner on Sandown’s card to make the trip over the Irish Sea from Willie Mullins’ stable. However, she proved a bitter disappointment for her many backers and it has seen her pushed out to 25/1 for the Mares’ Hurdle by William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair having been around half those odds at the start of the day.

Round-Up Of The Other Cheltenham Festival Market Movers

White Pepper took a step up the juvenile hurdling ladder with a solid display of jumping at Fairyhouse on Sunday, earning herself an opening 16/1 quote on horse racing betting sites for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Britzka, second in a Grade 2 for Gordon Elliott on his previous start, found very little off the bridle, trailing in 16 lengths behind White Pepper and he’s been pushed out to 20/1 for the juvenile handicap having been a single-figure price market leader prior to the Fairyhouse contest.


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Last year’s Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle runner-up Saint Sam already looks like he’ll make a better chaser than he was a hurdler after looking a complete natural on chasing debut at Fairyhouse.

Sent straight to the front by Paul Townend in the 2m 1f beginners’ chase, Willie Mullins’ charge jumped and travelled for fun before easing clear from the second last to beat decent yardstick Thedevilscoachman by nine lengths.

It was a performance that caught the eye and Saint Sam was introduced into Arkle Chase betting at 20/1 by Coral and bet365. The gelding was also cut into the same price (from 40/1) for the Turners Novices’ Chase.