Cheltenham Festival 2023: Our 3 Early Ante-Post Tips
The 2022 Cheltenham Festival may be over but the 2023 ante-post markets offer us some early value and our racing expert Cian Kirby is back with three big priced selections.
Arkle Novices' Chase - Jonbon 10/1
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was one of the races of the Cheltenham Festival and the traditional curtain-raiser kick-started a fantastic week's racing on the Cotswolds.
Nicky Henderson was responsible for the winning favourite in Constition Hill, who had been sublime in both his starts at Sandown to date and he announced himself as the new kid on the block when bounding clear up the hill to win by 22 lengths.
His stablemate Jonbon, who was snapped up for a handsome fee of £570,000 after bolting up in a point-to-point at Dromahane in 2020, ran with plenty of credit to finish second but was ultimately no match for the winner.
A bumper victor on debut at Newbury last year, the six-year-old has been flawless over hurdles this season, racking up three victories in impressive fashion.
The JP McManus gelding made a big impression at Ascot in December by showing a useful field a clean pair of heels when beating the likes of Colonel Mustard, Knappers Hill and Elle Est Belle, who are no backmarkers.
With Constition Hill looking set to go down the Champion Hurdle route, a career over fences beckons for Jonbon and the current odds of 10/1 with the best betting sites look very attractive about Jonbon to emulate his full brother Douvan and become an Arkle Novices’ Chase winner.
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle - American Mike 10/1
After winning his point-to-point in Cork by 20 lengths last April, American Mike was purchased by Noel and Valerie Moran of Bective Stud for £195,000 and it's fair to say that it looks like money well spent.
The Mahler gelding wasted little time getting into the winning enclosure under rules when scoring with the minimum of fuss at Down Royal in October. He backed that up with another smooth victory at Navan when sent off the 1/8 favourite which prompted him to the top of the Champion Bumper betting.
Gordon Elliot said: "He's definitely one for the future. We thought he was showing us the right signs in his work during the week. We have a lot of nice horses coming through and we are looking for the next champion. He might not just have the speed Sir Gerhard (last year's Bumper winner) had but he's a proper horse."
A heavy ground Cheltenham bumper saw American Mike and Facile Vega battle it out in rain-softened conditions with the latter coming out on top. It was a huge run by both, with Facile Vega looking more likely to head down the Supreme route
Odds of 10/1 with William Hill for the Ballymore look more than fair for American Mike who will try to give Gordon Elliot his third winner in the race having claimed the honours with Samcro and Envoi Allen recently.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase - Hillcrest 20/1
The racing cliche of 'whatever he does over hurdles is a bonus' very much applies to the exciting Hillcrest, who after showing plenty of promise over the smaller obstacles could be the best horse Henry Daly has ever trained.
Henry Daly said: "My measuring stick goes to 18 hands and it won't go over him – he's very tall. He's enormous but he's obviously got some talent, too."
"He just gallops but he doesn't need to make the running. It's only because he can that he does. He's got a great mind as well and he'll get further but he's not too bad at this trip so we may stick to that."
After racking up four wins this season, Hillcrest was sent off a well-backed 9/4 favourite to land the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
Racing toward the rear of the field, the gelding never jumped or travelled with any fluency and was pulled up before 3 out. That was his sixth run of the season and it may have been one run too many.
Set to be put away for the rest of the year, Hillcrest should be a force to be reckoned with over fences and the 20/1 available with horse racing betting sites to win the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase makes plenty of appeal.
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