Cheltenham Festival 2023: Ante-Post Market Movers

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Ante-Post Market Movers
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What a weekend. We’ve finally caught our breath after Honeysuckle’s defeat in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse but the upshot of Teahupoo’s shock 20/1 Grade 1 success is that Constitution Hill now looks almost certain to go off the shortest-priced Champion Hurdle favourite this century.

Ante-post Queen Mother Champion Chase betting lists were given a bit of a shake up by Edwardstone’s brilliant performance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown but what did we make of Shishkin? More on him below.

Noble Yeats looks a potential dark horse for the Gold Cup after Saturday’s success in the Many Clouds Chase and we got to see the potentially brilliant Facile Vega, whose hurdles debut could hardly have gone any better.

We’ve been fortunate enough to witness some top-class performances over the past seven days, which threw up a handful of potential candidates to use your Cheltenham offers on.

Let’s spin through the horses that created the biggest impressions and impacted 2023 Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets over the last seven days.

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Honeysuckle Defeat Leaves Champion Hurdle at Mercy of Constitution Hill

"It was always going to happen some day, that's unfortunately the reality of it," a dejected Henry De Bromhead told the assembled racing media after Honeysuckle’s shock defeat in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, a race she had made her own in the last three years.

Her first defeat in 17 career starts resulted in bookmakers doubling her Champion Hurdle odds to 8/1 but the bigger question now is, will Honeysuckle even make it to Cheltenham to defend her crown? 

That remains to be seen but it would be hard to find anyone that believes Teahupoo can even give Constitution Hill a race so it’s no surprise Sunday’s big-race winner is a 20/1 chance (from 66/1) for a Champion Hurdle that is looking more like a one-horse race by the week. 

Constitution Hill is now a general 2/5 chance, with State Man now second favourite (6/1). 

Edwarstone Leads Changing of the Guard in Two-Mile Chase Division

Ante-post Queen Mother Champion betting lists were given a major shake-up over the weekend after Edwardstone powered away from Greaneteen to win the Tingle Creek Chase in decisive fashion. 

Shishkin may be disappointed but the runner-up, who won the race last year, ran his race once again and that provides major substance to the performance of a horse who was having his first start of the season, something his trainer commented on afterwards.

Alan King said: "Whatever he did today he was going to come on for it. He is a big heavy horse and that is why we couldn't risk him earlier in the season. 

He added "I know there has been a lot said about it but we do know what we are doing with these horses. I had in the back of my mind that we would go to Kempton Park for the Desert Orchid but I will see. 

"We are working back from the Queen Mother now. Whether we go one or two runs I don't know. The Game Spirit will come into it but it is a nice problem to have. 

"I really wanted to get today out of the way. He has exceeded my expectations. The Tingle Creek is one of my favourite races."

Edwardstone is now a general 3/1 second favourite with horse racing betting sites for the Champion Chase behind reigning champ Energumene and the likely strong pace of that contest is going to really suit this sweet-travelling horse.

Going the other way in Champion Chase lists was Shishkin who never really travelled with his old zest and a bad mistake at the Pond Fence put paid to his chance. 

However, he did see his race out and so it was no surprise afterwards that connections are now going to go up in trip with him - he did win a three-mile point after all. With that in mind, it was no surprise to see his Ryanair Chase price shaved into 7/1 from 10/1.

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Jonbon Sparkles in Henry VIII Novices' Chase

Jonbon is now as short as 6/4 with betting apps for the Arkle Chase after an almost flawless display in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Last year’s Supreme runner-up only had three rivals but Boothill is an improving 147-rated horse and Jonbon simply swatted him aside. 

The winner’s leap at the last and the way he came up the hill suggests Jonbon had loads in the locker and although we have yet to see the best of the Irish two-mile novice chasers, they are going to have to be pretty special if they are to lower the colours of Nicky Henderson’s charge come March.

The winning trainer said afterwards: "There's a certain amount of relief, I think everyone was expecting and hoping to see that and like at Warwick. Jonbon was as good as you could wish to see, he's very clever with a very high cruising speed. 

"He's a genuine two miler at the moment but I'd love to find out how far he can stay. 

"Don't worry, we're not going anywhere else at the moment - we'll stay at two miles for now because he's so quick. He's doing everything right so far."

Yeats Enters Gold Cup Reckoning

Success in the Grand National is often the pinnacle of a horse’s career but in the case of Noble Yeats we might just have a horse capable of going onto even better things.

Still only seven years old, Noble Yeats showed the kind of turn of foot you rarely see from a staying chaser when he swept past Dashel Drasher and Ahoy Senor between the final two fences to win the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

It’s a long way off being form that entitles him to win a Gold Cup so at this stage it is difficult to see him winning the festival’s blue-riband event at this stage but connections didn’t rule out a dart at the big one afterwards.

Trainer Emmet Mullins said: "They went a good gallop and probably softened each other up in front and luckily we were there with stamina in abundance, and Noble Yeats has come through and picked up the pieces. 

"We were very hopeful after his lovely run at Wexford, which wasn't his introductory run of the season, to just get us back on track. 

"It's another step up the ladder and he seems to be progressing all the time. Everything's a possibility and we won't rule anything in or out today, and get him home to see how he takes it."

Galopin Des Champs is still the strong market leader in the Gold Cup but Noble Yeats is now just 10/1 (from 66/1). 

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Vega Looks a Natural on Hurdles Debut

Supreme Novices' Hurdle betting is all about one horse, according to betting sites - and anyone holding an ante-post slip about last year's Champion Bumper winner Facile Vega will be feeling good after Willie Mullins unleashed his star novices over hurdles for the first time at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

Sure, he didn't beat a great deal, although it's fair to say the runner-up has some potential, but it was the way Facile Vega negotiated his obstacles that impressed onlookers the most and he barely came out of first gear to saunter 14 lengths clear of his nearest rival after the last flight of hurdles.

It was a performance that had his trainer purring with excitement and Mullins said afterwards: "I was very happy how he jumped, he hurdled like a handicapper. Paul was happy that he was well within himself the whole way round. He was very slick for a horse having his first run over hurdles and making his own running.

"I don't know what happened at the third-last but when Paul gave him a squeeze after jumping it, he said that he just took off. It was very pleasing and we will look at Christmas now."

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Full List Of This Week’s Ante-Post Market Movers

 Constitution Hill (Nicky Henderson) - 2/5 from 8/11 for Champion Hurdle

Honeysuckle (Henry De Bromhead) - 8/1 from 4/1 for Champion Hurdle

Teahupoo (Gordon Elliott) - 20/1 from 66/1 for Champion Hurdle

Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins) - 10/1 from 33/1 for Gold Cup

Edwardstone (Alan King) - 3/1 from 14/1 for Champion Chase

Shishkin (Nicky Henderson) - 14/1 from 4/1 Champion Chase

Shishkin (Nicky Henderson) - 7/1 from 10/1 for Ryanair Chase

Brave Seasca (Venetia Williams) - 33/1 (first show) for Ryanair Chase

Brave Seasca (Venetia Williams) - 10/1 from 20/1 for Grand Annual Chase

Jonbon (Nicky Henderson) - 6/4 from 2/1 for Arkle Chase

Facile Vega (Willie Mullins) - 5/4 from 7/4 for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Marine Nationale (Barry Connell) - 10/1 from 16/1 for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Authorised Speed (Gary Moore) - 25/1 from 33/1 for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Mighty Potter (Gordon Elliott) - 5/1 from 10/1 for Turners Novices’ Chase

Better Days Ahead (Gordon Elliott) - 10/1 from 20/1 for Champion Bumper

Chapeau De Solei (Willie Mullins) - 10/1 from 6/1 for Champion Bumper

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