Last year this blog highlighted Concertista @ 25/1 and Dame De Compagnie @ 20/1. 2nd and 3rd in the Gold Cup and 2nd in the Kim Muir. Hopefully we can find another couple of big price winners!
Horses that run well at one Cheltenham Festival generally run well at subsequent Cheltenham Festivals either due to the way the races are run or because connections target a return and here we look at those who finished in the Top 5 of each race of the Cheltenham Festival 2020, the in-running low and where they are now and what the targets could be this season.
Shishkin – has looked a real natural over fences and won comfortably on chase debut at Kempton over 2m2f before dropping back to 2m for the Wayward Lad Grade 2 again at Kempton. He looks to have the 2m speed but 2 1/2 mile stamina which should mean he’s very hard to beat over the 2m trip at Cheltenham. I currently think he would be as strong as Envoi Allen in the Marsh Novices Chase.
5/6 for Arkle & 20/1 for Marsh Novices
Abacadabras – (in running low of 1.15) – 2nd at Down Royal in a Grade 2 behind Aspire Tower before winning the Grade 1 Morgiana at Punchestown beating Saint Roi. He was disappointing in the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle when only 5th beaten over 23 lengths but Gordon Elliott does have a quieter period over Christmas and the horse has proven form at Cheltenham. 3 of the 4 to finish in front of him at the Cheltenham Festival – Shishkin, Thyme Hill and Envoi Allen. Can now be backed at the same price as when he crossed the line behind Shishkin.
20/1 for Champion Hurdle, 40/1 for Arkle
Chantry House – (in running low of 7.20) – has been sent chasing and won a Novice chase at Ascot when sent off 4/9. Was disappointing when taking on Fusil Raffles and Lieutenant Rocco at Cheltenham over 2 1/2 mile. Is he likely to drop back in trip now. If he does, can you really see him being anywhere near Shishkin at the finish. Not really sure what to make of Chantry House at this stage.
50/1 for Arkle , 33/1 for Marsh Novices & 33/1 for RSA Chase
Asterion Forlonge – (in running low of 2.70) – jumped badly right handed in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and arguably did well to finish 4th. It was interesting to see it was this Donnelly horse that was well backed whilst Shishkin was very weak. He returned this season and won a Beginners Chase at Punchestown comfortably. He fell on his most recent start at Limerick in a Grade 1 chase when sent off 4/6f. Mullins generally sends smart horses to that race with Faugheen, Bellshill and Felix Yonger all having won that race before (Al Boum Photo fell). Having jumped out to the right at Cheltenham, is he likely to be seen back at Cheltenham this year or saved for Punchestown? I think more the latter.
33/1 for Arkle, 33/1 for Marsh Novices, 33/1 for RSA Chase
Allart – (in running low of 22.00) – pitched straight into a Grade 2 Chase on chasing debut against Fiddlerontheroof who had chasing experience (3 runs) and it was clearly a good performance from Allart to win going away. Very much reminds me of Mister Fisher who ran well in the Marsh Novices Chase last year but found 3 too good. If Allart does turn up in the Marsh Novices then Envoi Allen is the obvious one he would have to take on.
25/1 for Arkle, 16/1 for Marsh Novices, 20/1 for RSA Chase, 25/1 for Grand Annual