Only one place to start and that is worth the incredible Constitution Hill. Nicky Henderson deemed the ground unsuitable at Ascot last week, but Ascot’s loss was Newcastle’s gain and he put in a devastating performance to land the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Some are calling him the best hurdler ever and not surprisingly he is now odds on to land a first Champion Hurdle in March. He is just 4/7 with Bet365 for big race at Prestbury Park.
Presse shows Gold Cup class
Staying at Newcastle and the Rehearsal Chase saw another horse who connections decided to skip Ascot last week with. L’Homme Presse had to carry top weight, but he scored in the style which suggests he can be a big player in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Venetia Williams’ charge is now only 7/1 3rd favourite for the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival.
Powered and West impress
Moving back to Friday and the opener at Newbury which saw one of the most impressive maiden hurdle winners of the season so far. Nicky Henderson’s Jet Powered was an expensive purchase after winning an Irish point nearly a year ago and he looks a really good recruit. He is now just 6/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair for the Supreme.
On Sunday at Naval another maiden hurdle winner put in a very promising performance. As usual Willie Mullins has plenty of potential top class novice hurdlers and Grangeclare West has every chance of being the best of them based on his 13L victory at the weekend. On the back of that his price plummeted to 5/1 with Bet365 for the Albert Bartlett and 10/1 with Bet365 for the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival.
Grand National clues
They were the main Cheltenham movers this week, but we also saw a couple of potential Grand National contenders win the 2 big handicaps on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Coral Trophy saw an impressive performance form Dan Skelton’s Le Milos and he was talking about going to Aintree in April after the race. He is now 25/1 with Bet365 for the big race. Corach Rambler won at the Cheltenham Festival last season and he found himself very outpaced on his seasonal return. He stayed on very well though to finish 4th behind Le Milos and it was a great Grand National prep. He is now just 20/1 with Bet365.
The Troytown was the big race at Navan and The Big Dog showed yet again that he has plenty of stamina as he won the tough handicap in decent style. He is into 25/1 with William Hill and Betfred for the Grand National.
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