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Eye on Cheltenham Festival – Altior odds-on to win Champion Chase as Min moves to top of Ryanair market

Altior (near) swooped past Un De Sceaux (far) after the last in the Tingle Creek.

We bring you the latest news and betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets between after the weekend’s racing at Sandown and Punchestown on Saturday 8th December.

Sandown Park was under the spotlight on Saturday, as the all-conquering Altior stepped out onto the rain-sodden track ahead of his reappearance in the Tingle Creek. The changing ground conditions may have favoured Un De Sceaux, who ran a fine race and jumped the last in the lead. However, Altior – who made a big error at the second fence – had enough left in the tank to pull away from his rival and extend his unbeaten record in excellent fashion.

Bookmakers were quick to react to Nicky Henderson’s star’s latest victory, with every firm now quoting the reigning Champion Chaser at an odds-on price to win again at Cheltenham. William Hill currently offers the best price, after flipping their original odds of 11/8 around to 8/11.

While Un De Sceaux had his Champion Chase odds trimmed into 12/1, Willie Mullins' charge looks set for a third tilt at the Ryanair, with William Hill cutting his odds in that two-and-a-half miler into 10/1. Saint Calvados and Sceau Royal, third and fourth in the Tingle Creek, slide down the Champion Chase betting following their defeats, with Betfair listing them at odds of 33/1 and 20/1 respectively.

The second big race on Sandown’s card was the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, with many expecting Lalor to produce a similarly sparkling display to that he registered on his chasing debut at Cheltenham. Sadly, for Kayley Woollacott and the horses’ growing fanbase, Lalor really struggled on the heavy ground, finishing third as Dynamite Dollars handed Paul Nicholls a Grade One victory.

The 4/1 joint-favourite on Friday morning, Lalor was pushed out to 8/1 in the Arkle betting by William Hill. Dynamite Dollars was dragged in from 25s to 14/1 in the Arkle betting, with Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan – who didn’t run this weekend – also having his odds clipped in from 13/2 to 5/1.

Definitly Red was the top performer on Becher Chase day at Aintree, cruising to victory in the Many Clouds Chase. Brian Ellison declared after the race that his charge would now be put on ice until the Gold Cup, for which his odds were cut in from 33s to 25/1 by William Hill. Chica Buena was another impressive winner oina Mares’ Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday, forcing Unibet to slash her odds in from 100/1 right into 20/1 for the Triumph Hurdle.
Sunday saw a depleted field take part in the John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown, with punters expecting a terrific tussle between Min, Shattered Love and Balko Des Flos. Willie Mullins’ favourite managed to get the better of his Gigginstown rivals, staying strong in the closing stages to secure a maiden Grade One victory over two-and-a-half miles.

After impressing over the trip, Min could now be pointed towards the Ryanair at Cheltenham and Ladbrokes make the Rich Ricci-owned chaser the new 5/1 favourite to triumph at the Festival. Shattered Love ran on well down the home straight to finish a two-length runner-up. Last year’s JLT winner was clipped into 12/1 from 14s with Ladbrokes in the Ryanair betting, with Betfair handing Gordon Elliott’s mare fresh odds of 25/1 in the Gold Cup market.

Willie Mullins’ hopes of landing a big-race double in Ireland on Sunday were dashed as odds-on favourite, Great Field crashed out at just the second fence in the Hilly Way Chase. While Great Filed slipped back to 20/1 in William Hill’s Champion Chase betting, Castlegrace Paddy – who saw off Doctor Phoenix and Special Tiara in decisive fashion – entered the Queen Mother betting on 33/1.

Charbel’s resurgences continued at Huntingdon, as Kim Bailey’s charge destroyed his rivals in the Peterborough Chase. While Bailey said he could step Charbel up to three miles before the end of the season, Ladbrokes slashed his odds in the Ryanair betting, bringing Charbel in from 25s to 10/1.

Bags Groove continued his fine form over fences with a powerful weight-carrying defeat of Thomas Campbell at Huntingdon, earning himself a new price of 20/1 in the betting for the JLT. Olly Murphy will have been very pleased with Brewin’Upastorm’s victory on his hurdling debut, with BetVictor choosing to slash his odds into 20s from 40/1 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle market.

One race that shook up the Cheltenham betting more than most came at Exeter on Friday, where several talented novice chasers clashed over two-and-a-half miles. With all eyes on Black Op and Topofthegame, it was a surprise when Defi Du Seuil scored a comfortable win and Betfair was quick to react, cutting his odds in both the JLT and the Arkle into 10/1 and 12/1 respectively.

Topofthegame got spooked by the starters tape and give his rivals a 25 length advantage. Yet, Paul Nicholls’ charge was still able to finish a not-so-distant second ahead of Black Op and Paddy Power rewarded him for his efforts, pulling Topofthegame into 10/1 for both the JLT and the RSA, with beaten-favorite Black Op moving in the opposite direction.

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Eye on Cheltenham Festival – Altior odds-on to win Champion Chase as Min moves to top of Ryanair market

We bring you the latest news and betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets between after the weekend’s racing at Sandown and Punchestown on Saturday 8th December.

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