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Eye on Cheltenham - Lalor and Malone Road make waves in Festival betting after stunning wins this weekend

Richard Johnson riding Lalor clear the last to win the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices Chase at Cheltenham.

We bring you the latest news and betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets after some top-quality horses wowed fans at Cheltenham and Punchestown this weekend.

National Hunt fans could be forgiven for turning up at work a little glassy-eyed on Monday, after we were treated to three days of fantastic action from Prestbury Park. The most impressive, and most poignant victory of the weekend came on Remembrance Sunday, as Lalor made a winning start to life over fences.

Kayley Woollacott - who lost husband, Richard at the start of the year - was clinging onto the rail in tears as she watched Lalor cross the line, after the top novice hurdler from Aintree produced a foot-perfect jumping display to see off Dynamite Dollars in the Arkle Trial. Lalor’s odds for the main event at the Festival were rightly slashed following such an impressive display, with Ladbrokes cutting Kayley Woollacott’s stable star in from 25s to 6/1 favouritism for the Arkle.

Another stand-out performer at Cheltenham on Sunday was Sceau Royal, who returned from a lengthy injury lay-off by winning the Shloer Chase in excellent style. Alan King’s charge missed an outing in the Arkle last year, but he was cut into 14/s from 25s in the Champion Chase betting by Ladbrokes.

All eyes were on Seddon in the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle, but Tom George’s charge was upstaged by Elixir De Nutz, who jumped much better than all his rivals and showed good flat speed on the extended run to the line. While William Hill entered Elixir De Nutz into the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 33/1, Seddon slipped back to the same price in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival opener, from his previous position of 20/1.

Punchestown staged their popular Morgiana Hurdle meeting on Sunday, but the gloss was taken off the big race after Supasundae and Samcro were withdrawn on the morning of the race. Faugheen went off as the odds-on favourite, yet, it was his stablemate Sharjah who picked up the victory, easily seeing off the defending Morgiana winner on the run to the line.

The beaten favourite's odds in the Champion Hurdle drifted way out to 50/1 after that loss, but few expected Faugheen to stay over two miles throughout the campaign anyway, with the Stayers’ Hurdle his most likely Cheltenham target. While Ladbrokes pushed Faugheen’s odds in the three-miler out from 6s to 10/1, BetVictor remain unmoved, quoting Faugheen as the 3/1 favourite to win the Stayers’ Hurdle in March.

Daryl Jacob riding Sceau Royal (green) clear the last to win The Shloer Chase.

Faugheen wasn’t the only odds-on favourite to suffer defeat at Punchestown on Sunday. Champion Bumper winner Relegate was beaten on his first start over hurdles and slipped back to 33/1 from 16s in the betting for the Ballymore. After Martin Pipe winner Blow By Blow suffered a surprise defeat, Ladbrokes pushed his odds out from 25s to 40/1 to win the RSA. William Hill, however, took a different view on the race, cutting Blow By Blow’s odds in the four-mile National Hunt Chase in from 25s to 20/1.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive performance on Irish soil this weekend came from Gordon Elliott’s Malone Road, who clocked a fantastic time when powering to victory in Sunday’s card-closing bumper. The Cheveley-Park owned youngster shaped like a real star for the future in seeing off Mt Leinster and Coral installed him as the new favourite for the Champion Bumper, cutting Malone Road’s odds in from 14s to 5/1.

Mt Leinster was powerless to deny his rival and saw his Cheltenham odds drift out to 25/1. Behind Malone Road, The Glancing Queen and Master Debonair were installed at odds of 16/1 in the Champion Bumper by Coral, following their respective victories in the major flat races at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting.

Saturday’s action at Cheltenham began in impressive fashion, as Quel Destin ground out a victory in a Triumph Trial. While Betfair cut Paul Nicholls’ charge in from 33s to 20/1 to win the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival, beaten favourite Never Adapt – who pulled like a train throughout the race and finished a staying-on third – saw her Triumph Hurdle odds clipped into 16s from 18/1.

Stormy Ireland made a winning start to life outside novice company at Punchestown, with William Hill entering her as a 14/1 shot in the betting for the Mares’ Hurdle. Commander Of Fleet extended his unbeaten record over hurdles in convincing fashion and his position at the head of the Ballymore betting grew even stronger, with William Hill cutting his odds in from 16s to 10/1.

Grand National hero, Tiger Roll made his triumphant return to Cheltenham on Friday and ran a respectable race under the burden of top-weight in the Cross Country. The three-time Festival winner was clipped into 7/2 favouritism for March’s Cross Country by William Hill, with Josies Order - who held on to claim victory on Friday – coming into 6/1 from 10/s with Ladbrokes.

Count Meribel survived a near-disaster at the second-last fence to claim a second-straight victory over fences in the Steel Plate And Sections, forcing Ladbrokes to enter Nigel Twiston-Davies' novice into the betting for both the JLT and the RSA on a price of 33/1. Coolanly powered to an impressive victory in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle under an inspired Paddy Brennan and Fergal O’Brien’s second-season hurdler was chucked into the Albert Bartlett betting by Ladbrokes on a price of 25/1.

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Eye on Cheltenham - Lalor and Malone Road make waves in Festival betting after stunning wins this weekend

We bring you the latest news and betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets after some top-quality horses wowed fans at Cheltenham and Punchestown this weekend on Saturday 17th November.

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