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Eye on Cheltenham - Road To Respect slashed in Gold Cup betting after Samcro falters over hurdles

Road To Respect storms clear to win the JNWine Champion Chase at Down Royal.

We bring you the latest betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets after Down Royal's JNWine Champion Chase meeting headlines a good quality week of racing.

Last week's “Eye On Cheltenham” article led with the story that Gigginstown had decided to leave Samcro over hurdles and target a maiden Champion Hurdle for the superpower syndicate. Those plans, however, were thrown into mild turmoil on Friday, when Gordon Elliott's stable star came up surprisingly short on his reappearance at Down Royal.

Samcro opened at 1/4 for Friday’s WKD Hurdle, where he clashed with Sharjah and Bedrock. Few saw the favourite's drifting odds as a sign of things to come when Samcro came back to 4/9 before the off and it was still a huge shock when Bedrock took advantage of the one-paced leader to snatch a shock victory.

This time last week, Samcro had been installed as the new favourite for the Champion Hurdle, but his odds drifted across the boards following that surprising flop. Ladbrokes now list Samcro as the 4/1 second-favourite behind Buveur D’Air, with some firms going as far as 5/1 on Elliott’s charge bouncing back at the Cheltenham Festival.

The week’s star performer was undoubtedly Road To Respect, who carried the tag of favouritism into the JNWine Champion Chase. 12 months ago, Noel Meade’s charge was pipped to the post by Outlander, but there was no such anguish this time around, with Sean Flanagan’s mount putting Balko Des Flos and Sub Lieutenant to the sword to score an emphatic 16 length Grade One success.

Last year, Road To Respect went on to claim the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown before placing fourth in the Gold Cup. Meade’s star is likely to tread a similar path this season and bookmakers were quick to react to victory on Saturday, with Betfair cutting Road To Respect’s Gold Cup odds in from 20s to 14/1.

Flanagan and Meade teamed up for more success in the following race, as Snow Falcon saw off some capable rivals to win the appealingly named Chase over two-and-a-half miles. Snow Falcon was immediately added to the betting for the Ryanair Chase, with Betfair offering quotes of 16/1. Runner-up, Shattered Love ran well to claim second on her reappearance, forcing BetVictor to cut the odds on Gordon Elliott’s mare claiming a second Cheltenham crown in the Ryanair into 12s from 16/1.
Sancta Simona got the JNWine Festival off to a fitting start on Friday, cruising to victory in a Grade Three Mares’ Hurdle. Willie Mullins’ charge was immediately added to the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle betting, with Betfair currently offering the best odds of 14/1. Later in the afternoon, Delta Work scored on his chasing debut over 19-and-a-half furlongs. Last year’s Pertemps winner is now expected to step up in trip, with Betfair offering odds of 14/1 in the RSA betting and 18s on Gordon Elliott’s novice winning the four-mile National Hunt Chase.

Cork took centre-stage in Ireland on Sunday, where Winter Escape won performance of the day. The former Alan King inmate took his form over fences to a whole new level by powering to victory in a Grade Three and was immediately handed fresh quotes of 33/1 by Ladbrokes to win the JLT at Cheltenham.

In England on Saturday, Wetherby was under the spotlight as they staged a weak renewal of the Charlie Hall. Unsurprisingly, neither winner Definitely Red or runner-up Black Corton made waves in the Cheltenham betting after the race, with the only significant move coming from Lady Buttons, who was clipped into 33/1 for the Mares’ Hurdle by BetVictor after beating her fellow females over two miles.

Earlier in the week, Supreme fifth Claimantakinforgan made a winning start to life over fences at Uttoxeter. Despite beating a small field by a narrow margin, BetVictor slashed his odds in the Arkle, pulling Nicky Henderson’s novice in from 25s to 12/1. Didtheyleaveuoutto also secured victory on his first start over jumps at Fakenham, with BetVictor clipping Nick Gifford’s novice into 16/1 in the Supreme betting.

Another to make a good impression on his jumping debut was Tom George’s Seddon, who had been fancied by some speculative punters for last year’s Champion Bumper. The odds-on favourite made light-work of the task he faced at Stratford on Thursday, coming out a comfortable five-length victor, forcing Betfair to hand Seddon quotes of 25/1 for both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

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Eye on Cheltenham - Road To Respect slashed in Gold Cup betting after Samcro falters over hurdles

We bring you the latest betting developments in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival markets after Down Royal's JNWine Champion Chase meeting on Saturday 3rd November headlines a good quality week of racing.

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