Cheltenham Festival betting – Market movers following last week’s racing action

Brian Healy looks back on last week’s horse racing action and details the latest Cheltenham Festival betting market moves following Newbury’s big meeting and racing action elsewhere throughout the week.

Newbury’s big Betfair Hurdle meeting saw several big names continue their Cheltenham Festival preparation with runs at the Berkshire venue with the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase and Grade Two Denman Chase particular points of interest along with Saturday’s main event, the Betfair Hurdle.

Unfortunately, several potential Cheltenham Festival candidates saw their scheduled prep runs on Sunday washed away by Storm Ciara. Despite the loss of that card, Brian Healy looks back on the week’s racing and picks out the market moves of major players in the betting who strutted their stuff over the previous days.

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BETTING – MARKET MOVERS AT A GLANCE

SHISHKIN (3/1, 888SportSupreme Novices’ Hurdle)
CHANTRY HOUSE (11/1, William HillSupreme Novices’ Hurdle)
FLINTEUR SACRE (16/1, Bet365Champion Bumper)
ALTIOR (9/4, BetVictorChampion Chase)
NATIVE RIVER (12/1, BetVictor) – Gold Cup)
MIGHT BITE (14/1, William HillCross Country Chase)

2020 SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE

Shishkin demolishes Huntingdon rivals

At Huntingdon on Thursday SHISHKIN cemented his place at the head of the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with a facile eleven lengths’ victory in the feature Sidney Banks Memorial Hurdle over Shan Blue.

Always travelling strongly and jumping well, the Sholokhov gelding only needed to be pushed out to score easily from Dan Skelton’s charge. That performance saw his odds clipped into a best-priced 3/1 although it is noteworthy that the easy success came over a trip more akin to the Ballymore Hurdle.

Could connections be swayed by a tilt towards the latter with Nicky Henderson’s emerging star, especially with Asterion Forlonge also in the betting for the Festival opener and who extended his unbeaten record over two miles with a facile win at the recent Dublin Racing Festival.

Chantry House at Cheltenham

Chantry House (right) was a Cheltenham Festival market mover following his Newbury win at the weekend.

Chantry House enhances Festival claims at Newbury

Nicky Henderson strengthened his possible Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hand with CHANTRY HOUSE who ran out a facile winner of Newbury’s opening race on Saturday.

Barry Geraghty always had the Yeats gelding in a good position and he could be called the winner a long way out as he breezed into the race travelling strongly.

Delivered at the last obstacle he powered away from Manvers House for an easy success to enhance his Cheltenham Festival claims where he holds entries in both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

2020 CHAMPION BUMPER

Flinteur Sacre proves a chip off the old block to enter Champion Bumper picture

At Kempton on Friday the son of the legendary Sprinter Sacre took to the Sunbury turf to demolish his field by five lengths and enter the reckoning in the Champion Bumper on Festival Wednesday.

Onlookers couldn’t have failed to have been impressed by Nicky Henderson’s FLINTEUR SACRE as he tanked through the race under Barry Geraghty before quickening smartly on the bridle to brush aside his rivals with the minimum of fuss.

While the JP McManus-owned gelding doesn’t hold an entry in Wednesday’s finale at the Cheltenham Festival, his performance at Kempton may well lead to a rethink by the Seven Barrows team to supplement him for the Grade One bumper and bookmakers have installed him at a general 16/1 for the Champion Bumper.

2020 CHAMPION CHASE

Altior made favourite for Wednesday showpiece

The return of ALTIOR in Saturday’s Game Spirit Chase was thought by many to be a walk in the park for the two-time Champion Chase winner. But for a time it proved to be hard work for the High Chaparral gelding who briefly looked in trouble as Nico de Boinville had to get to work on his top-class partner midway up the straight.

Some slow jumps and a now-customary flat spot in his races saw Altior struggle for a short time to pick up his rivals; but once he hit top gear there was only one winner and he sprinted away from the last for an ultimately ready success over Sceau Royal.

That performance was enough to propel the dual-Champion Chase winner to the head of the betting over young pretenders Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi.

Altior jumping a fence.

Altior bounced back to winning ways in the Game Spirit Chase and now heads the Champion Chase betting.

2020 GOLD CUP

Native River wins third Denman Chase

Thirty minutes after Altior cemented his Cheltenham Festival place, Colin Tizzard’s NATIVE RIVER landed a third Denman Chase under Jonjo O’Neill Jnr who gave the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner a fine ride from the front to hold off Secret Investor by three lengths.

The King’s Theatre gelding set off in front from tapes-up and he battled on strongly from turning in under his rider’s urgings to hold off Paul Nicholls’ charge who had travelled well into the contest until being put on the back foot by a mistake at the second last.

He was readily held in the end however, but third placed Might Bite ran a much better race than had been the case previously, prompting a possible switch in discipline for the Scorpion gelding with Nicky Henderson mulling over a crack at Tiger Roll in the Cross-country Chase.

2020 CROSS COUNTRY CHASE

Might Bite enters Cross Country picture following Denman Chase defeat

Nicky Henderson’s MIGHT BITE emerged from a spell in the doldrums with a much better showing in the Saturday feature, travelling well for a long way behind eventual winner Native River without seriously threatening to upset his old rival.

The memories of that epic duel between the two warriors for the 2018 Gold Cup seems in the distant past now for fans of Nicky Henderson’s charge who endured a torrid campaign last term and had shown precious little in two starts this season prior to taking a big step back in the right direction at Newbury.

That performance has left Henderson mulling over a possible tilt at Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase with bookmakers pricing up the Scorpion gelding for the Cross-country Chase at around 14/1 for that event.

Might Bite winning at Kempton

Might Bite entered the Cheltenham Festival betting for the Cross-country Chase following his Denman Chase run.

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BETTING – MARKET MOVERS AT A GLANCE

SHISHKIN (3/1, 888SportSupreme Novices’ Hurdle)
CHANTRY HOUSE (11/1, William HillSupreme Novices’ Hurdle)
FLINTEUR SACRE (16/1, Bet365Champion Bumper)
ALTIOR (9/4, BetVictorChampion Chase)
NATIVE RIVER (12/1, BetVictor) – Gold Cup)
MIGHT BITE (14/1, William HillCross Country Chase)

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