In the run up to the Cheltenham Festival 2022, oddschecker are curating a live weekly blog of relevant racing news and reaction to give you the edge come Festival week.
Last Updated: 15:59, 21/01/22
- For the Road to Cheltenham Blog updates from 11-17th January, click here:
Metier cut for the County Hurdle after classy performance at Lingfield in the Sovereign Handicap Hurdle
Metier put on a classy performance to withstand Gowel End and win the Sovereign Handicap Hurdle at Lingfield. The six-year-old has previous won three hurdle races from 2m to 2m 2f on soft and heavy ground and can now add a fourth win to the card.
With this win in mind, Metier has now been cut from 25/1 to as short as 14/1 with three bookies for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. If you fancy Metier for the County Hurdle you can now back the Gelding at a best price of 20/1 with two bookmakers.
Metier wins the inaugural £100,000 Sovereign Handicap Hurdle at @LingfieldPark...— oddschecker Racing (@oddsRacing) January 21, 2022
He has shortened from 28-1 to 14-1 (best price 20/1) for the County Hurdle in March.#CheltenhamFestival
Top Price Shishkin Ante Post Double on Betfred
Betfred have added an Ante Post Special on Shishkin, starting with this weekend's Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
Amid the huge interest surrounding Shishkin vs Energumene, Betfred has enhanced the price on the former to win this weekend and repeat the feat in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. They have him at 13/8 for the double (6/4 in most places).
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Top Vile Ben into 20/1 for the Ultima
Top Vile Ben, a 6/1 winner in today's 14:25 Cazoo Hurdle at Lingfield, has been shortened from 25/1 into 20/1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
He is currently only priced by Unibet for the Ultima, but he is available at a best price of 66/1 with two bookmakers for the Grand National in April.
Frero Banbou's Grand Annual odds cut after Lingfield win
A winner in the 13:50 at Lingfield today, Frero Banbou has now been cut from 25/1 into as short as 14/1 with some bookmakers for the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. However, he is still available for a best price of 20/1.
Lovel Envoi has shortened for the Mares Novices' Hurdle after maintaining her unbeaten run at Lingfield
Lovel Envoi began today at 20/1 to win the Mares Novices' Hurdle before putting on an impressive display at Lingfield has seen the mare go down to as low as 10/1 but can still be found at 16/1 with one bookmaker.
Lovel Envoi win at Lingfield means she has won all four of the races she has competed in and certainly makes her one to look out for at Cheltenham this year.
Lovel Envoi has shortened for the Mares Novices Hurdle to as low as 10/1, after maintaining her unbeaten record at Lingfield today.— oddschecker Racing (@oddsRacing) January 21, 2022
She is currently a best price of 16/1. #CheltenhamFestival
Blazing Khal suffers setback and will miss the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham
It has been confirmed by connections that the six-year-old has suffered a setback that will see Balzing Khal miss the Cheltenham Festival where he had been a 9/2 favourite for the Albert Bartlett.
The new favourite is Ginto who has been cut to as short as 4/1. Odds for Journey With Me and Hollow Games have also been cut to as short as 5/1 and 6/1 respectively.
Nicholls gives update on potential Cheltenham targets
Paul Nicholls provided an update on possible targets for his horses on the Nick Luck Daily Podcast.
- Stage Star is going straight to the Ballymore at the Festival
- Bravemansgame is going to Newbury (Betfair Super Saturday) for the 3m Novices' Chase before the Festival (Festival Novices' Chase)
- Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon are both possibles for the Dublin Racing Festival but neither is likely to be going to the Cheltenham Festival, although Clan Des Obeaux will likely otherwise take in the Denman Chase at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday
- Knappers Hill will go to the Betfair Hurdle on Betfair Super Saturday
- Hitman is avoiding Shishkin and Energumene at Ascot this weekend in preference of the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury before potentially being aimed at the Festival.
Architect Tips on the week’s biggest Cheltenham talking points
Architect Tips gives his expert opinion on the biggest stories to keep an eye on as the Cheltenham Festival betting markets start to take shape.
Who wins the Clarence House this weekend - Shishkin or Energumene?
On the face of it, Nicky Henderson’s superstar - Shishkin has the edge on the formbook, who’s six from six, and is a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner. He has obvious claims, and it will take an abnormal performance to see him beaten. That said, I am going to side with Willie Mullins’ leading Champion Chase hopeful Energumene to prove just how good he is on British soil by winning the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at the weekend.
Shishkin tends to hit a flat-spot mid-race and, if doing so here, Paul Townend might have already committed Energumene for home and that could be good enough for him to prevail, as it might just prove to be too much of an uphill task for Nicky Henderson’s charge to reel him in.
For more on why Architect Tips favours Energumene, click here.
Dysart Dynamo to Supreme - Yes or No?
It was no surprise to see the exciting Dysart Dynamo cut for both the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival shortly after romping to victory in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle when last spotted.
His performance has subsequently led to plenty of racing fans and punters debating which of the two races he’ll be aimed at, with the same applied to stablemate Sir Gerhard.
I can envisage Willie Mullins deploying both in the Supreme instead of splitting them up and going into unknown-territory over two-miles and five-furlongs, especially when both have already proven to be fully effective over the two-mile distance at this stage of their careers and have more to offer. As the saying goes, don’t fix what isn’t broken, and that’s simply the case here.
To find out which of the two Architect favours in the Supreme, click here.
Ante Post Angle: Which horses and races are you looking out for at the Dublin Racing Festival?
It was great to see the release of the early entries for eight Grade 1s at the Dublin Racing Festival (DRF). Interestingly, the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Gerhard has just one entry at the DRF - the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle over two-miles.
Click here for more from Architect on the Dublin Racing Festival talking points.
Energumene and Shishkin both declare for Clarence House Chase on Saturday
The news we have all been waiting for has just arrived. The two favourites for the Queen Mother Champion Chase Energumene and Shishkin have both declared for the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase on Saturday (15:35), giving us a preview of what to expect for Cheltenham in less than two months time.
Shishkin is currently the favourite to win the Champion Chase at a best price of 11/10 but can be found as short as 4/5 odds-on-favourite with a handful of bookies.
Energumene is currently second-favourite at a best price of 5/2 but this could all change depending on both the eight-year-olds performance on Saturday.
Shishkin and Energumene both declared for the Clarence House Chase on Saturday.— oddschecker Racing (@oddsRacing) January 20, 2022
Who are you backing? pic.twitter.com/7Z8GWUbWUL
Henderson aims Walking On Air at the Ballymore after eye-catching hurdling debut
Trainer Nicky Henderson was full of praise for five-year-old Walking On Air who's hurdling debut at Newbury caught the eye of racing fans.
Henderson: "He will make the most beautiful chaser. This season you’d be thinking along the Ballymore lines with him but he wouldn’t want to go further than 2m5f this season."
Bookmakers have responded by drastically cutting odds for Walking On Air to win the Ballymore to a best price of 20/1 despite being as short as 12/1 elsewhere.
The Supreme market has also been given a shake up with the five-year-old cut into a best price of 20/1 from 50/1.
‣ Yesterday: 50/1— oddschecker (@oddschecker) January 19, 2022
‣ Today: 20/1 (worst price 12/1)
WALKING ON AIR 5/6f cruises to victory on his hurdling debut to see his price shorten for the Ballymore...
Another exciting prospect for Nicky Henderson.#CheltenhamFestival
Winter Million at Lingfield to provide Festival clues?
Gowel Road and Metier are possible price movers for the Cheltenham Festival 2022 based on their performance in Friday's £100,000 Sovereign Handicap Hurdle (15:35) at Lingfield.
It is Friday's feature race in the inaugural three-day Winter Million festival at Lingfield (21-23rd January), where more than £1 million in prize-money is on offer.
Gowel Road is currently best price 25/1 for the day two Coral Cup at Cheltenham, with Metier a shade longer at 33s.
Earlier on the same day at Lingfield, Nurse Susan, Rainyday Woman, Love Envoi, Game On For Glory and Mayhem Mya (14/1, 20/1, 25/1, 50/1 and 50/1 respectively for the Mares Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham) are runners in the 12:50 Winter Million Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Meanwhile, Threeunderthrufive - entered in both the Brown Advisory (16/1) and National Hunt Chase (best price 12/1) at Cheltenham - has not been declared for Friday's 15:00 Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Novices' Chase at Lingfield, but Hold That Taught is a confirmed runner.
Hold That Taught (50/1) has been entered in both the Brown Advisory and National Hunt Chase (33/1) at Cheltenham.
In This World ruled out for the rest of the season
Dan Skelton has, this afternoon, confirmed that Triumph Hurdle second favourite In This World will not run again this season, ruling him out of the Cheltenham Festival. He picked up the injury when winning at Warwick in November.
The market has reacted to that news by solidifying Fil Dor as the favourite, with some firms now pricing the four-year-old as short as 5/2.
Tipped at 14/1 by Architect Tips just yesterday, that news has seen Vauban's odds drop to 9/1 in places with Unibet still offering a standout price of 12/1 at the time of writing, should you wish to follow that tip.
You can read all of the reasoning for backing Vauban in that race here: https://www.oddschecker.com/tips/horse-racing/20220117-triumph-hurdle-2022-tips-ante-post-preview
Novice Chase Entries confirmed for Cheltenham Festival
Key Novice Chase entries for the Cheltenham Festival have just been announced, with 163 runners entered across the Sporting Life Arkle (24 entries), National Hunt Novices' Chase (48), Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (47) and Turners Novices' Chase (44).
Key entries from the Irish contingent include:
- Bob Olinger - Brown Advisory/Turners
- Galopin Des Champs - Brown Advisory/Turners
- Ferny Hollow - Arkle/Turners
- Blue Lord - Arkle/Turners
- Run Wild Fred - Brown Advisory/Turners/National Hunt Chase
Whilst some stand-out British-trained runners include:
- Bravemansgame - Brown Advisory/Turners
- Threeunderthrufive - Brown Advisory/National Hunt Chase
- Edwardstone - Arkle
- L'Homme Presse - Brown Advisory/Turners
- Ahoy Senor - Brown Advisory
To find entry lists for the National Hunt, Brown Advisory and Turners, click here.
Champ en route to the Stayers'?
Understand Champ will remain over hurdles this season and is set to run in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham Trials Day (Jan 29) en route to the Stayers’ Hurdle in March. #TheFestival pic.twitter.com/wDetBcH2zs— Joshua Stacey (@TheRacingJosh) January 17, 2022
Galvin to head straight to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup
Despite being entered for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Leopardstown, Gordon Elliott has confirmed that Galvin will head straight to the Gold Cup in March.
"He’s in at Leopardstown but I’d imagine he’ll go straight to the Gold Cup. We just stuck him in to give him an option, but he’ll go straight to the Gold Cup."
The eight-year-old ran very well last time out to get the better of A Plus Tard, winning the Savills Chase on the 28th of December 2021. Elliott has since toyed with the idea of an additional pre-Cheltenham run but has decided against it.
Galvin is currently 5/1 second favourite for the Gold Cup, just behind last year's winner A Plus Tard who can currently be found at a best price of 7/2.
The Tide Turns has been cut for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle after an impressive victory at Punchestown
The Tide Turns put in an impressive display at Punchestown on Monday and has since been cut for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Before Punchestown, the four-year-old could be found at as long as 20/1 but since his impressive display has been cut to joint-favourite for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at 12/1 with the majority of bookmakers, although you can still find Gordon Elliott's horse at 20/1 with one bookmaker.
Lingfield entries throw up likely Cheltenham price movements
There is a strong card at Lingfield Park on Sunday 23rd January which might have some permutations for Cheltenham Festival handicap markets, with Brewin’upastorm, Darver Star, Goshen, Gowel Road and Saint Felicien among those entered for the 2:25 2m3f Hurdle.
Gowel Road, already a winner at Cheltenham this season, is a 25/1 shot for the Coral Cup and could well enhance his claims over this similar distance for the connections who finished third in the race with Ballyandy in 2019.
Meanwhile, the unbeaten Saint Felicien - who holds an entry in the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival - could be an interesting runner if declared, with the County Hurdle and Martin Pipe potentially on the long term radar should a Champion Hurdle bid (where connections hold an entry) fall through.
Meanwhile, Bristol De Mai, Dashel Drasher, Fakir D’oudairies, Fanion D’estruval and Waiting Patiently have all been entered for the same day's 2m6f Chase and may well be looking to highlight their Ryanair Chase credentials.
Dashel Drasher, who scored at Newbury over hurdles at Christmas time, is currently a shorter price for the Coral Cup (16s) than the Ryanair (25s) though this entry may indicate the plan is to switch to chasing.
Fakir D'oudairies has been fourth in a Supreme Novice Hurdle (2019), second in an Arkle (2020) and second in last year's Ryanair. He is currently a 12/1 shot for this year's Ryanair - a market in dire need of a shake up and currently headed by last year's 12-length winner Allaho (2/1 best price).