The 2018 Cheltenham Festival is just weeks away now. Check out which bookies are non-runner no bet and also take a look at the other early Festival offers! Alternatively, read on for our round-up of the latest racing news and big results.
Redicean Looks A Star For King
Redicean had been a solid if unspectacular performer for David O’Meara on the flat, winning two of his eight starts, but never at higher than Class 4 level. He is a completely different animal over Hurdles.
Despite winning his first two starts over obstacles for Alan King, the jury was still out about this son of Medicean, with his jumping technique being called into question by a number of observers. Saturday then was the acid test, as the four year old was stepped up markedly in class for the Grade 2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham.
In slamming Malaya by a resounding seven lengths, Redicean passed the test with flying colours. All the work put in on the schooling grounds appears to be reaping its rewards and the devastating turn of foot demonstrated at the end of this contest makes him a horse to be feared wherever he shows up.
Only raced at Kempton over hurdles to date, it is the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham which looks set to be his next assignment, where the equally impressive Apple’s Shakira lies in wait. Betfair make him their 11/2 shot for that Day Four contest.
Eider Falls To Richards’ Wing
Saturday afternoon also saw one of the big jumps contests of the season up at Newcastle with the latest edition of the stamina sapping Eider Chase. Looking as fiercely competitive as ever beforehand, the race was eventually won in emphatic fashion by one of the moist frustrating horses of the season to date, namely Nicky Richards’ Baywing.
One wonders quite how many races this nine year old would have won were he able to jump consistently, but it would surely be more than the two he has managed to date. He put it all together here though, seeming ideally suited by the slower pace of this race and barely touching a twig throughout. The manner in which he powered away at the end of four miles bodes well for his future in these staying contests, although this may be the last we see of him for a while as he does look to need this heavy ground.
O’Brien Dee-light in Betdaq Chase
Fergal O’Brien is already enjoying his best season in quite some time, and seems certain to pass his highest ever total for numbers of winners. The Gloucester handler added another big race success to his haul at Kempton on Saturday as Master dee claimed the Betdaq Chase under an excellent Barry Geraghty ride.
One of the most consistent horses in training, Master Dee has now finished in the first three in each of his 21 starts under rules. Outpaced for much of this three mile trip, the nine year old slowly worked his way into the race under a – patience personified – Geraghty, and the writing was on the wall for his rivals as he arrived into the straight full of running before forging ahead.
The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate looks like being his next target, with the 16/1 available with Ladbrokes looking solid each way value.
Cheltenham: Douvan In, Norton Out
It wasn’t all that long ago that it seemed quite possible we may be without both Altior and Douvan for this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, but it now seems that the clash we have all been waiting for may be on after all.
With Altior having returned as good as ever in the Game Spirit Chase, the latest update on Douvan was markedly upbeat. Reportedly flying in his work at home, he now seems more likely than not to make the big show. Betfair go 8/11 Altior and 9/2 Douvan in what may prove to be the heavyweight clash of the meeting.
The news regarding last season’s Champion Chase runner up, Fox Norton, unfortunately isn’t so good. A suspensory ligament injury picked up by the Colin Tizzard star is said to be only slight, but will nevertheless see him miss the Cheltenham Festival and the remainder of the current season.