If the current ante-post markets are anything to go by there is little doubt that the horse racing betting industry is very wary of the latent hurdling talent of Cheltenian, who bolted up in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper in March and who clearly is held in the very highest of regard, writes Elliot Slater.
A best priced 10/1 favourite to land the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle next March and offered at similar skinny odds to win the Neptune Novices Hurdle at the same Cheltenham Festival meeting, the Philip Hobbs-trained five-year-old has layers running scared and looks a definite horse-to-follow in the autumn. And so he should be, having cost his owner Roger Brookhouse a massive £210,000 after finishing second for his original trainer Elizabeth Duke in a hot Punchestown bumper last October. Those looking for Cheltenham betting tips can’t rule him out.
Sent to Philip Hobbs’ Minehead yard Cheltenian took a few months to acclimatize but made a winning British debut when winning a Kempton bumper in mid-February having been sent off at odds-on. A 14/1 chance for the Cheltenham Bumper, the son of Astarabad ran lazily at times but eventually answered all jockey Richard Johnson’s urgings to come home strongest of all up the Prestbury Park hill in recording a five-length winning margin over Destroyer Deployed and Aupcharlie.
Hobbs decided against sending his exciting prospect to either Aintree or Punchestown and is already looking forward to the new campaign with Cheltenian, a horse he describes as needing plenty of work, but who is a seriously good prospect. The Neptune Novices Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles is a far more realistic target than the minimum trip of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but before then the gelding has to live up to his star billing and prove himself at least as adept over timber as he proved last term over two-miles on the level.
Meanwhile, plenty of racing fans will be looking to take advantage of a Grand National free bets offer as the big race gets nearer.