It’s apparent that a select number of “Name your Cheltenham banker!” Cheltenham preview articles circulating on social media and elsewhere have contained the side note of “But do not include Altior!”
This perfectly sums up the chances of Altior claiming a second Champion Chase victory on Wednesday March 13th. Too hot even to be considered a banker!
Barring a cataclysmic incident during the race, Atior should have this comfortably sewn up to register an incredible 19th straight victory.
ALTIOR: ONE OF THE ALL TIME GREATS
The Nicky Henderson superstar is on the threshold of emulating that previous Seven Barrows flagbearer Sprinter Sacre. Although lacking the cavalier style and appearance of Sprinter, he more than matches with gritty determination and a finishing speed that is nothing short of deadly.
He more than proved it last year when not having executed a perfect run in the 2018 Champion Chase, he appeared to have the race lost turning the final bend. But he foxed everyone by emerging on the outside bridle with plenty in hand to romp up the hill, leaving his opponents for dead. It was sheer brilliance and even more so considering the horse didn’t appear to enjoy himself that day.
This season has consequently produced another faultless school report. This is Altior’s race and the only question remaining is what price can be had?
Not one firm is taking a chance. 2/5 is the best you’ll get from William Hill and Betfair.
Min has been a great servant to the Willie Mullins team in the last three years. Whilst not quite meeting the giddy heights some predicted when he was imported from France back in 2016, he has produced some solid form in recent seasons.
This season he has been in very noteworthy form, the highlight being an impressive 6 length defeat of Ordinary World in the Grade One Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.
But he is really turning up for the decent place money and barring an Altior fall, he should be in the first three but not a betting proposition unless the 13/2 is taken with William Hill quick smart: this price will not hang around long.
Footpad is a class horse in his own right although hasn’t had the perfect season compared to his all-conquering performances of last season. According to the Mullins camp, a characteristically typical late decision has been confirmed as to his final Cheltenham destination with the extended distance of The Ryanair Chase as the alternative option.
William Hill are offering a tempting 10/1 with that added cushion of NRNB available.
UN DE SCEAUX: THE EACH WAY VALUE OPTION
The years are catching up on this Mullins trained pocket rocket and he will definitely need his highly favoured heavy ground to figure prominently here.
He’s been seen out just the once this season in the Tingle Creek at Sandown where he ran a more than creditable 4 length second behind Altior.
But he loves Cheltenham and at 16/1 (William Hill with NRNB), this has to stand out as the value each way bet of the race.
This has always been a great race for favourite backers and very rarely does a horse out of the front three emerge victorious. Consequently, it will be one of the all-time Cheltenham Festival shocks if Altior fails to win this.
Then again, I said the same thing in 2017 for Douvan in the corresponding race. Nothing is ever written in solid stone of course. However a win bet for any other horse could be viewed as folly although the 16/1 each way available at Hills for Un De Sceaux is outstanding value.
Un De Sceaux each way: 16/1 with William Hill
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Best priced odds. All odds are correct at the time of publishing (12:00 5th March 2019) and are subject to change.