WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and two each-way selections for the sponsored card at Fontwell Park on Wednesday 20th October
Date of Tips: 04/11/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (11:41 04/11/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
The great thing about ante-post betting is that it never stops. Historically, the ante-post price about a horse you feel will be carefully plotted towards a long-term target, has been the domain of the slightly nervous request to a betting shop assistant.
Not so anymore, a swift look at many an odds comparison site reveals a raft of opportunities way beyond the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, at which every race already has a fairly mature market to boot.
Having had one ante-post look ahead to racing beyond this season’s Cheltenham Festival already, in the shape of this selection for the 2021 King George VI Chase – which is still available at 33/1 with Paddy Power – a lazy perusal through some of the further afield markets threw up something else of real interest.
William Hill and Unibet have priced up a handful of races for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival already, and while to some, the mere thought of locking up your money for the best part of 14 months seems like madness, I’d suggest many would do similar with your savings accounts for a much smaller potential interest rate! Obviously, there is the chance that your investment could well bite the dust before the dividend date, but therein lies the risk/reward rationale that you need to apply to ante-post betting.
My Drogo is a horse who will probably have novice hurdle entries at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see Dan Skelton sidestep March, and aim his strapping young horse to Aintree, or something else away from the spotlight at this stage of his career.
It is this patience and ability to ascertain what is best for a horse’s career that sets aside Skelton to many, and is inevitably a quality learnt from his previous boss Paul Nicholls.
My Drogo is without doubt going to be a smashing chaser at some stage, and more likely than not, that transition to the bigger obstacles will come next season. He is 50/1 with Unibet for the 2022 Arkle Novices’ Chase, and 50/1 with William Hill for the 2022 Marsh’ Novices Chase – I advise having a small EW bet on both, as essentially you’re getting roughly 25/1 that he wins at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
My Drogo looks blessed with a lovely blend of latent ability and pace and is also very much bred for stamina, so I wouldn’t know which one of the Arkle or Marsh would be more suitable just yet, but I do know that his three runs this season have made just about as striking an impression on me, as any novice hurdler has.
That impression is a combination of visual impression and also a dissection of the times of the races he’s been involved in.
Second on debut in a Cheltenham bumper to another potential star, the Nicky Henderson-trained I Am Maximus, My Drogo‘s run was worth marking up significantly, as the winner got first run at a crucial time and bagged the favoured stands-side rail up the straight.
Little time was wasted, and the Skelton’s sent My Drogo straight over hurdles for a ready win in a decent Newbury maiden hurdle, before again they were keen to set him a new and bigger challenge for his next run.
In winning a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Ascot on just his second hurdle start, in a strikingly good time, My Drogo has cosily accomplished every assignment his handler has posed of him. The bare form of that Ascot Grade 2 gives us mixed messages, but that it is more a factor of consequence than anything else.
Fast forward 12 months, and I really do believe that granted a fair wind, My Drogo could be a name on everyone’s lips – and at 50/1 for either the 2022 Arkle with Unibet, or 2022 Marsh with William Hill, both are investments well worth locking away now.
Having suggested in a previous article that this could well be the year that Olly Murphy lands his maiden Cheltenham Festival winner with Itchy Feet in the Marsh Novices’ Chase on day three, I now am going to fast forward that milestone two days.
He has a live Champion Hurdle outsider in Thomas Darby, should he run there – but it is in the Arkle Novices’ Chase, the first race run over fences at the Festival, that he can etch that first notable notch on his tally.
Brewin’upastorm is a topical selection too, with so much racing abandoned due to the inclement weather conditions currently. With Cheltenham Festival form when fourth in last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, a perfect 2 from 2 record over fences, an even more striking 4 from 4 record when appearing off a break – and it all adds up to Brewin’upastorm having a massive chance in a race that will really be run to suit. At 9/1 with William Hill, I could see him being latched on to in the next few weeks.
Notebook, Cash Back and live outsiders Rouge Vif and Global Citizen are all likely to race up with the pace – not to mention Fakir D’Oudairies if he were to line up here – so we are guaranteed a strong pace to the race.
This will suit the strong travelling Brewin’upastorm perfectly, as highlighted by his ability to make a striking mid-race move to jump the second last in last year’s Ballymore upsides City Island and Champ. He paid for this in the closing stages, but with the benefit of a wind-op in the winter, the addition of stiffer obstacles in front of him which he relishes, and the aforementioned strong pace to aim at – the suggestion that a potential career defining performance is in the offing for horse and trainer is not an unrealistic one.
Having had a slight hold up mid-season, the only worry is that he doesn’t make the race, but the NRNB concession is an option at only one point less with Skybet, if you are so inclined.