Date of Tips: 04/11/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (13:55 04/11/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
As the curtain begins to draw on this strangest of all flat seasons, and thoughts now turn to the upcoming jumps campaign, let’s hope the ‘Sport of Kings’ warms the cockles and provides many a notable moment over the coming months for all those involved in it and who follow it.
It is a challenging time for many, but despite not being able to enjoy a day at the races as paying spectators, the ability to watch and bet on the big races has by no means diminished, despite all that is going on. So too, sure as day meets night, Gordon Elliott has plans meticulously mapped out for pretty much his whole string – such is the level of planning and preparation that has catapulted him to the very top echelons of the training sphere.
This morning’s Racing Post comprehensive stable tour has revealed many a nugget, including a nice boost that Abacadabras is confirmed as going down the Champion Hurdle route, while Sire Du Berlais will be aimed at the Stayers’ Hurdle also, making these post-Festival 2020 recommendations look pretty tasty.
Upon further scouring of the comments on his huge string, and another Cheltenham Festival 2021 ante-post bet has leapt to the forefront of my mind. It is an old favourite, who grabbed the place money as part of a nice 1-2 in the Novices’ Handicap Chase in 2020, and was also sadly ruled out of the Galway Plate at the eleventh hour.
Galvin is available at 14/1 with Paddy Power for the 2021 National Hunt Chase, and that looks very much worth taking each-way, as he is due to run just once more, before the depths of winter converge on us. Then he will be prepared fresh and well for the race next March, in a similar fashion to how Gordon Elliott prepared him for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. In emerging out of the pack and chasing home the mightily impressive Imperial Aura, he marked himself down as a class act.
Indeed, that is why I fancied him so strongly for the Galway Plate, and given there was a significant chance that he would have left behind his current rating of 148, had he taken part in that contest – it puts him well in the mix with some of the classier types to have ever taken in the 3m6f feature for novice chasers on day one of the Festival.
A quick glance at the last six winners of the race and the ratings of them – 142, 145, 150, 152, 143, 146 – suggest that you need a high-quality chaser. I am in no doubt that Galvin is better than a 148-rated chaser, and has run two good races at the last two Cheltenham Festivals.
The only doubt could be his ability to see out the extreme trip of 3m6f, as he has never raced beyond 2m6½f yet. But when you consider his sire Gold Well is a regular producer of top notch 3m+ staying chasers, his dam Burren Moonshine won a Durham National, and her sire Moonax won a St Leger on the flat – if that all doesn’t scream stamina-laden to you, then I’m afraid you’re in the wrong game!
See it as a long-term investment, as you won’t get much chance to see Galvin until that first Tuesday in March. But what is assured is that in taking the 14/1 with Paddy Power now, you will enjoy seeing the regular chipping away of that price, as we edge closer to the spring.
With the entries confirmed for the four graded novice chases at the Festival last week, and a whole host of trials over the last 10 days or so, it is a great time to drill down into the markets for these events.
There have been a number of tweaks to the National Hunt Chase – what used to be known as the ‘4-miler’ will now be catchily dubbed the 3-mile 6-furlonger!’ While the qualification criteria for the race has been tightened up slightly to ensure the race features, on the whole, classier and stronger staying types.
To my eye, you can’t get more classy and stronger staying than a 3m Grade 1-winning hurdler. Champagne Classic, famously categorised as the worst horse that Gigginstown-supremo Michael O’Leary owned after winning the Martin Pipe Conditionals race at the 2017 Festival, is currently second favourite in the NH Chase market. I feel he should be favourite.
On the back of three very notable chase runs this season, which confirmed he has come back in as good a form as before his injury layoff last season, and what looks like a carefully mapped out preparation by Gordon Elliott – he must be backed at 6/1.
The current favourite, Carefully Selected, is a danger yes, but didn’t appear as the cleverest jumper when winning the Grade 3 over 3m at Naas last Sunday. A trait which displayed itself on his chase debut also, and while he was a good hurdler he never won a Grade 1 like Champagne Classic.
There are currently as many as 22 horses in the entry list who aren’t actually qualified to run in the race yet, so should you fancy anything, check carefully before having a bet. Of those at bigger odds, one that would appeal if he was targeted at the race would be Colin Tizzard’s progressive young chaser Copperhead – easy winner of two staying handicaps, he strikes as a horse that could improve for this kind of test.
But for a main selection, look no further than the worst horse that Gigginstown own!