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The ante post markets for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup are now in full swing after the King George VI Chase and the new year itself. The markets are starting to move around pretty significantly in the build-up to the race itself and the punters are starting to take a serious look at the ante post markets in anticipation of the big showpiece in the Cotswalds in March.
Don Cossack had been one of the key selections and loomed large over the favourites position in the ante post markets for quite some time. You can expect him to continue to pick up some steam potentially but his falling effort in the King George (at a crucial moment in the race, no less) has seen him drop into second place in the ante post market behind the respected Djakadam.
Of the selections outside of the immediate chasing pack, Hit It A Bomb is probably the most likely to factor into things based on what we have seen of him and he does have the distinction of being one of the few genuinely undefeated horses that are still left in the mix for the Guineas. You will find Hit It A Bomb trading anywhere from about 16/1 all the up to a 20/1 price tag at the time of this writing.
It puts him about on par with the interesting Ultra who was able to finish the season undefeated and also capture the prestigious Grand Criterium at Longchamp to cap off his two-year-old campaign. He’s forged a good partnership wth Mickael Barzalona and has delivered for punters in all three of his outings.
He then reappeared in the July Stakes at Newmarket with a Group 2 score and followed it up three weeks later with a strike at Goodwood - this time going off as the 11/8 betting favourite for the first time. Following that he took the Darley Prix Mornay at Deauville - sent off in a short field of 5 as the 1/2 favourite and then conquered the well-respected Buratino in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes.
Shalaa has formed a good partnership with Frankie Dettori and looks like he should be able to continue his dominance into the three-year-old campaign. While many would certainly admit that Air Force Blue obviously possesses significant upside, this is a horse that excels against pretty much everyone he has faced and you can bank on plenty of punters willing to take on the O...
After Air Force Blue you have about four contenders who are all looking like nice each-way opportunities with price tags hovering in the mid-teens. Emotionless, Massaat, Shalaa and Foundation are all fairly plausibly-priced with a few books going 16s but many floating a few of those selections trading as low as 12s.
Foundation had been undefeated and even captured a solid Group 2 contest prior to finishing a tame third to Marcel in the Racing Post Trophy. The John Gosden trainee could certainly take a nice step forward during his time in the off-season and the son of Zoffany can be spotted in the 12/1 range but there are some books pricing him up to 16/1.
Emotionless was well-beaten by Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst, finishing dead last about eight lengths...
As we are now just over a week away from the new year most of the attention is on the jumps action that picks up significantly around the holiday season but it’s also worth keeping in mind that we are only four months or so from the kick-off of the widely-anticipated flat season. The 2000 Guineas is always the first classic to go and this year’s is going to be an especially interesting one in some respects since we already have an absolute stand-out favourite.
At the moment several bookmakers have listed Aidan O’Brien’s Air Force Blue as the odds-on selection for the big mile contest at Newmarket. He’s only got a single blemish on his career record and that was at Royal Ascot this year when he finished second to Buratino .
Smad Place romped home by a hefty 12 length margin over Theatre Guide and a talented group of fourteen other contenders. Wayne Hutchinson was in the irons that day and the two look to be going from strength to strength so far this season and could push forward.
Al Ferof is also in the mix here and you’ll find him trading at a 16/1 margin right now and he comes into the race fresh off a 40 length victory at Huntington in a Grade 2 chase contest. He was a 9/4 shot that day and was not considered the betting favourite despite his significant victory.
Road To Riches is also in the mix here and he can be backed as low as a 16/1 margin but can also be spotted as high as a 25/1 margin with several major bookmakers. He is part of the three-horse Gigginstown...
He was as long as 7/2 that day which shows that punters really didn’t buy this as a race he was sent out to actually win with Brother Todd pulling off the victory by a full four length margin.
Silviniaco Conti was able to pull off the big victory here at Kempton in the King George last year and he looked good doing it. He didn’t exactly jump as fluently as you would really want him to early on but when his rivals loomed up and looked to make their impression on the race, Silviniaco Conti was able to draw off and win the race relatively comfortably by a four and a half length margin.
He was a 3/1 margin that day when he won at Kempton last year and he had been beaten in a previous start that year as well - finishing fifth as Menorah pulled off the...
He captured the Betfair Chase over Silviniaco Conti to secure a high stakes win on his second start of the season. He kicked things off at Wetherby when he got the better of Dynaste three weeks prior when sent off at an 11/4 margin.
He had a rather indifferent spate of form in the 2014/15 season when he just seemed to come up short in virtually every single race - generally beaten by a double digit margin in every single contest he lined up in.
This year he really seems to have turned it around and has clearly forged a good partnership with Paddy Brennan. He took the Betfair Chase despite not being sent off as the favourite so it will be interesting to see if he can kick on and establish another strong gallop by pressing the pace up front. He worked that to great...
By all stretches of the imagination he probably should win the race but the King George is a tough contest for a reason and if he is going to make any mistakes then it could certainly cost him dearly with the talented opponents that he has lining up against him here.
Vautour is considered to be the most likely spoiler here and he enters into the race off the back of a score in his seasonal debut which came in the Stella Artois 1965 Chase. He was sent off at a very short price tag at a 2/5 listing with Ruby Walsh in the irons last time out. He finished off his 2015 season quite well capturing the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham by a fifteen length margin over Apache Stronghold.
Willy Mullins has a solid record in this race and Ruby Walsh certainly know how to...
One of the most exciting National Hunt cards of the entire season is nearly upon us as Kempton is set to unfold on Boxing Day. The Christmas classic is always one of the most widely-anticipated races of the year and is considered to be the key prep race for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. This year we have a few very well-qualified contenders bidding for the favourites position while a few talented selections line up in each-way territory.
There is a lot to like about Don Cossack and he is the current reigning favourite for the 2015 King George with virtually every major bookmaker at the moment. You will find him as a general 9/4 listing right now and it will be fascinating to see how the odds fluctuate in the build-up to the actual race itself.