Cheltenham Festival: Five most backed horses from the weekend
Altior 8/11 – Queen Mother Champion Chase
Given the ease of Altior’s victory over the much-fancied Politologue at Newbury this weekend, there’s no surprise the money has been rolling in for the two-time Cheltenham winner. There were a few concerns surrounding Altior’s return to the track following a wind operation, but they were soon blown away with a four-length victory on testing ground. That victory has led the Nicky-Henderson trained horse to come in to odds-on from 11/8 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase with every bookie on Oddschecker.
Punters are very confident he’ll make it thirteen wins in a row at Cheltenham, a massive 88% of bets on Champion Chase market have been on Altior since scoring this weekend. The gulf in class between Henderson’s star horse and Politologue was clear to see and the latter has now drifted to 10/1 in the ante-post market.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “Altior couldn’t have been more impressive on Saturday, with Nico de Boinville motionless in the saddle as he eased past Politologue.
“We know he goes well at Cheltenham and will continue to prove popular with punters despite now being odds-on across the board.”
Native River 13/2 – Gold Cup
Doubts lingered over Native River as he made his return to the track in the Denman Chase, however those worries were also put to bed with a 12-length victory over Cloudy Dream. Ruth Jefferson’s eight year-old kept pace with last year’s Denman Chase winner for the majority of the race, but Native River’s class showed in the run-in.
Colin Tizzard’s charge was available at 10/1 before the weekend, but since his victory 77% of bets in the Gold Cup have been on Native River, forcing the price into 13/2.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “Whilst Might Bite is a worthy favourite for the big race at the Festival, there remains the feeling that it’s an open Gold Cup and Native River’s performance put him firmly in the frame.
“Third in the race last year, it was a performance that suggests that the 8-year old could have improved further over the past 12 months.”
Kalashnikov 8/1 – Supreme Novices Hurdle
There was sheer delight for young trainer Amy Murphy over the weekend as her five year-old Kalashnikov cruised to victory in the Betfair Hurdle, shooting him into Supreme Novices Hurdle contention.
On Friday, he was available at 20/1 but this price has well and truly disappeared. He’s now best price 8/1 for the Cheltenham opener. Since scoring at the weekend, a massive 61% of bets have been on Amy Murphy’s star possession.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “The Betfair Hurdle looked a cracking race on paper with whoever managed to finish in-front having to get by a string of top horses so it is no shock that Kalashnikov is proving popular.
“The Supreme market is headed by Getabird who runs for Willie Mullins, and this could be a David vs Goliath match-up as Amy Murphy takes on the mighty Irish trainer.”
Saint Calvados 15/2 – Arkle Chase
Harry Whittington’s Saint Calvados completed possibly the easiest victory of the weekend. The five year-old blew away an experienced field to land a Novices’ Chase at Warwick at the weekend, winning by 22 lengths.
Saint Calvados has shot into third favourite for the Arkle and can be backed at 15/2, some distance from the 14/1 on offer last week. Since blowing away the field at Warwick, 82% of bets have been on the French horse.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “Saint Calvados couldn’t have done more to impress at Warwick and he now looks to have a live chance for The Arkle.
“It’s beggars belief that he can still be found at 15/2, when surely he would be a much shorter price if he represented one of the more powerful yards in National Hunt racing.”
Acey Milan 10/1 – Champion Bumper
Acey Milan was a bit of a surprise winner in the last at Newbury this weekend, beating a couple of strong Cheltenham hopefuls. His victory caught the eye of ante-post punters, following a significant surge in bets, the odds were slashed from 20/1 to 10/1.
Despite being fourth favourite for the Champion Bumper, Acey Milan has accounted for 54% of bets over the weekend.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “This Newbury bumper looked like a really hot race, and Acey Milan made an absolute mockery of the field.
“Picking the winner of the Champion Bumper is one of Cheltenham’s toughest assignments, but punters are gleefully taking a chance on Anthony Honeyball’s gelding.”