Top Owner Preview – Cheltenham 2015
Top Cheltenham Owner
Some may see the battle for next Wednesday’s Champion Chase featuring Sprinter Sacre (5/2), Sire De Grugy (3/1), Dodging Bullets (9/2) and Champange Fever (5/1) as one of the closest of the festival,
…but one that looks even tighter is the race to become Top Owner – step forward Rich Richi (6/4), JP McManus (15/8) and Gigginstown House Stud (2/1).
Gigginstown For Gold
There has already been a tremendous amount of interest in this year’s market as to who will finish Top Owner, an accolade that last year went to Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown team.
The same team are again in good shape to defend the crown, thanks to the likes of Don Poli (3/1, RSA Chase), Don Cossack (7/2, Ryanair Chase), Very Wood (4/1, NH Chase), Outlander (5/1, Neptune Investment Hurdle), Valseur Lido (6/1, JLT Novices’ Chase), Roi Des Francs (6/1, Martin Pipe Hurdle), No More Heroes (7/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle) and Road To Riches (9/1, Gold Cup).
Clearly, the Gigginstown operation will head to Cheltenham with all guns blazing, and with leading chances Don Poli, Don Cossack and Very Wood flying the flag, they are worthy of their 2/1 quote.
Gigginstown also lead the current Irish jumps owners championship, in which Rich and Susannah Ricci are in third place, but have one eye on capturing their first owners title at the festival.
Right Time For Ricci’s
In terms of the market, then the Ricci’s have to be favourites to win the title, as they boast the likes of Annie Power (4/7, OLBG Mares’ Hurdle), Faugheen (11/10, Champion Hurdle), Douvan (6/4, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and Vautour (9/4, JLT Novices’ Chase). That’s not to mention numerous other fancies in single-figure odds, like Bordini at 7/1 for the Champion Bumper.
The Ricci’s have a formidable attack lined-up for the four days, and having recorded a career best with a double at the 2014 festival, they will want to go for gold this time around.
Certainly, with a mouth-watering quartet of Annie Power, Faugheen, Douvan and Vautour, it’s clear to see why punters have been laying down the cash, and at odds of 6/4, some might see that as one of the “bankers” across the four days.
McManus And McCoy
But, what of the man with 41 festival winners already under his belt…JP McManus, and his famous green and gold hoops.
Currently over £300k clear in the British jumps owners championship, McManus has enjoyed a superb season so far, and will have a luxury of choices to fire at the festival. Amongst them Jezki (5/1, Champion Hurdle), Hargam (13/2, Triumph Hurdle), On The Fringe (7/1, Foxhunter Chase) and Mr Mole (8/1, Champion Chase). Who’s to say what JP will have lined-up in the handicaps, while he will no doubt want to provide a few winners for Tony McCoy in his final festival.
As for the bigger priced owners in the title race, then Graham Wylie is 25/1, the same price as Simon Munir & Isaac Souede. Of the pair, the latter cannot be underestimated as they have even shorter priced fancies than JP McManus in Peace And Co (5/2, Triumph Hurdle) and L’Ami Serge (4/1, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle). Should those two deliver, then the likes of Dawalan (12/1, Pertemps Final) and Vyta Du Roc (14/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle) are more than capable of going close.
Who’s your money on?…