Weekend Review: 2 Major Antepost Moves & 8/1 Cheltenham Tip

Racing Post expert Keith Melrose gives us a round-up of the horse racing action from the weekend, complete with some ante-post advice.

With little more than three weeks to go until the start of the Cheltenham Festival 2024, the trials are thinning out while getting ever more important. Here is a round-up of the main action, complete with some ante-post advice.

L’Homme fails to press his Gold Cup claims

The Ascot Chase was a bit of a disappointing race unless you were attached to winner Pic D’Orhy. In a four-runner race comprising him, a couple of Cheltenham hopefuls in L’Homme Presse and Ahoy Senor, plus a prize-money interloper in Sail Away, he benefited from an excellent front-running ride from Harry Cobden to come out on top.

The winner was cut to 8-1 non-runner no bet by Boylesports for the Ryanair. That makes a lot more sense than the bigger prices elsewhere, as Pic D’Orhy is much more likely to go straight to Aintree. The Ryanair looks fairly open if he does go that route.

The others are best not judged too harshly. That is especially true of L’Homme Presse, who jumped left constantly and was not given a hard race by Charlie Deutsch. He is now 12-1 with Boylesports for the Gold Cup. While Saturday was not a positive for his claims, it is arguable that it was quite as negative as that drift implies. This time last week he was 8-1.

Tully-ho as Mullins novice hopes strengthen

There was another major all-the-way success on Sunday, as Tullyhill took the Listed novice hurdle at Punchestown in convincing style for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. He streaked away from his rivals at the top of the straight in the style of a Grade 1 novice.

All of a sudden, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle looks back in the balance. This is not necessarily because favourite Ballyburn looks vulnerable. He is a stablemate of Tullyhill, who is entered for the Supreme but not the Baring Bingham. Ballyburn has entries in both.

Mullins tends to keep his best horses apart, so the chances of Ballyburn being rerouted are real- and will likely be decided on something other than his form.

8/1 Cheltenham Tip

A lighter menu of ante-post options to consider this week. Boylesports are now betting on all handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival, but with entries due on Tuesday it is best to wait until then before going in properly.

A good example here would be My Mate Mozzie. He is 7-1 favourite for the Grand Annual with Boylesports. If he does not feature among Tuesday’s entries for that race, all of a sudden the 20s about him for the Arkle becomes attractive. We will know a lot more by Tuesday afternoon.

The congestion among Mullins’ shorter-distance novice hurdles would seem to have cleared the path for Readin Tommy Wong to be his main hope in the Albert Bartlett novices’ hurdle.

This horse is stoutly bred and unbeaten under rules, while all the while shaping like the stayer his pedigree suggests he will be. He has a fairly similar profile to Mullins’ last winner of this race, The Nice Guy, and seems likely to go off quite a bit shorter than his current 8-1.

Add to your Betslip – Readin Tommy Wong for the Albert Bartlett

*Prices subject to fluctuation

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