Tony Calvin: Triolo D'Alene to go well at Ascot but keep an eye on those Cheltenham markets

Tony fancies Triolo D'Alene at Ascot on Saturday in the Betfair Ascot Chase
Tony fancies Triolo D'Alene at Ascot on Saturday in the Betfair Ascot Chase

After today's shock news that Faugheen has been ruled out of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Tony Calvin talks us through who might run where from the Willie Mullins yard, before moving on to preview Saturday's big race, the Betfair Ascot Chase...


"As I outlined in the Grand National piece, I was pretty taken by his Kempton win, despite the understandable doubts about the solidity of the form. And you would do well to remember what a good horse he was two seasons ago, when winning the Hennessy off a mark of 147."

Back Triolo D'Alene at 9.08/1 in the Betfair Ascot Chase and 7-1 each way 1/5 1,2,3 with the Sportsbook

The good news is that I survived the Crabbies Grand National Weights Lunch on Tuesday - the magnificent Sky Garden venue was a fair bit plusher than the downmarket boozer I ended up in with a certain Irish trainer and an early-morning radio presenter late into the evening - so I am alive and kicking to be able to give you a quick spin through the weekend's ante-post markets.

The bad news is, that while I am feeling a touch hungover, I am probably not as sore as the connections of Faugheen - and his non-NRNB backers, and his supporters on the exchange - after the shock, and sad, news that the odds-on favourite for the Champion Hurdle misses the race with a suspensory problem.

I seriously doubt that there has ever been a non-runner in Cheltenham history that has had such a direct bearing on so many ante-post markets on the Festival.

So, let's think this through, starting with the Champion Hurdle.

Faugheen has traded at a low of 1.444/9 and 1.211/5 in the Win and Place market respectively, and that is obviously a hammer blow for his backers, if not his layers.

But that is only half of the story, as Faugheen's owner Rich Ricci will now have to consider juggling his other stars from their preferred targets.

Obviously, the first horse on many lips after the news - especially after her winning return to action today - was Annie Power being re-directed from the Mares' Hurdles and the World Hurdle.

It now looks as if Annie Power will be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle for which she is currently trading as the 4.03/1 favourite on the exchange having been matched at 500.0499/1 - yes, you read that correctly - though this will be a volatile market in the coming days. And changing by the minute.

And that is very bad news for the punters who have supported the mare at a low of 1.645/8 for the Mares Hurdle and 5.79/2 for the World Hurdle.

But the seismic effect of Faugheen's injury clearly doesn't end there.

For example, where does Vroum Vroum Mag go now? She is currently 3.02/1 favourite for the Mares' Hurdle - 4.216/5 before today's news - but would you be massively surprised if she now went for the World Hurdle. Or even the Ryanair Chase, as has been mooted?

And do Douvan's backers for the Arkle - and he has traded as low as 1.4740/85 in that market - have any reason to feel uncomfortable?

Described by Willie Mullins as "a different species", a superb quote that may come back to haunt him, what price would Douvan be if re-directed the Champion Hurdle?

Ok, it almost certainly won't happen - even though the Arkle is pretty small beer compared to the Champion Hurdle in historical terms - but he would be favourite, that is for sure.

And I dare say that Vautour, currently trading at 5.69/2 for the Gold Cup, with "ownermate" Djakadam at 6.86/1, wouldn't be too big a price in the Champion either.

Oh, and I did I mention Un De Sceaux, even-money favourite for the Champion Chase? Yes, he isn't in the same ownership of Ricci, but this is a horse who many were screaming to be allowed to take his chance in last year's top 2m hurdling contest.

And did I hear someone at the back say supplement Min for the Champion?

It is clear that Mullins has some serious re-shuffling to do now, and the ante-post markets will be fascinating to watch unfold in the coming weeks. I'd be inclined to be playing in the NRNB markets, If I were you.


***


There is a good array of ante-post markets to get stuck into this weekend but pride of place has to be the £150k Betfair Ascot Chase where one of my two Grand National fancies - read my piece on the Aintree race here - is due to take his chance.

Now, I am fully in agreement that Silviniaco Conti should be favourite here despite the handicapper downgrading him to a mark of just 164 after three below-efforts this season, but it is no surprise at all that I am recommending a win-only exchange bet on Triolo D'Alene at 9.08/1, and an each-way bet at 7-1 with the Betfair Sportsbook, too.

As I outlined in the Grand National piece, I was pretty taken by his Kempton win, despite the understandable doubts about the solidity of the form. And you would do well to remember what a good horse he was two seasons ago, when winning the Hennessy off a mark of 147.

I'll be disappointed if he isn't at least placed at the weekend, and the current 1/5 the odds 1,2,3 at 7-1 with the Sportsbook is very fair - there could be easily be seven runners or less come the weekend.

Nothing else stands out at the moment on the other three ante-post races on the Ascot card, and the same is true of the two Haydock races too, where I am happy to wait for the confirmed declarations later in the week before getting involved.

In the meantime, keep an eye on those Cheltenham ante-post markets. They promise to be very lively.

Good luck!


Recommended Bet

Back Triolo D'Alene at 9.08/1 in the Betfair Ascot Chase and 7-1 each way 1/5 1,2,3 with the Sportsbook


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