Road to Cheltenham: Shake-up in Gold Cup market after Trials Day

Djakadam a Gold Cup drifter after falling on Trials Day
Djakadam a Gold Cup drifter after falling on Trials Day

With little over six weeks to go until the tapes go up at Prestbury Park, the Follow The Money team discusses the key Cheltenham antepost market movers after Trials Day at the weekend...

"We saw a very impressive victory for the Alan King-trained Yanworth who didn't break sweat in the Grade 2 Classic Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. As a result the gelding came in from 8.88/1 to 3.185/40 for the Neptune Novices Hurdle."

All change in Gold Cup market


The feature race on Saturday was the much anticipated Grade 2 Chase at Cheltenham where last year's Gold Cup runner up, the Willie Mullins-trained Djakadam, was expected to prove too good for the field that included the Hennessey Gold Cup winner, Smad Place, and the Grand National winner, Many Clouds.

But while he looked in touch and was travelling well, Djakadam fell at the 10th fence, leaving the Hennessey victor and the Grand National hero to battle it out up the hill. Smad Place proved he was too strong and eventually beat Many Clouds by 12 lengths.

The Gold Cup market changed considerably with Djakadam losing his position at the head of the Gold Cup market, drifting from 5.49/2 out to 7.26/1 behind stablemate Vautour and Gordon Elliott-trained Don Cossack. Meanwhile, with Alan King seeming to abandon plans for the Ryanair Chase with Smad Place, he moved in to 13.5 from 36.035/1 for the Friday showpiece.


Thistle a tough nut to crack


The other headline race on Saturday was the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle where all eyes were on the World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack. The Colin Tizzard-trained eight-year-old was very impressive when winning the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot back in December and here he travelled very strongly and drew effortlessly clear of the likes of Ptit Zig and The Romford Pele, proving that he was still the horse to beat for Thursday's feature race at the festival. As a result he further cemented his position as the clear favourite in the World Hurdle market, being backed in from 3.711/4 in to 2.546/4.


Vaniteux gets Arkle backing


Nicky Henderson was pleased with his Arkle fancy Vaniteux who won the Grade 2 Novices Chase at Doncaster. The seven-year-old tracked the leaders throughout and, although was pushed along three out, he was driven out on the run in by Nico De Boinville to score a comfortable victory to Arzal, with the Mullins trained Shaneshill beaten a long way from home. As a result of this victory he has been backed in from 10.519/2 in to 9.89/1 for the Arkle Novices Chase, where stablemate L'Ami Serge and Douvan still lead the market.


Yanworth and Barters Hill shorten


Elsewhere this weekend, we saw a very impressive victory for the Alan King-trained Yanworth who didn't break sweat in the Grade 2 Classic Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. As a result the gelding came in from 8.88/1 to 3.185/40 for the Neptune Novices Hurdle. Also impressive was the Ben Pauling-trained Barters Hill who cemented his place as favourite for the Albert Barlettt Hurdle with a game victory at in the Grade 2 Hurdle at Doncaster. You can now back him at 4.1, in from 4.67/2.


Irish delight for Mullins


Meanwhile over the Irish Sea this weekend saw two Mullins trained runners shorten for the festival. The Rich Ricci-owned runner Limini won impressively at Fairyhouse on Saturday and was clipped in to 2.35/4 from a high of 3.185/40 for the Dawn Run Novices Hurdle. On Sunday saw Felix Younger battle to victory at Punchestown and saw a slight market move from 27.026/1 in to 24.023/1 for the Champion Chase.

Notable Market Moves


Djakadam out to 7.26/1 from 5.49/2 for the Gold Cup
Smad Place in to 13.5 from 36.035/1 for the Gold Cup

Thistlecrack in to 2.546/4 from 3.711/4 for the World Hurdle
Vaniteux in to 9.89/1 from 10.519/2 for the Arkle
Yanworth in to 3.185/40 from 8.88/1 for the Neptune Novices Hurdle
Barters Hill in to 4.1 from 4.67/2 for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle
Limini in to 2.35/4 from 3.185/40 for the Dawn Run Novices Hurdle
Felix Younger in to 24.023/1from 27.026/1 for the Champion Chase

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