We saw some more early Cheltenham Festival clues on Saturday afternoon, not least from Cue Card in the Betfair Chase. The Follow The Money team round up the latest antepost market moves...
"Given the manner of yesterday's victory it's not surprising to see Cue card backed into 7.413/2 from 15.5 for this year's Gold Cup."
We begin this week's 'Road To Cheltenham' column with a less than impressive run from the Willie Mullins-trained Senewalk. The highly-touted son of Walk In The Park, sire to Min, last year's Supreme Novice second, was very strong in the same antepost market and had been backed into 7.613/2 favourite from an opening price of 17.5.
Hoping to begin his career in Ireland with a win just as Min had done the year before, Senewalk opened up at a price of 4/11, however confidence waned for the four-year-old throughout the night and up to race time when he could be backed at even money.
This drift proved to be an accurate reflection as Senewalk's jumping was untidy and he could only manage a sixth-place finish. The antepost markets reacted immediately and Senewalk can now be found at a potentially very attractive 36.035/1. Although this wasn't the performance many expected, it was first time out and you can be sure Mullins will have any jumping errors well ironed out come March. If so 36.035/1 could be a steal.
Card right on Cue in Betfair Chase
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a horse that was only mentioned a couple of weeks ago as one that was drifting in the Gold Cup market.
Cue Card made amends for his tame effort in the Charlie Hall Chase with an emphatic victory over Coneygree in the Betfair Chase yesterday. Having come desperately close to landing the £1 Million Triple Crown last year when coming down three out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cue Card looked better than ever when winning by 15 lengths, and you would have to imagine that a bold bid for this year's Triple Crown will once again be on the agenda.
Given the manner of yesterday's victory it's not surprising to see Cue card backed in to 7.413/2 from 15.5 for this year's Gold Cup.
King stayer looks a lively World Hurdle hope
Somewhere between these two performances was that of Yanworth. The Alan King-trained six-year-old was having his first day out since the festival in March, and he certainly needed the run. Just edging out Lil Rockerfeller in the final strides Yanworth got up to claim a victory that looked dead and buried approaching the last.
With trainer King keen to step him up in trip, the World Hurdle looks the most likely of options for Yanworth and the betting has reflected this too. Once available as high as 24.023/1 on the exchange he has been steadily backed in to 10.09/1 and given he will continue to improve and appreciate the left-handed course at Cheltenham, Yanworth has plenty of positives.
There were some other notable performances over the weekend, Different Gravey made the perfect start over fences winning a beginners' chase at Ascot. Still quite young at six-years-old, there should be plenty more improvement to come from the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding. His performance yesterday didn't go unnoticed by punters as he has been backed in to 14.013/1 from a high of 65.064/1 for the JLT Novice Chase.
My Tent Or Yours was less than impressive on his seasonal return. Although he travelled well, he was found wanting as the pace quickened on the home turn at Haydock, perhaps he will relish the return to better ground come March, however it would be hard to recommend a bet given yesterday's performance. A crack at the Champion Hurdle looks a very daunting task.
Cheltenham Festival Movers
Senewalk in the Supreme Novice 7.613/2 out to 36.035/1
Cue Card in the Gold Cup 15.5 in to 7.413/2
Yanworth in the World Hurdle 24.023/1 in to 10.09/1