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McCoy factor means back Ned now in Cheltenham curtain closer

| 05.03.2015

If September 28th 1996 is anything to go by, it can be said with utmost confidence that Ned Buntline will not be sent off at 6/1 to win the final race of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.

Over 18 years ago at Ascot, Frankie Dettori was completing his ‘Magnificent Seven’, with Fujiyama Crest the choice of sentimental punters after the first six victors were on the board.

The result of punters piling on the seventh runner was a price crash from 20/1, in some places, to 2/1 by the off.

Expect a similar rush of money for Ned Buntline throughout the final day of the Cheltenham Festival and this is why anyone wanting to back the current Grand Annual favourite, should do so now.

Everyone associated with horse racing will want McCoy to win on his final Festival start before retirement and it is a race he has a decent track record in.

In no other Festival contest can the 19-time champ trump the three winners he has ridden in the Grand Annual and don’t be surprised to see Ned Buntline backed into at least 3/1 by 5:15 on Cheltenham Friday.

Some shrewd punters have already jumped on this bandwagon, with Ned Buntline shortening from 8/1 since it was confirmed that the Grand Annual would be named after McCoy.

However, the bigger question has to be whether Ned Buntline can win the Grand Annual?

He was sent off as a joint favourite in the race 12 months ago under the stewardship of renowned hold-up jockey Paul Carberry.

Carberry opted for exaggerated tactics similar to those that had worked previously in the race on board Bellvano and stayed on to finish second. This is clearly the way Ned Buntline is best ridden.

It is no surprise that Carberry finished no worse than second in five starts on the horse, while McCoy has finished no better than fourth on his two rides this season.

McCoy has forged his reputation and is better than the rest when it comes to bullying and cajoling a horse that for whatever reason is not willing to give its maximum effort. Ned Buntline doesn’t seem the type to improve for this sort of harassing ride.

Arguably 8/1 looked too short for Ned Buntline in the first instance, so anything around 3/1 would be difficult to get excited about. For those with the contrary view, place your bets now as the current 6/1 will only get shorter.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.