Road to Cheltenham: Faugheen falters as Lalor lays down a marker
A pulsating weekend of racing at Cheltenham and Punchestown produced some big market movers for next year’s Arkle Chase, Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle.
Lalor, Stormy Ireland and Sceau Royal were among those to enhance their Cheltenham Festival claims. Meanwhile, Faugheen took a step back after a disappointing effort in the Morgiana Hurdle.
We’ve got all the latest info in this week’s Road to Cheltenham.
Lalor – Arkle Chase – 6/1 from 25/1
Kalashnikov has company at the head of the Arkle market after Lalor produced a polished performance over fences to take the November Novices’ Chase.
The six-year-old was a popular winner for Kayley Woollacott, who is continuing the great work of her late-husband Richard Woollacott.
Lalor should come on even more for this run and is now 6/1 for next year’s Arkle.
Stormy Ireland – Mares’ Hurdle – 8/1
Willie Mullins has trained nine of the 11 winners of the Mares’ Hurdle since the race was first introduced to Cheltenham in 2008. Now he has another contender in 8/1 shot Stormy Ireland.
The four-year-old romped home on her reappearance at Punchestown to take the Listed Grabel Mares’ Hurdle by 8l. Tougher tests lie ahead for the four-year-old, but this was a solid marker.
Sceau Royal – Champion Chase – 14/1 from 25/1
Altior is not for moving at the top of the Champion Chase market. But Sceau Royal took a healthy bite out of his own odds for the 1m7f contest with a comfortable win in the Shloer Chase on Sunday.
The six-year-old is now 14/1 for the March renewal after edging out rivals including Simply Ned and 2018 Arkle runner-up Brain Power by over 2l.
While the Champion Chase could be the long-term target, Alan King’s raider still holds an entry for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle next month too.
Faugheen – Stayers’ Hurdle – 10/1 from 9/2
It looked set to be a question of how many lengths Faugheen would win by in the Morgiana at Punchestown. Not whether he had the credentials to get the job done on his seasonal reappearance.
Mullins’ stable star was sent off as the 2/5f following the withdrawals of Supasundae and Samcro but didn’t look fluent throughout and could only finish runner-up behind Sharjah.
Elixir De Nutz – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 20/1
There weren’t many better performances over the weekend than that of Elixir De Nutz. Colin Tizzard’s charge made all over 2m to take the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle ahead of Itchy Feet and Seddon.
Harry Cobden was glowing about the four-year-old after the race, who has trained on well since switching from Philip Hobbs last summer.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication