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Cheltenham Festival

A promising juvenile, Britain's leading Champion Chase hope and a forgotten stayer - last week's Cheltenham Festival market movers

Find out this week's movers and shakers in the ante-post markets for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival . . .

Queens Gamble

Race: Mares' Novices' Hurdle

Odds: 14-1 (from 16)

Queens Gamble ran out an impressive winner on her return to action at Kempton last week, prompting bookmakers to cut her for the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

The five-year-old, who was making her first start for Harry Derham, extended her unbeaten record over hurdles to two as she finished two and a quarter lengths clear of Classic King.

Derham said: "A day in March is the time we need to have her right as the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival will be absolutely made for her. She's won at Cheltenham before so we just need to plot our way there. I'm sure there are much better days to come."

Mares' Novices' Hurdle (March 14)

Sky Bet: 5 Brighterdaysahead, 7 Dysart Enos, 10 Aurora Vega, 12 Enola, Junta Marvel, 14 Queens Gamble, Judicieuse Allen, 16 bar

Stellar Story

Race: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

Odds: 16-1 (from 33)

The Gordon Elliott-trained six-year-old was halved in price for the Albert Bartlett following a convincing victory in a 2m4f maiden hurdle at Navan on Saturday.

The son of Shantou, who was making his first start over hurdles, showed his staying prowess when defeating the Willie Mullins-trained Largy Hill by four and three-quarter lengths.

He holds an entry in the Grade 1 Royal Bond at Fairyhouse next month, but given he won so convincingly over two and a half miles and that he won a point over three miles, he may continue to step up in trip as the season progresses.

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (March 15)

Paddy Power: 12-1 High Class Hero, Tullyhill, 16 Ballyburn, Stellar Story, You Oughta Know, 20 Croke Park, Ile Atlantique, Mahons Way, 25 bar

Burdett Road: winner of the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham
Burdett Road: winner of the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at CheltenhamCredit: John Grossick

Burdett Road

Race: Triumph Hurdle

Odds: 7-1 (from 20)

Burdett Road stormed to the top of the Triumph Hurdle betting after a taking display in the trial at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The James Owen-trained three-year-old was too strong for his ten rivals at the home of jump racing, confirming the promise of his debut win with a six-and-a-half length success over An Bradan Feasa.

Owen has his eyes set on the festival, and said: "The Triumph will be the aim now. It's exciting. When he gets good ground he'll be the real deal. He's learned a lot and he'll be exciting come March."

Triumph Hurdle (March 15)

bet365: 7-1 Burdett Road, 10 Jigme, 12 Bunting, Salvator Mundi, Anzadam, 16 Ethical Diamond, Majborough, Sir Gino, Kala Conti, 20 bar

Bob Olinger

Race: Stayers' Hurdle

Odds: 20-1 (from 50)

Henry de Bromhead expressed his delight after Bob Olinger returned to winning ways in the Railway Bar Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on Saturday.

The eight-year-old denied favourite Zanahiyr by a length, which resulted in him shortening significantly in the betting for the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

It was a good starting point for Bob Olinger and connections could well follow the same route as last season, with the Christmas Hurdle over three miles at Leopardstown next on the agenda.

Stayers' Hurdle (March 14)

William Hill: 5-1 Theleme, 6 Teahupoo, 8 Gaelic Warrior, 12 Marie's Rock, 14 West Balboa, Blazing Khal, Irish Point, 16 Corbetts Cross, Sire Du Berlais, 25 Bob Olinger, 30 bar

Harry Cobden celebrates Paddy Power Gold Cup glory after surviving a final-fence scare aboard Stage Star
Harry Cobden celebrates Paddy Power Gold Cup glory after surviving a final-fence scare aboard Stage StarCredit: Edward Whitaker

Stage Star

Race: Ryanair Chase

Odds: 4-1 (from 12)

Harry Cobden produced a sterling ride on Stage Star to avoid a near-disaster and hold on to land the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Grade 1 winner cleared the final fence but almost unseated his jockey on the landing. However, Stage Star managed to stay on his feet and win the race by four lengths. He was then cut for the Ryanair at the festival and sits only behind Allaho in the betting.

Paul Nicholls said: "He can only go left-handed. If he didn't turn up until the Ryanair it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'm sure we'll find something for him."

Ryanair Chase (March 14)

Sky Bet: 3-1 Allaho, 4 Stage Star, 6 Jonbon, 10 Envoi Allen, 11 Banbridge, 14 Shishkin, Ferny Hollow, 16 Conflated, 20 bar

Facile Vega

Race: Arkle Trophy

Odds: 3-1 (from 4)

Facile Vega won comfortably on his chasing debut at Navan on Saturday, resulting in some bookmakers making him joint-favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

Trained by Willie Mullins, the six-year-old proved too good for last season's Grade 1 Top Novices' Hurdle winner Inthepocket in a beginners' chase, winning by three and three quarter lengths. That was his eighth victory from ten career starts since his debut on Boxing Day in 2021.

He got stronger as the race got on and produced a powerful turn of foot after clearing the final fence. As a result, he joined Marine Nationale at the top of the betting for the Arkle.

Arkle Trophy (March 12)

Paddy Power: 11-4 Marine Nationale, Facile Vega, 8 Mister Policeman, 16 Inthepocket, 20 Sharjah, 25 bar

Croke Park

Race: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

Odds: 25-1 (from 66)

Similarly to Stellar Story, Croke Park strengthened in the Albert Bartlett market after extending his record to 2-2 over hurdles following victory in the Group 3 Monksfield at Navan on Sunday.

The five-year-old powered to success over Mel Monroe and has now won both his races over hurdles by just over 14 lengths.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Croke Park may well continue to be stepped up in trip, having done so in both his appearances this season.

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (March 15)

Paddy Power: 12-1 High Class Hero, Tullyhill, 16 Ballyburn, Stellar Story, You Oughta Know, 20 Croke Park, Ile Atlantique, Mahons Way, 25 bar

Jonbon: brilliant winner of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham
Jonbon: brilliant winner of the Shloer Chase at CheltenhamCredit: Edward Whitaker


Race: Queen Mother Champion Chase

Odds: 5-2 (from 5-1)

Jonbon hardly had to get out of second gear in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday and talk of a potential mouthwatering clash with El Fabiolo in the Queen Mother Champion Chase has already started.

The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old showed off his classy jumping to beat Edwardstone by nine and a half lengths as he landed his 11th career win from 13 starts.

On the possibility of meeting El Fabiolo in March, Henderson said: "I’m going to look forward to it. Let’s hope they do get there on the day and it’ll be one of the headline clashes."

Queen Mother Champion Chase (March 13)

Sky Bet: Evs El Fabiolo, 3 Jonbon, 16 Edwardstone, 20 Ferny Hollow, 33 bar

Read these next:

Daryl Jacob to ride Bravemansgame in the Betfair Chase as Paul Nicholls confirms plans to run at Haydock 

Nicky Henderson eyes 'headline clash' with El Fabiolo after Jonbon's sensational Shloer rout 

Superb Stage Star completes perfect Paul Nicholls plan despite dramatic final-fence error 

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Liam HeaddReporter

Published on 20 November 2023inCheltenham Festival

Last updated 11:30, 20 November 2023