RACING fan Pete Hamill (@RiskForRewards) takes a look at the market leaders on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday.
Cheltenham Festival Tips: Day 3 Bankers or Blowouts
Welcome to the Cheltenham Festival, the greatest sporting event on this planet.
Last year there were 18 horses 3/1 or shorter – 16 of them lost. There were 6 odds-on favourites, of which only one of those obliged.
A man responsible for a large percentage of these is leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins. Of his short priced favourites between 2006 – 2020 he has had 63 runners of which 48% have won, 78% placed.
Almost 50% of his runners when short priced win at the Festival. That is some strike rate and exception to the rule that short price favourites often get turned over.
Of the 9 current favourites priced below 2/1 he is responsible for five of those. Over the next four days I will look to exploit those favourites.
Marsh Novices’ Hurdle | Thursday 18th March 2021, 13:20 | ITV1
Envoi Allen (8/13 Bet365)
Envoi Allen fits all of the trends, is a worthy favourite and you could argue he is still a good price, if this event was a non-Cheltenham event (same runners) you would have to think he could be closer to 1/2.
It is a concern that he has switched yards so late in the day but it is less worrying due to his relaxed nature. His groom from his previous yard is now going to be looking after him, a very coy move by Henry because she knows the horse better than anyone. Envoi Allen would give a race to any of the other best novices this year (Shishkin, Energumene, Monkfish) over any trip but he faces nothing of that calibre here.
Festival Form: 2019 –Champion Bumper winner. Last year in winning the Ballymore novices hurdle Envoi Allens time when compared to the Coral Cups the same day was 7 seconds faster this is the fastest comparison in fifteen years. The closest to that record was Faugheen who broke it by 3.5 seconds and we all know how good Faugheen turned out to be.
Form: This year has been kept simple in running only three times in small fields picking up a group 3 and group 1 on the way. The opposition have avoided him at every opportunity. He has jumped fluently, travelled with ease and looks like he has been over fences for years. Whilst he hasn’t been asked any questions over fences I wouldn’t be concerned with the qualities already seen over hurdles.
Dangers: Shan Blue is the second favourite but he was very well beaten by Sporting John last time out when given a very tough race. Shan Blue finished 27 lengths behind Envoi Allen in the Ballymore last year.
Chantry House looked much better last time out but does have to come back to Cheltenham where he ran poorly before. His fourth in the Supreme at the festival reads well, his jockey (Nico D Boinville) said if he could ride any horse at Cheltenham who is not in the yard it would be Envoi Allen, which shows the regard the rest have for the horse.
Selection: I think this has always been a stepping-stone he will just take in his stride on route to the long-term goal next year of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He is 4/4 in bumpers, 4/4 in hurdles and hopefully this will be 4/4 over fences, all of which have culminated at the Cheltenham festival.
He is the consummate professional and bar the stable switch I cannot find a fault with the horse and fully expect him to continue the winning thread.