Faugheen and Annie Power hot favourites for Festival Grade 1s
Stablemates Faugheen and Annie Power are evens and 4/7 with Coral for the Champion Hurdle and Mares’ Hurdle respectively, following the final declarations for two of Tuesday’s Cheltenham Festival Grade 1 contests.
The New One is 10/3 second-favourite for the former race, ahead of previous winners Jezki (9/2) and Hurricane Fly (8/1), while Glens Melody gives trainer Willie Mullins a strong hand in the Mares’ Hurdle at 4/1.
“Much has been said about the hammering the bookies will take if Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh team up for an opening day four-timer, but there’s no doubt these two big race favourites, along with Douvan and Un De Sceaux, will feature in thousands of accumulators on Tuesday, and we would regard anything less than a treble for the pair as a positive result,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
Douvan is 6/4 with Coral to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1.30), which kicks off proceedings on a fantastic four-days of action, and Un De Sceaux is 8/13 for the Arkle Challenge Trophy 35 minutes later.
Coral also have a whole host of specials for the Festival, including the number of Irish trained winners.
Trainers from the Emerald Isle saddled 12 winners at last year’s meeting, following a record-breaking 14 in 2013. Coral go evens on 12 or more, 2/1 for 10 or 11, and 5/2 nine or fewer in 2015.
Not surprisingly Willie Mullins is strongly odds-on to be crowned top trainer at 1/8, and his retained rider Ruby Walsh is 2/5 to be top jockey for the ninth time in 12 years.
While Walsh, who has ridden most winners in the history of the Festival, is a worthy favourite, I think that Bryan Cooper could be a bit of value at 8/1.
Cooper has a a great book of strongly fancied rides for the Gigginstown House Stud, including RSA favourite Don Poli and leading Albert Bartlett Hurdle hope No More Heroes.
Coral special bet prices
Top Festival Jockey – 2/5 Ruby Walsh, 8/1 Barry Geraghty, Bryan Cooper, 10/1 AP McCoy, 14/1 Sam Twiston-Davies, 33/1 Noel Fehily, Paul Townend, Richard Johnson, 50/1 Bar
Top Festival Trainer – 1/8 Willie Mullins, 7/1 Paul Nicholls, 8/1 Nicky Henderson, 33/1 Gordon Elliott, David Pipe, 66/1 Bar
Irish Grade One winners on Tuesday, March 10th – 5/4 Three, 5/2 Four, 11/4 Two, 10/1 One, 66/1 None
Championship race with biggest winning distance – 15/8 Champion Chase, Gold Cup, 3/1 Champion Hurdle, 4/1 World Hurdle
Championship race with shortest winning distance – 7/4 World Hurdle, 2/1 Champion Hurdle, 7/2 Gold Cup, Champion Chase