Winners and losers in the Cheltenham handicap weights
The ante-post markets for the eleven handicap races at the Cheltenham festival have been relatively quiet so far but the publication of the weights usually brings a flurry of activity. Trainers have been waiting anxiously to see how the handicapper has assessed their horses and the fall out has already started.
Medinas has been given 11st 12lb in the Coral Cup and Alan King has decided that he will be far better off taking his chance in the World Hurdle. Former Champion Bumper winner Dunguib has been given the same weight.
Charlie Longsdon has already triggered some interest in Pendra in the Novices’ Handicap Chase on the opening day by stating that he is his best chance of a winner at the meeting. The six-year-old won his first two races over fences before being well beaten at Ascot in December.
Tom George’s God’s Own looks to have been handicapped out of the race with 12 stone following his excellent run behind Balder Succes in the Pendil Chase at Kempton. He would have to emulate Hunt Ball who carried that weight to victory in this race two years ago.
Philip Hobbs will not be too thrilled with the handicapper with three of his horses allocated top weight. Balthazar King (Cross Country Chase), Fingal Bay (Pertemps) and Wishfull Thinking (Byrne Group Plate) have all been set to carry 11st 12lb.
The Minehead trainer will be far happier with the 10st 9lb allocated to Cheltenian in the County Hurdle. The classy eight-year-old won the Bumper here in 2011 and ran a fine fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury recently.
Regal Encore, ante-post favourite for the Martin Pipe Hurdle and County Hurdle, faces an uphill task to make either race. He will almost certainly need to win the Imperial Cup at Sandown in order to earn his place in the field.
The JP McManus owned gelding was last seen chasing home 66-1 shot Seeyouatmidnight at Hexham. At the time, connections must have been extremely disappointed but the winner has since won at Musselburgh and Haydock.