2016 Cheltenham Festival ante post plays: Gangster has a shot in Albert Bartlett
David Metcalf | February 2, 2016
Barters Hill dominates the betting for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but Gangster appears to have slipped under the radar and looks cracking value at 7/1 with Coral in the ante post market for the 3m contest on Friday, March 18th.
The gelding was bought by the Gigginstown House Stud following two runs in France, and made a winning debut for champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins when easily landing a minor contest at Roscommon last June.
Gangster then disappointed when sent off odds-on at Galway and finishing just fifth to Sandymount Duke, but bounced back to slam After Rain by eight lengths at Listowel on his final start last season.
Despite the ease of the success, the six-year-old looked far from the finished article and the type that would do much better once he strengthened up and filled into his frame.
Form of Fairyhouse win looks strong
That view was confirmed when Gangster took the step up into Grade 3 company in his stride to make a winning return to action over 3m at Fairyhouse.
After being settled behind the leaders, Gangster made smooth headway to take up the running two from home before surging clear to beat Last Encounter easily by 10 lengths.
It was a most taking performance which marked Gangster out as a very exciting prospect that needed keeping firmly onside, and the form of the race looks strong.
Last Encounter has since come out and run a blinder to be beaten five lengths by Gangster’s highly regarded stable companion Bellshill in a Grade 1 contest at Naas, and the winner is a 150-rated animal who is currently 3/1 second favourite with Coral for the Neptune on day two of the Festival.
On a line through Last Encounter, a case can be made that Gangster is at least as good, if not better than Bellshill, and the son of Green Time certainly has the size and scope to keep on progressing.
Connections have a good record in race
Another plus is that Gigginstown know what is required to win the race have seen their famous purple colours with a white star carried to victory by Weapons Amenesty in 2009 and Very Wood in 2014.
Gangster looks a similar type to that duo, and is undoubtedly a stayer that will be ideally suited by the Albert Bartlett.
To me the race looks tailor made for Gangster, and it is the only entry that he currently holds at the Festival.
At 16/1 he looks overpriced in my eyes, given his powerful connections, and terrific each-way value at the current odds on offer.
Coral’s ante post play: Gangster each-way at 7/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.