2016 Cheltenham Festival ante post plays: Shantou Village a Neptune Novices’ gem
David Metcalf | January 27, 2016
Shantou Village has won his three starts over the obstacles in the style of a top notch prospect, and at 10/1 with Coral (from 12/1) looks the value in the ante post betting for the 2m 5f Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday, March 16th.
The gelding won his sole start in an Irish point at Loughanmore in impressive fashion, and scored readily by 2 1/4 lengths on hurdling debut over an inadequate 2m at Wetherby after joining trainer Neil Mulholland.
Step up from Shantou was impressive
Shantou Village then relished the step up to 2m 4f when cruising home hard-held by 19 lengths in a minor contest at Carlisle, before taking the step up into Grade 2 company in his stride when scoring over course and distance at The Open meeting.
The six-year-old travelled ominously well throughout in the latter, and after being produced to take up the running two from home stormed clear to slam Champers On Ice by 15 lengths.
It was a most taking performance which oozed class and the runner-up, who was receiving 4lb, has come out and won twice since to give the form a strong look.
What was most impressive was the way in which Shantou Village did things effortlessly, and when asked to put the race to he did so with a nice turn of foot before galloping strongly all the way to the line.
Mulholland stable going under radar
To have a stayer with a turn of foot is a deadly attribute, and Shantou Village is undoubtedly a class act going places.
If trained by Willie Mullins, Shantou Village would be around a third of his current price for the Neptune.
The fact that he hails from an “unfashionable” stable means that his exploits have gone relatively unnoticed, but Mulholland is no stranger to big race success having saddled The Druids Nephew to victory at last year’s Festival and certainly knows the time of day.
Listen to him talk about Shantou Village, and you will be in no doubt that he believes he has an exceptional prospect on his hands.
Village to prove Festival credentials at Cheltenham Trials
Judged on what I have seen, Shantou Village is the real deal, and he is due to have his final prep run on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday, January 30th.
The field looks like being a strong one, and should Shantou Village come through the test with flying colours he is sure to be single figure odds for the Neptune and may well even be vying for favouritism.
Shantou Village thus rates as a sound investment when betting each-way at this year’s Cheltenham Festvial.
Coral’a ante post play: Shantou Village each-way for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.