Cheltenham Festival 2016 news: Silviniaco Conti and Cooper latest
David Metcalf | January 19, 2016
Coral round up the latest Cheltenham Festival betting and news with the Prestbury Park showpiece event now less than two months away.
Silviniaco Conti to get World Hurdle entry
Trainer Paul Nicholls has revealed that Silviniaco Conti will get an entry in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and not the Gold Cup, and Coral make him a 20/1 to land the 3m feature contest on Thursday, March 17th.
The 10-year-old won the King George in both 2013 and 2014 but was pulled up in last month’s renewal of that race. He held every chance when coming to grief three from home in the 2013 Gold Cup won by Bobs Worth, but has failed to fire in the last two runnings.
Conti’s ultimate aim this this season is likely to be the Crabbies’ Grand National, and he is 25/1 with Coral for the Aintree spectacular.
Nicholls told At The Races: “I haven’t even put him in the Gold Cup and he will actually have an entry in the World Hurdle which might be a prep for the National. Whether he runs in the National this year or in 12 months time, I don’t know.”
Vroum Vroum puts Cheltenham credentials on the line at Ascot
Vroum Vroum Mag is among 12 entries for the OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday (January 23rd) and her trainer Willie Mullins believes how she peforms will help determine her target at the Cheltenham Festival.
She is currently 8/1 with Coral for the Mares’ Hurdle at the four-day spectacular in March and a 9/1 shot for the World hurdle.
Saturday’s Grade 2 contest represents a step up in class over hurdles for Vroum Vroum Mag, but Mullins is keen to let her take her chance to enable him to assess which would be a more suitable target at the Festival.
The County Carlow handler has won the last seven runnings of the Mares’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park, six times with the brilliant Quevega and last year with Glens Melody.
Glens Melody capitalised on the fall of stable companion Annie Power, who was in the lead and cruising when coming to grief at the last with the race at her mercy.
Annie Power, who like Vroum Vroum Mag carries the colours of Susannah Ricci, has not been seen in competitive action this season due to a setback but Mullins reports her to be progressing nicely.
The eight-year-old is currently 8/11 favourite with Coral to gain compensation in the Mares’ Hurdle, and 10/1 for the World Hurdle.
Cooper to make last minute decision on Gold Cup mount
Gigginstown House Stud manager Eddie O’Leary expects jockey Bryan Cooper to wait until the last minute before deciding which horse he will ride in this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 18th.
The leading Irish owners have a formidable hand for the 3m 2f blue ribbon contest, with Don Cossack and Don Poli likely to be joined by last year’s cracking third Road To Riches.
Don Cossack, 5/1 joint-second favourite with Coral for the Gold Cup, is heading straight to Prestbury Park having bounced back from his fall in the King George VI Chase at Kempton two from home when holding every chance with a workmanlike victory in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles.
Last year’s RSA Chase hero Don Poli is Coral’s other 5/1 joint-second favourite having made it two from two for the season with a gutsy success in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over the Festive period.
Road To Riches is on the comeback trail having been under the weather and pulled put of the the Lexus, and currently 14/1 with Coral for the Gold Cup.
The gelding’s next outing is likely to be in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on February 6th, but it is not yet certain Don Poli will also line up in the Grade 1 contest or head straight to Cheltenham without another outing.
For much more Cheltenham content, check out Coral’s dedicated page on all things relating to Prestbury Park and the Festival.