2016 Cheltenham Festival news: Bristol De Mai new fav for JLT
Bristol De Mai new favourite for JLT as Vic ruled out
Bristol De Mai is the new 3/1 favourite with Coral for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th, after ante post market leader Killultagh Vic was ruled out for the season with a suspensory injury.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained gelding had been 6/1 second favourite for the 2m 4f contest after making every yard of the running to impressively land the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown at the weekend.
With Killultagh Vic now out, Outlander looks the main hope for the Mullins’ team.
The eight-year-old is unbeaten in three runs over fences, and looked a top notch prospect in the last of those when pulling clear on the run-in to beat highly regarded stable companion Pont Alexandre by 2 3/4 lengths in the Grade 1 Flogas Chase at Leopardstown.
He is now 6/1 second favourite (from 8s) with Coral in the re-jigged JLT betting, with stable companion Shaneshill next best in at 10/1.
More Of That heading straight to Festival
The high class and exciting More Of That is set to head straight to the Cheltenham Festival after being ruled out of an intended appearance at Newbury on Saturday by connections.
Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, the 2014 World Hurdle hero is two from two over fences since returning from injury, winning at Cheltenham in November and December, and currently 4/1 second-favourite with Coral for the RSA Chase at the Festival on Wednesday, March 16th.
The eight-year-old, who also holds an entry in the JLT Novices’ Chase and the World Hurdle, has missed a number of potential engagements since then on account of testing conditions and with the ground at Newbury not expected to dry out sufficiently connections have decided to bypass a final prep run ahead of the Festival.
Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “He won’t be running on Saturday because of the ground.
“We were hoping it would dry up a bit, but it’s still soft, heavy in places on the chase track. He’s in great form and Jonjo is very happy with him.
“We’d have loved to get another run into him, but Jonjo isn’t overly worried if he can’t, and it looks like he’ll probably go straight to Cheltenham now.”
Nicholls bullish about the chances of Dodging Bullets
Trainer Paul Nicholls has nominated last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets as his best chance at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old has not been seen since landing the biggest success of his career when beating Somersby by 1 1/2 lengths, and is due to make his belated return to action in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on Saturday.
Dodging Bullets has been troubled by a splint injury, but Nicholls is happy that he is now ready to return to the fray en route to defending his crown in the Champion Chase for which he is currently an 8/1 shot with Coral.
Speaking in a Racing Post Q&A, Nicholls said: “As it stands now, the best chance [of festival success] would be Dodging Bullets in the Champion Chase.
“We’re very happy with him and he has been moving as good as ever. He will improve fitness-wise for the run.
“We also might have some well handicapped horses for a change so we’re hopeful in the handicaps but we’ll see what the weights bring. I would also say Aux Ptits Soins, if he comes back to his best.”