Ante-Post Armchair: Beautiful Bob Has Festival In His Sights

Beautiful Bob Has Festival In His Sights

Bob Olinger is now a best-priced even money shot to win the Turners Chase

All eyes were on Punchestown on Sunday, as the Henry De Bromhead trained BOB OLINGER made it two from two over fences with a decisive victory in the Grade 3 Novice Chase. On the whole, he jumped well and travelled nicely, albeit with three fences omitted due to low sun. There was a slightly anxious moment for favourite backers, because as they turned into the home straight, the resolute Capadanno didn’t show any immediate signs of folding easily, and as a consequence Rachael Blackmore had to ask the seven-year-old to go through the gears. It is fair to say that the response was convincing, and ultimately ran out to a more than comfortable success, just shy of five lengths. What they do next with him will be the interesting talking point; he has had two starts at SP’s of 1/3f and 1/2f; whilst underlining his authority, but simultaneously the lack of real opposition.

De Bromhead initially mentioned getting another run into him at the Dublin Racing Festival in 3 weeks time, as you sense that he wants to avoid any chance of  having the horse undercooked or untested before a crack at the Turners Chase in just over 8 weeks time – or to put in similar terms, an Envoi Allen part 2 scenario. However, a later bulletin from the handler seemed to pour some cold water on that plan, and it may just be that he ends up at the Festival on just the back of two chase runs. Whatever the move is next, he is likely to line up at the Cheltenham Festival, along with stablemate Honeysuckle, as one of the bankers of the meeting in many people’s eyes. He will carry the weight of expectation from Ireland, and will be expected to deliver – in style.

Dynamite Dynamo Blows Away The Opposition

Dusart Dynamo looks the real deal, but what’s his Cheltenham target going to be?

Earlier on the card, the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle turned into a procession, as the Willie Mullins trained DYSART DYNAMO produced an emphatic display to win by 19 lengths. The 4/9f won in a common canter, and now we have the latest in the Groundhog Day series of questions regarding Cheltenham Festival targets; last week it was the Jonbon vs Constitution Hill debate, and whether one of them, most likely the latter should go for the Ballymore instead. Well, ‘The Dynamo’ is a very large cat who has landed amongst the ante-post pigeons; so what now? Jockey Paul Townend hinted that he was happy with the horse to stick to 2m for now: ‘He has plenty of gears, but will have to see where Willie fits him in.’ The performance will mean there are plenty of tricky decisions to be made over the next couple of months, with stable mate Sir Gerhard in the mix, and whether this performance will make connections of Jonbon and Constitution Hill think again about where to run at the Festival, should Dysart Dynamo go for the curtain raiser. We are getting more questions than answers at present, but that’s what makes it extremely exciting. One thing is for sure, we have a bunch of potentially stellar looking novice hurdlers, and all being well, we are set for some epic clashes at Prestbury Park in March.

Warwick And Kempton Festival Clues

The ante-post movers and shakers after some smart performances…

A couple of noticeable horses in England put in performances that had an impact on the Cheltenham Antepost markets after the Saturday action. MISTER FISHER came roaring back to success in the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton. After pulling-up in the King George on his first start back after an operation for a heart murmur, the eight-year-old produced a polished performance to get the better of Eldorado Allen in the closing stages. Plans to test the 3m waters will be shelved for now according to Nicky Henderson, and he is likely to head straight to the RyanAir Chase, for which is a general 20/1 poke.

With the race likely to cut up, a case can be made for him from an each-way perspective. Over at Warwick, SPORTING JOHN won in very impressive fashion in the Pertemps Qualifier, for the combination of Philip Hobbs and Aidan Coleman. He now causes connections a bit of a dilemma; his revised mark will be announced on Tuesday and it is likely he will be in the realms of the high 150’s in regards to official rating on the back of that smart effort. To try and defy that rating for the Final for which he is now best priced 12/1 (Ladbrokes/Coral), may be too much, and connections may decide the roll the dice in the Stayers’ Hurdle, where if he could turn up in that form, he would have an each-way chance (20/1 SkyBet).