Gentleman De Mee Shoots to Top of Grand Annual Market

Having opened Thursday available at odds of 14-1, Gentleman De Mee is now a best price of 8-1 with Unibet for the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival following his 34 length romp in a Thurles beginners’ chase on Thursday.

Ridden by Mark Walsh for Willie Mullins and JP McManus, Gentleman De Mee got off the mark on his third attempt over fences, having been runner-up to best-priced 10-1 (bet365) Arkle fancy Haut En Couleurs on his previous outing at Leopardstown in December.

Despite Mullins having trained a record 78 Cheltenham Festival winners, not a single one of these has come in a handicap chase, meaning Gentleman De Mee would create history for Closutton trainer if able to get the job done in March.

The six-year-old is no stranger to support at the Festival, having been sent off 4-1 favourite for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle last season, eventually beaten into tenth by stable companion Galopin Des Champs.

Cheltenham Festival handicap entries are due to be announced later in February, with others towards the top of the current Grand Annual ante-post betting include Couer Sublime (12-1), as well as Brave Seasca (12-1) and Funambule Sivola (14-1), who respectively run at Warwick and Newbury this weekend.