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The Road to Cheltenham (Novice Chases)


The average odds about all current favourites winning the three novices’ chases at the 2022 Cheltenham Festivals is in the region of 16/1. Those odds would have been even shorter had the Willie Mullins-trained Ferny Hollow, a previous warm favourite for the Arkle, not been deemed a non runner following a minor setback.

Anyone who considers the trio of Blue Lord, Galopin Des Champs and Bob Olinger good things for their respective races, the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase on the opening day, Wednesday’s Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and Thursday’s Turners Novices Chase, would do well to beat the current combined odds of just short of 20/1 with Paddy Power. The treble with bet365 in their non-runner-no-bet market is six points shorter at 12/1.

Can All Three Novice Chasers Oblige for Favourite Backers?

ARKLE NOVICES’ CHASE – BLUE LORD

Despite losing his number one hope Ferny Hollow, trainer Willie Mullins is still responsible for eight of the 23 remaining entries for this 2m Grade 1 contest, headed by 11/4 ante-post favourite Blue Lord (11/4 with William Hill non-runner-no-bet).

Ferny Hollow

With Saturday’s Doncaster winner Third Times Lucki (8/1 with Paddy Power) a far from certain runner after suffering an overreach during the race, the main British challenge looks to revolve around one horse, the Alan King-trainbed Edwardstone (3/1 with William Hill non-runner-no-bet).

Apart from Gordon Elliott’s talented mare Riviere D’etel (7/1 with Unibet) the Closutton handler is responsible for the next two horses in the betting, Haut En Couleurs (8/1 with Coral) and Saint Sam (12/1 with Betvictor). Both horses have the potential to go close but Blue Lord has been so impressive in winning both of his novice chases, the Blue Bresil gelding, who would have finished second to stablemate Appreciate It in last year’s Supreme novices’ Hurdle but for falling at the last, is going to take plenty of beating.

Riviere D’etel trails Ferny Hollow.

BROWN ADVISORY NOVICES’ CHASE – GALOPIN DES CHAMPS

While still holding an entry in Thursday’s shorter Turners Novices’ Chase, this extended 3m trip looks more suitable for the Timos gelding (13/8 with Paddy Power) who won Punchestown’s Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle over 3m by 12 lengths on his final run over the smaller obstacles.

Galopin Des Chasmps

Hugely impressive in winning on his chasing debut at Leopardstown just after Christmas, a similar performance at this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival could see the six-year-old go odds-on for his Prestbury Park target.

The British duo of Bravemansgame (4/1 with Betfred) and Ahoy Senor (8/1 with bet365 non-runner-no-bet) look the two main dangers, unless Galopin Des Champ’s stablemate Stattler (14/1 with Betvictor) ends up running here rather than in Tuesday’s longer National Hunt Chase.

TURNERS NOVICES’ CHASE- BOB OLINGER

At a best price 11/10 with Betfair Sportsbook, Henry De Bromhead’s charge is many people’s idea of the week’s banker. Of the 44 horses left in the race, the majority have other options at the festival and are likely to head elsewhere, resulting in the strong possibility of a single-figure field.

Bob Olinger

One horse who looks, all being well, sure to take on Bob Olinger is L’Homme Presse (7/1 with Betfred) from the Venetia Williams stable. Unbeaten in his three starts over fences by distances of 6,13 and 10 lengths respectively, bookmakers may be cheering on the seven-year-old should Blue Lord and Galopin Des Champs oblige in the first two legs of the Grade 1 novice chase trio of races.