Bob Olinger, Cheltenham tips
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Cheltenham tips: Bob Olinger now evens for the Festival, but does he win?

| 18.01.2022
SPORTSBOOK ODDS

The build-up to the Cheltenham Festival hots up

The Cheltenham Festival is now only eight weeks away and some of the biggest stars of the track have been putting their Prestbury Park credentials to the test in some of the big trials on both sides of the Irish Sea. 

Having already taken an in-depth look at both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle and with Coral having ante-post markets available for 19 of the 28 Cheltenham Festival races, we attempt to pick out some Cheltenham tips for each day of March’s showpiece meeting.

Here we take a look at who has caught the eye on track recently and what it means for the Cheltenham Festival odds.

Bob Olinger

Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old made it two from two over fences at Punchestown at the weekend and is now evens for the Turners Novices’ Chase, which opens up the action on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

He quickened away nicely once organised by jockey Rachael Blackmore after coming round the home turn and he finished the best part of five lengths clear of Capodanno, with the front two well clear of the rest.

This could turn out to be a smart piece of form and there could be further Cheltenham tips candidates amongst the beaten horses.

Capodanno will be a possibility in whatever novice race he targets at Prestbury Park and the third Gaillard Du Mesnil is a Grade One winning hurdler who will surely match that level over fences in time.

Many will see Bob Olinger as one of the Irish bankers of the Cheltenham Festival, but although his jumping was much slicker in his second outing, he is yet to fully convince he’s a natural over the larger obstacles.

With Venetia Williams’ L’Homme Presse (6/1) sure to be winging his fences from the front end, De Bromhead’s charge is sure to be kept honest and his jumping may come under pressure around the undulating Cheltenham track.

The race being run on the new course at Cheltenham will mitigate those concerns slightly and admittedly jumping may not become a factor when you have an engine as ferocious as Bob Olinger’s to put into action. But it would be no surprise to see L’Homme Presse stealing lengths at his obstacles and at the prices it is obvious where the value lies in the Cheltenham betting.

Dysart Dynamo 

Dysart Dynamo was another to impress at Punchestown at the weekend when landing the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle and connections now have to weigh-up throwing their hat into the ring for a red-hot Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or stretch out to 2m5f for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

Willie Mullins has won this eight times and has used it as the preparation point for Closutton legends such as Min, Douvan and Vautour in the past. Crucially all three of them went on to run in the Cheltenham Festival opener, while only Mikael D’Haguenet (who went on to win the 2009 Ballymore) and Gagewell Flyer ( ran in the 2011 Albert Bartlett) have gone out in trip at Prestbury Park.

The six-year-old pulled 19 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, Gringo D’aubrelle, who had previously finished 10-and-a-half-lengths third behind Stage Star (8/1 for the Ballymore) in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

Dysart Dynamo is 4/1 for both novice races mentioned and would surely be a a Cheltenham tips contender in whichever race he turned up in, with Mullins having a typically strong hand in the novice hurdle division once again.

Threeunderthrufive

Paul Nicholls’ chaser made it four in a row with victory in the Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick and has now won four of his five starts over the larger obstacles.

That was his second win at Grade Two level and he is deserving of a mention in Cheltenham tips with the Festival now on the radar.

Connections are leaning towards the three-mile Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, for which he is 16/1, due to their preference for usual rider Adrien Heskin to remain in the saddle.

However, the seven-year-old could be better suited by the stamina test of the National Hunt Chase or even moving into handicap company for the Ultima off a mark of 152.

He will need to improve around 10lb to challenge the leading contenders in a red-hot novice chase division this term, so running in the opening-day handicap could prove a wise move considering novices have traditionally done extremely well in the race.

Threeunderthrufive, Cheltenham tips

Alaphilippe

Fergal O’Brien may have learnt that winning qualifiers isn’t the way to come out on top in the final of the Pertemps Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Like his cycling namesake, Alaphilippe was happy to stay in the peloton as Paddy Brennan ensured the eight-year-old secured a top-six qualification spot.

He was travelling like the winner at three out and when making a strong challenge two from home, but weakened quickly towards the latter end of the race.

However, this was his first outing of the season with a lack of a run telling. Defeat is often a blessing in these qualifiers and he will now head to Prestbury Park off a mark of 140 which should hand him a nice racing weight.

The Irish have dominated this handicap in recent years, but at 16/1 it is hard to ignore Alaphilippe in our Cheltenham tips round-up.

Ahoy Senor

Although he hasn’t been seen since succumbing to Bravemansgame in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, when Ahoy Senor’s name appeared amongst the Cheltenham Gold Cup entries, it was difficult not to include him in Cheltenham tips as a bit of a wildcard.

One of our 10 horses to follow in 2022, the seven-year-old looks to have all the attributes to develop into one of the top UK novices this term.

However, the novice division is looking red hot and with the likes of Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame also earmarked for Ahoy Senor’s likely destination of the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, connections could be tempted to roll the dice and shoot for the stars in the blue riband.

Coneygree was the last novice to win the Cheltenham Festival feature in 2015 and Ahoy Senor looks a horse in the same mould.

He is held in the highest regard by trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner, the eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore, and the lightly-raced son of Dylan Thomas is only going to improve with experience.

Ahoy Senor is 33/1 for the Gold Cup and although that comes without the protection of ‘no runner no bet’, it could be a risk worth taking, especially if he impresses in his next outing at Wetherby in early February.

Ahoy Senor, Cheltenham tips

There will be further Cheltenham Festival clues on offer this weekend with the inaugural Winter Million taking place at Lingfield.

Also, there is no doubt that the blockbuster clash scheduled for Ascot between Shishkin and Energumene will be the focus of next week’s Cheltenham tips as we assess the Clarence House Chase‘s impact on the Champion Chase market.

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All odds and market correct at date of publication

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Author

Adam Morgan