The flat season is just beginning to kick into gear, but I don’t have particularly strong views on either of the Guineas currently. And we do still have the Punchestown Festival with regards to the jumps, but I’m not too sure what’s going to run so I don’t fancy playing the guessing game.
However, now we’re past Cheltenham and Aintree, this is the first time I’ve ever actually looked at the next Cheltenham Festival when the latest one is still fresh in the mind. So, I’ve had a couple of bets to sneak some early value for next year (or at least I think it’s value).
Arkle/Turners Novice Chase
One horse in particular that I think has acquitted himself well this season is Jonbon.
He did get blown out of the water by Constitution Hill at Cheltenham, but that horse is a freak and with him set to be staying over hurdles for another season, that leaves the pathway open for Jonbon to be the leading novice chaser.
Willie Mullins will no doubt have some challengers, especially if Sir Gerhard goes chasing, but I think Jonbon is going to be the real deal when he tackles fences.
He went toe to toe with Dysart Dynamo from the outset in the Supreme, setting a strong gallop from start to finish. Jonbon seemed pretty tired on the run in as Constitution Hill careered away up the hill, but Jonbon still beat the rest, despite not running as efficiently as he could have.
He then backed that up at Aintree when battling on strongly to keep El Fabiolo at bay to claim his first Grade 1.
Jonbon is a bit of a free sweater and he can get quite warm, but that seems to be where his kinks end. He’s not too keen and there is certainly nothing wrong with his attitude.
A generally neat jumper of a hurdle, I’m excited to see how he takes to fences.
I think he’s next in line to be the next Altior or Shishkin for Nicky Henderson in terms of dominating his novice chase campaign. To be honest I think he’ll be just as effective over two and a half miles as over two miles, that being said, Henderson doesn’t usually step his horses up in trip unless he feels it’s absolutely necessary. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jonbon over intermediate trips next season, so with that in mind, I’ve backed him for both the Arkle and the Turners.
Back Jonbon @ 7/1 for the Arkle
Back Jonbon @ 7/1 for the Turners
Mares Hurdle/Mares Chase
Even though she unfortunately didn’t run at the Cheltenham Festival due to injury, it’s what Allegorie De Vassy did beforehand that has really impressed me.
We know how good Willie Mullins is at training star mares, and I think he could well have another one on his hands for the Ricci’s. She was very well supported in the market prior to her stable debut, going off at 4/7 and comfortably landing the odds without a moments worry.
Stepped up to Grade 3 company next time, her task was made easier by stablemate Brandy Love jumping violently left the whole race, but the way Allegorie De Vassy jumped the last and ran through the line, she had plenty left in the tank anyway.
She’s a really big mare and given that she’s only a five year old, I can envisage plenty of improvement as her career progresses.
I believe she’s a real talent and given the trainer she’s with, I think she’ll be top class. I wouldn’t be confident in saying she’ll stay hurdling or go chasing next season, but because of the ability and potential she has, I’ve backed her for both the Mares Hurdle and the Mares Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
There is certainly no standout in either division and whatever route she goes down, I think she could take the world of beating.
Back Allegorie De Vassy @ 14/1 for the Mares Hurdle
Back Allegorie De Vassy @ 10/1 for the Mares Chase