1 February 2022
By Roger Kennedy
Could we have seen some future Cheltenham winners in action in Cork recently? It’s the time of year when almost every race held over fences or hurdles give gamblers some clue about who to back the Cheltenham Festival in March.
2021 was another exciting year of horse racing at Cork. The last meeting of 2021 was held on December 5. That saw a win for Iberique du Seuil in the Maiden Hurdle. Those betting on this Gordon Elliot must have been biting their nails as the runner held on to win by a head from Vera Verto.
The four-year-old finished third at Fairyhouse on January 9 but is entered for the Triumph Hurdle on March 18. Nine lengths ahead of Iberique du Seuil was White Pepper who is the current favourite to win the Triumph Hurdle, despite losing at Doncaster on January 28. Could a Cork winner topple this winner at the Cheltenham Festival? If you do want to bet on the greatest National Hunt festival or future Cork meetings, look for the best online sites and free bets offers.
If there’s going to be a horse that has been successful at Cork and will be a festival winner, it may well be Dysart Dynamo. Cork gamblers will have fond memories of backing the 8/13 favourite in December.
This Willie Mullins runner made all to win by 19 lengths. Now that’s the way to win your first hurdles race. January 16 saw another win this time in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, again by 19 lengths. Entered for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, this Cork winner is high in the betting markets for both races.
The first Cork meeting of 2022 was held on January 8. Gamblers with a bit of cash left after Christmas and New Year celebrations flocked to the course searching for winners and Cheltenham clues.
The second race on the card was a maiden hurdle. Shantreusse, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by the award winning Rachael Blackmore was the odds-on favourite to win the race. Shantreusse had previously been trained by Sam Curling and had previously won a National Hunt Flat Race in April of last year.
The stable change took place after that race and Shantreusse finished second in November in a maiden hurdle. Betting on that maiden tag being lost at Cork paid off with a handsome 17 length victory.
Now this runner is on the way to Cheltenham for the festival. An entry has been made for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, being held on Friday March 18. The odds are around 33/1 at this stage but with further improvement, could well be placed or even cause a shock and win.
Bookmakers currently have Ginto as the joint favourite to win the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. This six-year-old is trained by Gordon Elliott. In the past year, this runner has had four races and won all of them, so you can see why sportsbooks are impressed.
Shantreusse took on Ginto at Navan last February. On that occasion, Shantruesse was beaten by eight lengths but has improved over the last 12 months, so it’ll be interesting to see how a Cheltenham rematch goes.
Other possible rivals at Cheltenham include Journey with Me and Hollow Games. Journey with Me is the other joint favourite at present and also trained by Henry de Bromhead. The chances are that this will be the runner, unbeaten in three races will be the mount of Rachael Blackmore.
Hollow Games is trained by Gordon Elliott and at Naas on January 2 finished third behind Ginto after previously winning four races. A return to that winning form may well produce a very good result indeed at Cheltenham.
Those who placed bets on Adamantly Chosen at the January 8 Cork meeting were in for a disappointment. The Willie Mullins trained runner was the 1/4 favourite for a maiden hurdle race. However, it was the Gordon Elliot trained Ebasari who beat Adamantly Chosen into second by three quarters of a length.
That left gamblers who backed the favourite rather disappointed. After winning a bumper last April, that’s two seconds in a row in maiden hurdles for this runner. On both occasions it was a Gordon Elliott trained runner that denied Adamantly Chosen victory.
This runner is still Cheltenham bound though. Which race hasn’t been confirmed with entries for both the Sky Bet Novices’ Hurdle on March 15 (the first day of the festival) and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle the following day.
The odds are high, but you can never discount any Willie Mullins runner at Cheltenham. We look set for another great Cheltenham Festival but will backing recent Cork runners prove profitable, only time will tell.