We’ve got another hot favourite ahead of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival in the form of Gaillard Du Mesnil for the National Hunt Chase – but is he a good thing?
Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old is currently 11/8 with Betfred for the novice contest that concludes the Festival’s opening day, which is more than fair on what he’s achieved so far.
If he turns up here, the Grade One-winning, second-season novice who was third in last season’s Brown Advisory is going to prove very, very difficult to beat.
However, Closutton have been very unfortunate with injuries this season, especially when it comes to their staying novice chasers. The Nice Guy, Minella Cocooner and Classic Getaway are all side-lined, leaving Mullins unusually short.
So, I can absolutely see a scenario where Gaillard Du Mesnil is targeted at the three-miler instead, leaving the National Hunt Chase wide open for the other 36 entrants.
Of those, it’s Chemical Energy who’s most popular with punters. Gordon Elliott’s gelding is 5/1 at present after his whopping 61L success at HQ back in October last year. He boasts obvious claims.
Gerri Colombe is available at 15/2, but he’s not current qualified for the race and Gordon Elliott is very likely to aim this one at the Brown Advisory instead.
Ramillies is qualified, and he’s of great interest at 10s if the favourite – for the same owner/trainer combination – runs elsewhere. Mullins has always thought highly of this son of Shantou, and he was relatively impressive on chase debut.
Dan Skelton’s Hidden Heroics is the shortest-priced British horse in the betting, at 16/1 – the same price as Henry De Bromhead’s Amirite, who has seen a significant amount of support in the last few weeks.
Other names of interest include Minella Crooner, Kilcruit and Frontal Assault – all 20/1 shots – and Bronn at 25s.
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