Home / News / Cheltenham Festival / GG Cheltenham Ante-Post Book – 20th February

Cheltenham Festival

GG Cheltenham Ante-Post Book – 20th February

Handicap entries close today so the next week will be filled with market moves and anticipation for the weights reveal next week, but while attention rightly turns in that direction, I’ve got another recommendation for consideration.

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review

ANTE-POST OUTLOOK

Here I will list all my advised Ante-Post bets for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival:

  • 1st November – LUCCIA (Mares’ Hurdle – 16/1 generally)
  • 7th November – ALLAHO (Ryanair Chase – 5/1 generally)
  • 15th November – FACILE VEGA (Arkle Chase – 9/2 generally) + GALOPIN DES CHAMPS (Gold Cup – 2/1) – Double pays 15/1 generally
  • 21st November – FLOORING PORTER (Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase – 12/1 generally)
  • 28th November – MINELLA COCOONER (National Hunt Chase – 16/1 generally)
  • 5th DecemberCHAPEAU DE SOLEIL (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 33/1 generally)
  • 19th DecemberBRECHIN CASTLE (Champion Bumper – 33/1 generally)
  • 3rd JanuaryIT’S FOR ME (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 10/1 generally NRNB)
  • 10th January – HERMES ALLEN (Turners Novices’ Chase – 14/1 NRMB)
  • 16th January – HIGH CLASS HERO (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 12/1 generally NRNB)
  • 23rd January – JETARA (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – 12/1 generally NRNB)
  • 31st January – ARGENTO BOY (Champion Bumper – 16/1 generally NRNB)
  • 6th February – PREDATORS GOLD (Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle – 20/1 NRNB)
  • 13th February – SALVADOR ZIGGY (National Hunt Chase – 8/1 NRNB)
  • 13th February – DELTA WORK (Cross Country Chase – 5/1 NRNB)

ANTE-POST SELECTIONS

ANTE-POST SELECTION: RYANAIR CHASE – PROTEKTORAT (16/1 NRNB Bet365)

The typical profile for a Ryanair Chase winner is one aged between 7-9 (11 of the last 11), rated 160+ (15 of the last 16), has at least placed at the Festival before (13 of the last 16) and has won a Grade 1 Chase (12 of the last 16).

Current favourite BANBRIDGE now ticks all those boxes having achieved an official rating (OR) of 161 for his bettering of PIC D’ORHY last time out which is form that has since been franked. We do know he’s a bit more ground dependent than many though and for all his chance is an obvious one, he’s a general 5/2 shot right now so easily found.

A handful next in line in the betting are potentially ruled out on age in ENVOI ALLEN, CONFLATED, APPRECIATE IT and FIL DOR. Then, you take CAPODANNO, who hasn’t placed at The Festival (but did finish fourth), and like the favourite has only just achieved an OR of 161. So the trend tickers are starting to thin out the field. STAGE STAR is fighting for second favouritism, however him pulling up last time out and achieving his OR through handicaps does beg the question, isn’t he short enough now?

So, while I’m aware you can use trends to suit your narrative, which is exactly what can be said here, I would suggest that PROTEKTORAT is the only other runner who gets a perfect score.

His comeback run this season was not up to standard, but the yard appeared to need the first run with their horses, which isn’t always the case. Afterwards, they mixed things up with him and ran him off top weight in a 3m2f handicap, where he was only three lengths behind the progressive BROADWAY BOY giving him 19lb. He gave 17lb to the runner-up that day, THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE, who won this weekend and even RAPPER who was a further five lengths behind PROTEKTORAT somewhat franked the form finishing second in the same race. The relevance of bringing those form lines to the table is that PROTEKTORAT did that off a mark of 165 and for me that’s a confirmed figure to the standard he sets.

In the Fleur De Lys, he gave 4lbs to L’HOMME PRESSE and battled to the line to only be beaten two and a quarter lengths, then set the tempo for SHISHKIN in the Denman Chase to only be beaten by four and three quarters, and while HITMAN did finish just in front of him, he was in receipt of 6lb too.

Now I know all that form is over longer distances than the Ryanair, but if you go back to when he used to run at the middle trip, he was only outside the first 3 once, which came in the Coral Cup. He won three times from seven starts and was second in two others and he even achieved his peak RPR as a novice chaser over 2m 4f at Cheltenham, albeit on the old course.

He does have a wind issue, hence the tongue-tie, but if you draw a line through his Haydock run this season for the fact all the yard needed their outings, he’s two from two following a wind op prior so I do wonder if they may even take precautionary action for him prior to his tilt at this race.

The last word is that he’s not been confirmed to come here although it seems more likely than not this would be his target. In a recent stable tour, his trainer Dan Skelton said:

“He’s falling short of the Gold Cup markers – that’s evident for all of us to see – and I think he could be a real player in the Ryanair. I entered him for just this kind of scenario and if we’re 100 per cent happy with him, he’ll be running in it. I won’t be ducking it for Aintree, although if he isn’t quite ready for Cheltenham, we may have to wait until he tells us the time is right.”

So, another with the NRNB concession advised, I just think that if he does line up, he’ll be straight and ready to do himself justice. I think the trip will still be okay for him although there is a slight question mark about it. I don’t think he needs to be made use of as he has been in his last two starts and at the prices right now I could only see him going off at single-figures so I think it’s worth tying up a wager on him right now, especially with no ground concerns with him being three from six on Good to Soft with that Gold Cup third to add in as well.

Performances From Last Week

PIC D’ORHY was a good winner of the Betfair Ascot Chase however you could argue that his main rivals were not at their best, or potentially not trying their best. I don’t want to detract from what PIC D’ORHY has achieved, however the initial RPR of 165 echoes the fact that this wasn’t his best performance and that number equals what he was given for his 16-length battering by SHISHKIN in the race last year. It is not hard to use him as a positive boost for both BANBRIDGE and SHISHKIN in March though.

MISTER POLICEMAN is a horse I’ve given more than my fair share of pokes at for being not the vision of a chaser in my eyes. He is improving, although we don’t know what he did at Naas on his penultimate start, and I think there’s going to be some nice races in him down the line. He’s only just turned six too, so there’s a chance for him to get a bit bigger and stronger, and with improvement in his jumping still feasible, he’s going into the spring as a handicapper firmly on the radar. That sits much better than at the start of the season when he was seen as a Grade 1 winning novice in waiting by many.

TULLYHILL got things his own way out front in Punchestown’s Listed novice hurdle and there was a notable drift on his main market rival NO FLIES ON HIM. I thought TULLYHILL should be favourite, so the initial drift wasn’t that relevant but the continuation of it, much like his debut, suggests plenty see chinks in him. JIGORO was just pipped at the line for second but having his fourth hurdle start this season, it was likely he was there to get his mark for a handicap now. If we take things on trust that every horse was trying their best, then I think TULLYHILL deserves to be where he is now in the Supreme market, but I do think he’s a good bit short of BALLYBURN. That said, the few in behind are much of a muchness so he’s correctly second favourite now.

Coming Up This Week

Wednesday sees GALA MARCEAU a strong favourite for the Grade 3 Quevega Mares Hurdle but in giving weight to her main market rivals she’ll have to be a good one to get the job done well.

Saturday in Kempton is arguably the last of the best racing pre-Cheltenham with three Grade 2’s on the card and the always exciting Swinley Handicap Chase. In the Adonis KALIF DU BERLAIS will be hoping to book his ticket to Cheltenham with a course and distance win under his belt and a 5lb penalty but in a field where you’d hope he’s still much too good. In the Pendil Novices’ Chase LE PATRON bids to get back on the winning trail but will need to jump better if he’s to throw a genuine challenge to NICKLE BACK who is clearly very talented, but equally as quirky. TAHMURAS would be having a quick turnaround having been second 13 days ago but I think this race would suit him.

In the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle LUMP SUM tops the ratings with 130 but that says more about the standard of British Novices this season than anything else. Could be a competitive race and may offer pointers to handicaps down the line.

Over in Fairyhouse there’s the Grade 3 Bobbyjo chase with the likes of CHEMICAL ENERGY, FAKIR D’OUDARIES, I AM MAXIMUS, MINELLA CROONER and VANILLIER entered. You’d expect many of those are prepping for Aintree’s Grand National

GOOD TIME JONNY took last season’s Pertemps final over hurdles and is vying for favouritism for this year’s Kim Muir, he’s in the Rated Novice Chase on the same card so keep an eye if he runs there or goes for the Pertemps Qualifier on the Sunday in Naas.

Sunday over in Ireland I’ve mentioned the Pertemps qualifier above, but the card is opened with a Grade 3 Juvenile hurdle where LARK IN THE MORNIN is due to run again having twice been a non-runner in the last two weeks. FERNY HOLLOW has another entry, so fingers crossed we see him declared in the Grade 3 two-mile Newlands Chase.

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review

Looking For More Racing Info? Check Out Our Racecards & Top Tips Sections

Today’s Racecards

Today’s Top Tips


Make sure you’re following us on all our social media platforms to keep up to date with all the latest horse racing news and the best tips.