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Cantlow To Hand Bolger More Cross Country Chase Glory At Cheltenham Festival

Tuesday 17th January 2017

With eight weeks to go until the 2017 Cheltenham Festival we begin our ante-post portfolio and firstly turn our attentions to the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, which is one of the highlights on the second day of the 'Greatest Show On Turf', and while it may lack the quality of some of the other races on March 15 it certainly provides a unique spectacle over a plethora of idiosyncratic jumping tests.

Cantlow A Worthy Favourite For Cross Country King Bolger

Enda Bolger has dominated this event since winning the inaugural race in 2005 with Cross Country legend Spot Thedifference, and the Irish handler will fancy his chances of winning a sixth crown on the second day of the meeting with CANTLOW, who will fly the flag for Bolger and owner JP McManus.

With reigning champion Josies Orders out of this year's race then the premier green and gold silks will be worn by Cantlow, who is currently the 4/1 ante-post favourite with bet365, and having blossomed over the course at Cheltenham's International meeting in December with an authoritative nine-length win over Bless The Wings, then the 12-year-old will hope that he can replicate that display in the spring.

He struggled in last year's race when finishing way down the field, but having been handed some tough hurdling and chasing tasks at the start of this season he seemed to relish a return to the Cross Country sphere, as he downed Ballyboker Bridge at Punchestown in the Risk Of Thunder Chase in November.

He then followed that win up with an impressive victory at Cheltenham last month, and if he can continue to show the same spark then it would be no surprise to see him go very close, and with his stablemate Josies Orders on the sidelines then he could fly the Irish flag, and it's hard to not see him being the one they all have to beat.

Currency Aims To Bounce Back From Festival Heartache

Any Currency finally landed Cheltenham Festival glory last year in this race, but Martin Keighley's 14-year-old was subsequently disqualified after traces of triamcinonlone acetonide were found in his urine, which is a prohibited substance on racedays, so he will be aiming to finally bag his first festival win at the fifth attempt, and he is a 12/1 shot with Paddy Power.

However, while he followed on his festival run with a fine win over fences in April at Prestbury Park, he has struggled to land any sort of blow this season, and was last seen being pulled up on New Year's Day at GL50, so at the moment it's hard to fancy him at his current price, and while Keighley is sure to have him primed come the big race then it's one to avoid from an ante-post perspective.

Irish To Hold Strong Hand

The Irish challenge is to be spearheaded by the aforementioned Cantlow, who is a worthy favourite, but the Emerald Isle team will be blessed with significant strength in depth and the Willie Mullins-trained Alelchi Inois could be an eye-catching addition to the Cross Country division.

A Grade 2 winner of the Clonmel Oil Chase earlier in the season, the nine-year-old then struggled in top-class company in the Grade 1 JNWine.com Champion Chase, and with Mullins holding such a strong hand in most of the elite Cheltenham Festival races then it could be here that this son of Night Tango is seen, and at 10/1 with Sky Bet is of huge interest.

Should he take his chance then it will be no surprise to see him fancied by many, but Mullins has not only pencilled in this race, but he could also take a possible tilt at the Grand National, so it could be worth keeping your powder dry at the moment before some concrete plans are put in place by the master of Co. Carlow.

Ted Walsh's Foxrock is 12/1 with Sky Bet for this marathon test, but he was beaten 25 lengths by Cantlow when they clashed in the abovementioned Risk Of Thunder Chase, and having been seen in a hunter chase last time out then he may head that way.

Bolger will not only unleash market leader Cantlow, but Quantitativeeasing was a gallant third in last year's renewal, and was a winner of the La Touche Cup at Punchestown in April, so he could be a solid each-way bet for punters at 10/1 with BetVictor, while Mtada Supreme (16/1), who beat that raider a couple of days later at the Punchestown Festival is another eye-catching Irish challenger.

Best Of The Rest

Bless The Wings is another in the twilight of his career, but the 12-year-old still showed a real zest for the game when placing in last season's Cross Country test, but he was beaten nine lengths by Cantlow when they locked horns in December, and it's hard to see him turning that form around, so can be ignored from a win perspective at 16/1 with Betfred bookmakers.

Boston Bob (16/1) is another potential Willie Mullins challenger, but he is yet to be seen this season, and while he has some notable Graded wins to his name it may be a tough task to land this prize against some experienced rivals, while Third Intention (25/1) and Ballyboker Bridge (33/1) both failed in their quests for glory last season, and are likely to find one too good once again, which could be Cantlow, who can hand Bolger a sensational sixth win in the race.

Selection - Cantlow to win 2017 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase @ 4/1 with bet365.com

*Price correct at time of writing

2017 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase Betting

Tiger Roll K M Donoghue / G Elliott 4/1 4/1
Josies Orders M P Walsh / E Bolger 10/1 12/1
Don Poli 12/1 10/1
Auvergnat Mr D J McInerney / E Bolger 10/1 12/1
Urgent De Gregaine Felix de Giles / E Clayeux 10/1 12/1
One For Arthur 10/1 -
Clarcam 12/1 -
Kingswell Theatre T Scudamore / M Scudamore 20/1 -
Bless The Wings D N Russell / G Elliott 20/1 20/1
My Hometown 33/1 -
Chic Name 50/1 -
Each Way Terms 3

1. Tiger Roll K M Donoghue / G Elliott
2. Josies Orders M P Walsh / E Bolger
4. Auvergnat Mr D J McInerney / E Bolger
5. Urgent De Gregaine Felix de Giles / E Clayeux
8. Kingswell Theatre T Scudamore / M Scudamore
9. Bless The Wings D N Russell / G Elliott
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 13:57 . Odds are subject to change.
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