Willie Mullins bagged a magnificent treble on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, which propelled him to head of the Top Trainer standings, and the Co. Carlow maestro could be prominent yet again this afternoon and the punters are well and truly piling into some of his leading chances on the second day of the meeting.
Pont Alexandre has been one of the talking Irish horses over the last couple of months and the unbeaten five-year-old has been attracting significant money in the betting offices this morning as he looks to maintain his unblemished record in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at 2:05pm and hand Ruby Walsh his fourth win of the week.
Having been priced up around the 7/4 mark overnight with Bet Victor, the son of Dai Jin has attracted an avalanche of bets in the early part of the morning and he is as short as 11/8 with the same firm for the Grade One and the inundation of bets could well continue up until the race later on in the afternoon, as punters look to fill their wallets before the emergence of superstar chaser Sprinter Sacre.
It may be the highlight of the day, but punters are afraid to take on the Nicky Henderson hotpot in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3:20pm and the Seven Barrows wonder is very solid at 1/4 and it’s difficult to see the punters backing anything else as we approach the Grade One renewal, as he looks to add to Henderson’s double from the opening day.
Yet again Pricewise has ventured into the handicap races at the latter part of the card and the Racing Post tipster has put up Abbey Lane, who will be flying the flag for Messrs Mullins and Walsh in the 28-runner Coral Cup and the eight-year-old has been one of the best backed horses of the early morning exchanges.
Available at double-figured prices when the book was made from the declaration stage, Abbey Lane has now shortened to 15/2 outright favourite, with Charlie Longsdon’s Pendra being dislodged off the head of the betting, as he is now next in at 8/1 in a race that will see a multitude of bookmakers pay five places on each way terms.
The Irish bandwagon continues to roll on in the market movers and Back In Focus could be the catalyst for another stunning day for the Emerald Isle and Mullins’ raider is now 5/2 for the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase at 1:30pm, whilst Dessie Hughes’s Tofino Bay has also been cut a few points and is around the 9/1 mark for a race that kick-starts another thrilling day at Prestbury Park, where the bookmakers will look to get their own back on punters who dominated day one.