Sir Des Champs has been clogging up the Cheltenham Gold Cup headlines over the last 24 hours with rumours circulating ten to the dozen on who will partner the Willie Mullins-trained raider in Davy Russell’s absence, but nuances through various social media sites on Friday morning suggested that 17-times champion jockey AP McCoy will pilot the Gigginstown House Stud-owned charge, as Sunnyhillboy has been declared a non-runner.
William Hill had dangled a real carrot with regards to the leading Irish raider, by offering 6/1 about him winning the blue riband event at 3:20pm, but with news breaking that McCoy may partner the dual Cheltenham Festival winner saw them cut him significantly to 4/1 and there’s a likelihood that he will shorten as we get ever nearer to the Grade One, as people jump on the McCoy bandwagon, as he looks to notch up his first win at this year’s meeting.
Nicky Henderson has a multitude of runners lining up this afternoon and whilst many of the Seven Barrows followers will be eager to see Bobs Worth and Long Run do battle in the Gold Cup, it’s the four-year-old Rolling Star that has gained significant support in the betting offices this morning for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Having been available around the 4/1 mark overnight, Rolling Star has now been clipped into 3/1 market leader by William Hill for the curtain-raiser to the final day of the festival and a win for Henderson in the first could well see his battalion shortened as the day progresses.
AP McCoy will be a name featuring prominently throughout the afternoon and he partners Rebecca Curtis’s At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and his formline with the impressive Neptune winner The New One has seen his price contract and he is as short as 5/2 with William Hill, whilst some firms have cut the six-year-old to as short as 2/1 for the 2:40pm contest.
Punters have not only been getting stuck into the Graded races, but there have been some springers in the handicap markets and the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle has seen David O’Meara’s Ifandbutwhynot backed into around 9/1 as he looks to challenge the equally well-backed Cotton Mill for favouritism in the 2:05pm.
Racing Post’s Pricewise has got ventured into the handicaps on the afternoon and Village Vic has shortened significantly for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 4:40pm and he is only available at 10/1 with William Hill, whilst Irish raider Bridgets Pet is another being pounced on at bigger prices and he is as short as 18/1 with some firms having been around the 28/1 mark when the declarations were made yesterday.