Brelan D’as is a surprising inclusion in our worst ante-post results, especially considering that we only put up the Grand Annual betting midway through January.
Initially a 33/1 shot, we are now 14/1 in the non runner money back markets and there is every chance he could be challenging for favouritism on the day itself.
Third in the race last year, he was also second in the Betvictor Gold Cup in November and finds himself 7lbs higher than his third place last year. JP McManus has won the Grand Annual three times in the past eight years and punters are already latching on to the Paul Nicholls runner as making that four out of nine.
The Triumph Hurdle looks to be between three at the top of the market in Aspire Tower, Goshen and Allmankind but we will be hoping Aspire Tower or Goshen can overturn Allmankind.
Introduced into the market at 50/1 after winning at Warwick on his hurdles debut, he was extremely keen that day and that was probably the man driver of such a big initial price.
Gary Moore’s runner was still available at 20/1 after winning at Cheltenham in November and he is now 49/2 non-runner money back and looks likely to go off favourite on the day.
The Champion Bumper was crying out for a horse to take the market by the scruff of the neck and Appreciate It did that with his ultra-impressive win at the Dublin Festival in Leopardstown. The Willie Mullins trained runner was 16/1 when we inserted him into the market back in December, he is now only 2/1 non-runner money back.
It’s difficult to see what can save us from paying out on this very exciting young horse come March.
Punters just love Presenting Percy and though bookmakers had a very icy relationship with him initially after being a well-backed winner of the Pertemps and the RSA Chase, he is not as feared as he once was.
Disappointing in last year’s Gold Cup when sent off favourite, that didn’t deter punters and he attracted plenty of cash at 20/1 in the early Autumn. He was into 10/1 prior to the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup but again was found when finishing third but still punters have been backing him at 14/1.
I’d be fairly hopeful that won’t have to be paying out on him for a third time in four years at the Festival.
This liability sits firmly on my shoulders, as I was in the office when Not So Sleepy won a handicap hurdle at Ascot off a mark of 127 and I quoted 66/1 for the Champion Hurdle directly after.
He is now gone up to a mark of 144 but would need to improve another 20lbs to be winning a Champion Hurdle and after his run in Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle, I’m able to breathe a little easier. However, he did get obstructed at the start and wasn’t able to dictate from the front as he usually does, so wasn’t ridden too hard once his chance had gone.
I can breathe a little easier now after that but if connections opt for the Champion Hurdle and he wins – I’ll still be getting the hairdryer treatment.