Horse Racing: The best-backed in Paddy’s book for Cheltenham 2022

The Trading room are on red alert already as Paul Binfield zips through the biggest early ante-post losers for Cheltenham 2022 as the UK jumps season comes under orders at Chepstow on Friday.


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The UK jumps season ‘proper’ starts at Chepstow tomorrow, so this seemed as good a time to attack the disease widely known as ‘knowledge wipe’ from the last campaign with Paddy’s four best-backed horses for next year’s Cheltenham Festival as we start off on the long road to Cheltenham 2022.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Jonbon

This £570,000 five-year-old full-brother to Douvan is by far Paddy’s biggest liability at the moment, more than twice the liability as the next in the book and some shrewd punters are on at 33-1 for the opening contest of the 2022 Festival.

The Walk In The Park gelding was first seen in public in November of 2020 when he easily scooped a four-year-old maiden point-to-point at Dromahane in Ireland by 15 lengths from Lavorante under a polished Derek O’Connor ride.

Having transferred from the tutelage of Ellmarie Holden to champion UK trainer Nicky Henderson, he was unleashed by the master of Seven Barrows in a Newbury bumper last March, when he comfortably justified favouritism by four and a quarter lengths from Flying Demon.

The way that Jonbon jumped for fun in his point would indicate the best won’t be seen from him until he goes over fences, but meanwhile the money for him in the Supreme Novices Hurdle suggests connections believe he has the potential to join Altior and Shishkin as Henderson’s third winner of this heat in seven years.

Festival Novices’ Chase – Galopin Des Champs

A 25-1 poke for the Festival Novices’ Chase before he galloped his rivals into submission in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle last March, where he readily held Langer Dan by two and a quarter lengths.

Willie Mullins’s charge must have been some good thing that day off a handicap rating of just 142 as he then landed the Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April, winning in the style that a heavily-backed 13-8 favourite should, by 12 lengths from Gentlemansgame.

That last contest was the first time this strapping son of Timos had run over three miles and the extra distance appeared to bring out the very best in him, which bodes well for anyone backing Galopin Des Champs him for this stamina-sapping event next March.



Marsh Novices’ Chase – Bob Olinger

Another Cheltenham Festival hero who destroyed the field in the Balymore Novices Hurdle last March. He was 20-1 ante-post for the Marsh Chase before he stormed up the famous Prestbury Park hill to by a long-looking seven and a half lengths from Gaillard Du Mesnil.

Henry De Bromhead’s six-year-old was a furiously-backed 6-4 favourite that day and it was easy to see why. On three previous starts over hurdles, he’d only been beaten once and that was a debut defeat    to Ferny Hollow who had won the Champion Bumper on his previous outing.

Bob Olinger went into Cheltenham having already won a Grade 1 at Naas in January when he was six and a half lengths too powerful for Blue Lord and if you’ve ever seen a horse jump hurdles who looks absolutely tailormade for chasing, then it has to be this guy.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Kilcruit

This piece highlights how punters love backing novices, but unlike the other three, this chap wasn’t supported at fancy double-figure odds and the biggest price he ever was for this season’s Ballymore Novices Hurdle was 7-1.

Kilcruit had four runs in bumpers last season, winning three, including the Champion bumper at the Punchestown Festival, after finishing a half length runner-up to Sir Gerhard in Cheltenham’s equivalent.

All four of those outings were over two miles, but you can see why the Ballymore Novices Hurdle over five furlongs further is proving popular. Kilcruit was far from disgraced when a four length runner-up to Captain Kangaroo on his racecourse bow when trained by current trainer Willie Mullins’s brother, Tony, in an extended 2m 2f bumper at Clonmel the previous season.



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