March 7, 2012 Leave a comment
It is always a curiosity why sometimes “out of the blue”, a horse is singled out by Bookmakers and with no real evidence available, the odds of that horse are slashed for a particular race.
This has happened over the past few days with the Willie Mullins trained, Boston Bob, halving in price from 5/1 to 5/2 favourite to win the Grade One, Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, over 3 miles at next week’s Cheltenham Festival. His price was cut despite Mullins making it absolutely clear to the media and punters alike that he has not decided if the horse will run in the Albert Bartlett or the Neptune Novices Hurdle over 2m5f on Wednesday.
Notwithstanding, the Albert Bartlett now has a far more competitive feel to it and should Boston Bob participate, he will renew rivalry with the Gordon Elliott trained,MountBenbulben. The two met in the Grade One, Navan Novice Hurdle, on soft to heavy ground over 2½ miles back in December where Boston Bob proved to be far superior, winning by over four lengths after Mount Benbulben, who went off as the 5/6 odds on favourite, failed in his attempt to make all. By winning that race, Boston Bob was completing a third straight win from three starts over hurdles.
Elliott believes his charge will benefit hugely from that run and will also be suited by the extra half mile atCheltenham, although question marks have to be raised about his ability to cope with the better ground he is likely to find at the Festival. There are no such question marks needed raised as far as Boston Bob is concerned, he too has the pedigree to get the three mile trip and has won a Bumper on good to soft ground in the recent past.
Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls, also has a very good looking prospect in this race this year with Rocky Creek, winner of the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle Trial over 3m1f on good to soft ground at the end of January. He won that race by over 3 lengths from the Emma Lavelle trained and highly regarded three time hurdle winner, Gullinbursti. Ruby Walsh should be able to provide a decent clue as to who he thinks will win as has he will have the choice of Boston Bob and Rocky Creek but the price of his mount will sure contract once the announcement is made.
Others that have been backed include the Charles Byrnes trained Sea Of Thunder, but on his form shown against Boston Bob back in January he would have an awful lot to find. Brindisi Breeze from the Lucinda Russell stable has also been supported after a very impressive 12 length win in the Grade 2 Haydock Park Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle Trial over 3 miles on heavy ground last month. That win was his fourth from five starts this season and has given rise to hopes that a horse trained north of the border can snatch a rare Cheltenham Festival win. Brindisi Breeze can be backed at a best price of 10/1 currently. As it stands though, everything will have their work cut out to finish ahead of Boston Bob if the money talks…