The Cheltenham Festival 2022 is fast approaching and the ante-post betting markets are already hotting up for the biggest punting week of the year. And we’ve taken a closer look at some of the leading betting fancies currently, with the Festival just weeks away.
6 to watch at the Cheltenham Festival 2022
Constitution Hill (Supreme Novices’)
Constitution Hill heads the market for the opening race of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival on the back of a devastating display in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown. The victory saw him replace stablemate Jonbon at the top of the betting for the Supreme Novices’ and he now ranks as one of the best chances of a UK trained winner at this year’s Festival.
Trained by Nicky Hendeson, Constitution Hill has now won his two starts under rules – both times at Sandown over the two-mile trip and could get the Festival off to an excellent start for favourite backers.
Ferny Hollow (Arkle Chase)
Having won the Champion Bumper in 2020, Ferny Hollow is now a firm favourite for this year’s Arkle Chase on the back of two impressive victories over fences in December.
Having not been seen since defeating Bob Olinger at Gowran Park in November 2020, Ferny Hollow returned to action with victory at Punchestown before giving 13lb and a beating to the exciting mare Riviere D’Etel at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.
And having won four of the last seven runnings of the Arkle, Willie Mullins looks poised to land another big Cheltenham Festival victory in 2022 with Ferny Hollow.
Honeysuckle (Champion Hurdle)
Trained by Henry de Bromhead, Honeysuckle is a perfect 13 from 13 in her career, including two victories at the Cheltenham Festival – landing the Mares’ Hurdle in 2020 followed by last year’s Champion Hurdle.
She followed up last year’s victory with success in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, and she made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Hattons Grace at Fairyhouse at the end of November.
She’s the complete package – she travels and stays well and jumps impeccably. With the addition of the mares’ allowance in the Champion Hurdle, she’s the one they all have to beat once more.
Galopin Des Champs (Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase)
Already a Cheltenham Festival winner, Galopin Des Champs looked like a potential superstar when demolishing the field on chase debut at Leopardstown. The winner of the Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle at last year’s Festival before winning a Grade 1 contest at the Punchestown Festival
Now all the rage for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, Galopin Des Champs looks a solid bet to give trainer Willie Mullins a historic sixth win in the race following Monkfish’s success last year.
Shishkin (Champion Chase)
Having won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020 and 2021, Shishkin is a short price to make it a hat trick of victories in 2022. Winner of the Supreme Novices’ and Arkle Chase, the Nicky Henderson trained horse is now one of the strongest favourites of the week, heading the ante-post betting for the Champion Chase.
He looked impressive on reappearance at Kempton at Christmas and could now potentially face Energumene in a Champion Chase rehearsal at Ascot later this month.
Bob Olinger (Turners Novices’ Chase)
Yet another previous Cheltenham Festival winner, Bob Olinger, landed last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in exceptional style, and he could follow up that success this year over fences.
He won on chase debut at Gowran Park in November and is now a short price for the Turners Novices’ Chase, the opening race on day three of the Festival. And Irish-trained horses have had great success in this race – landing it eight times since its inception in 2011.
Allaho (Ryanair Chase)
Another Willie Mullins trained horse, Allaho, won the Ryanair Chase in 2021 and is a short-priced favourite to defend his title this year.
He followed up that Festival success with a 2nd at the Punchestown Festival behind Chacun Pour Soi. Still, he looked back to his best when winning the John Durkan at Punchestown on seasonal reappearance at the start of December.
The Ryanair trip of 2m 4f looks perfect for Allaho, and it will take a big performance from his rivals to stop him from notching up back-to-back successes in the race.
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