Cheltenham ante-post eye-catchers: Weekend Review 14-15 November

Cheltenham ante-post eye-catchers: Weekend Review 14-15 November
Put The Kettle On advanced her Cheltenham Festival credentials on Sunday Credit: Getty

Telegraph Betting review the latest Cheltenham Festival ante-post betting news after some informative weekend action in the UK and Ireland on 14-15 November

After three days of thrilling Cheltenham racing at the November Meeting, there were lots of eye-catchers that may turn up back in the Cotswolds come The Festival in March.

Here are our Cheltenham Ante-Post Eye-Catchers following another stunning weekend of jumps racing across Britain and Ireland.

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Easy still does it

Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

Starting with a horse that was turned over as odds-on favourite in Friday's Cross Country. Easysland faced a Festival re-match with Tiger Roll - the latter pulled up after a listless run, leaving questions over his racing future - and would have been expected by many to grab a routine win once the dual Grand National and Cheltenham legend was removed from the picture.

Easysland was never going with the enthusiasm we would have expected. There were jumping errors at times and it was clear a good way from home that David Cottin was having to work hard. 

So it proved as frontrunner Kingswell Theatre fended them all over, the French raider only able to take fourth spot - a first defeat since 2018 and the end of a seven-race winning streak for Easysland.

He had been very short in the betting to retain his perch in the Cross County come March (generally 6/4) but is now as big as 15/8 for the Festival target. Is it time to lose faith?

Probably not. This was his first run of the season and he is likely to be back at Cheltenham next month for another prep-run. 

Win there and he will cement his position as favourite for March. Come the spring, he'll be off level weights, whereas on Friday he was attempting to concede lumps of weight in a handicap.

Get your Duffle Coat

Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

Gordon Elliott's Duffle Coat extended his unbeaten record with a tenacious last-to-first success in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday.

His success was the more impressive for the fact that Robbie Power's mount was stone last turning down the hill and passed his rivals in determined fashion before eventually pulling some five-lengths clear after a less than perfect jump at the last.

Power admitted they simply had gone too fast in the early stages, ensuring he had 'no choice' but to sit out the back of the field and wait for things to come to him on what was described as 'genuine soft ground' by the winning rider.

Duffle Coat is now 4-4 over timber and it's worth recalling he was conceding a 5lb penalty to his rivals here, having already scored a Listed win at Wetherby.

The Triumph Hurdle is a possible spring-time option and his stamina and determination will be key assets there, while he's also likely to garner further experience between now and then. A strong constitution is vital for four-year-olds in that Festival race and Duffle Coat clearly has stacks of heart.

Big Break impresses on debut

Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

Given that Colin Tizzard's string have been tending to need a run this season, The Big Breakaway was an impressive reappearance winner at Cheltenham on Sunday on his chasing bow.

He tracked Soldier Of Love and took up the running midway through the race. Paul Nicholls' runner has been in super form in recent months and came to lead again, but The Big Breakaway soon put him to the sword before coming home with ten-lengths to spare.

He's now likely to head onwards to Christmas and maybe a graded race around Kempton to build on this. His only defeat over hurdles last season came when fourth behind Envoi Allen in the Ballymore at The Festival. 

With that rival seemingly destined for the Marsh Novices' Chase, the Tizzard's will surely look towards the RSA and three-miles with this imposing sort and this was an ideal starting point.

Kettle's on, questions asked

Odds correct at time of publshing and subject to change.

Sunday's Shloer Chase leaves the two-miles chasing division as wide open as for many a year.

Chacun Pour Soi and Altior head the market, both having missed the race in March. The former is clearly a fragile sort and makes little ante-post appeal, while the dual winner is getting no younger and has to prove he remains the force of old given how last season panned out.

Rouge Vif, impressive here last month, skipped the Shloer on account of the ground, while previous winner Defi Du Seuil went out like the proverbial lightbulb having started favourite and now has a massive cloud over him having done similar in the Champion Chase.

Rouge Vif, lest we forget, was almost 20-lengths behind Put The Kettle on in the Arkle when Henry De Bromhead's mare delivered a surprise win back in March. The demolition job from Harry Whittington's charge surely then reflects well on the Irish mare, even before she returned to win the Grade 2 on Sunday's card.

That nothing went right in the race only served to make it so much more impressive. Duc Des Genievres blazed a trail in front, enough to burn Defi Du Seuil into tame submission, and looked to have stolen the prize. 

Aidan Coleman and Put The Kettle On had lots to do after the third last but they bridged the gap, piece-by-piece, and grabbed the winner as the line approached.

It showed massive heart from Put The Kettle On given the way things had played out. With no outstanding candidate for the Champion Chase, it's possible to suggest the Arkle winner would not be double-figure odds if she raced in more widely-recognised colours.

Fact is, she's in the hands of a master-trainer of two-mile chasers and could be a massive player come March.

Don’t miss a Cheltenham Festival ante-post notebook update 

Our Cheltenham Festival section is the place to catch our weekend reviews throughout the campaign as well as the home of our list of the best Cheltenham Betting Offers.

You can also keep up on the Cheltenham ante-post betting picture for each of the Festival’s four feature races:

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