Cheltenham Countdown: Three Irish Martinis…

Anytime, Any place, Anywhere…..

In the latest of our Cheltenham Countdowns we focus on those multiple entered contenders whose final target is deeply uncertain. For these “Martini” horses, we are looking for value in the “win any race at Cheltenham” market where the actual target does not need to be specified.  

And it’s three Irish challengers this week that catch the eye:

Easy Game,  14/1 (William Hill)

Willie Mullins usually turns up with some short priced highly-hyped novices.  Not so this year.  Easy Game does not fit his usual profile having had a very busy Autumn and then a mid-Winter break.  That said he has progressed well, travels well and has a turn of foot.  He is entered in the three grade 1 novice hurdles but a current rating of 143 also opens up the Coral Cup, County, or possibly the Martin Pipe for a horse whose attributes are well suited to a big field handicap. We can be sure Willie will select his target carefully and he looks sure to be significantly shorter than 14/1 on the day for almost any of the options available.

Mall Dini, 12/1 (William Hill)

This Festival regular has a win, a fifth and a second in his three visits. He is frustratingly still a maiden novice over fences after 13 runs, but his small yard (Patrick Kelly of Presenting Percy fame) target Cheltenham and everything else should be considered part of the build up. He has run in the Kim Muir the last two years but needs some generous handicapping to dip under the 145 ratings cap for that event (latest 148). He has maintained a relationship with amateur Patrick Mullins suggesting the 4m National Hunt chase is in the mix, he could also take in the Ultima handicap on day 1. In any of those he is likely to go off a mid single figure price – he is always well backed, and 12/1 now will look a gift come the week come what may.

Discorama, 12/1 (Skybet NRNB)

This novice chaser was the only horse to make ground from the rear when second in last year’s Martin Pipe. That earmarked him as one to follow in handicaps this season. He won his novice chase debut well and was a respectable 5th in the Grade 1 Drinmore. A rating of 145 makes the novice handicap chase (ratings cap 145) enticing, but his latest effort when likely to push NH Chase favourite Ballyward close at Naas before a last fence fall over 3 miles muddies the waters. That brings better races like the JLT, the RSA and the 4m NH chase into consideration.  An anyplace bet therefore stands out in the hope that connections don’t get too ambitious. 12/1 is available with Hills, but he is also one of a shorter list quoted by Skybet at the same price but with the always helpful Non Runner No Bet insurance.

The Countdown Portfolio:

Getaway Trump (16/1) Supreme Novice

Janika (25/1 NRNB), Ryanair

Indefatigable (25/1) Mares Novice

Easy Game (14/1) Any Race at Festival

Mall Dini (12/1) Any Race at Festival

Discorama (12/1 NRNB) Any Race at Festival

Previous articles in series:

Cheltenham Countdown: Three Below The Radar…

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