Skip to content
en-gb GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. Horse Racing
  2. Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham: Irish novices' making statements

There are just eight more Saturday's remaining before the Cheltenham Festival as the countdown to the Cotswolds extravaganza continues to gather pace.

With The Festival now coming into clear sight, we'll be reviewing the weekend's action each Monday to see what eye-catching weekend performances have impacted the Cheltenham markets.

This weekend's star performer was Bob Olinger for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in his Punchestown success.

Bob states his case in style

Bob Olinger was of course a fine and impressive winner at Cheltenham last March, taking out the Ballymore in what was a majestic week for the De Bromhead and Blackmore partnership.

He's only been beaten by one horse in eight starts under rules, that being a narrow defeat to Ferny Hollow in a maiden hurdle in Ireland early last season, before the Willie Mullins inmate was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. Ferny Hollow is of course now 6/4 to win the Arkle on 15th March.

Bob Olinger meanwhile is 1/1 to land the Turners Novices' Chase (formerly the Marsh) a couple of days later, set as he is to remain at the intermediate two-and-a-half-mile trip.

There were plenty willing to pick holes in his chasing debut at Gowran Park in November despite a straightforward victory, and Bob Olinger certainly dispelled any of the naysayers with Sunday's win in the Grade 3 Kildare Novice Chase at Ireland's jumps headquarters.

He was assured at the obstacles and while Capodanno - representing Team Mullins - briefly threatened to get him on the chase turning for home, Bob Olinger oozed class in closing him down and had a turn of foot that put the race to bed in strides.

It left De Bromhead buzzing post-race as he suggested: "Class, he's just got a lot of class," when asked what Bob Olinger has got that others don't.

Weather permitting, Bob Olinger is set to race again at the Dublin Racing Festival in early February before heading for his second Cheltenham Festival with hopes now sky-high that he'll be victorious again. You can follow the action at the Festival via our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Dynamo injects electricity into Supreme picture

It's the race all jumps fans look forward to the most - by hook or by crook. The Supreme Novices' Hurdle signals the start of the Cheltenham Festival and is therefore anticipated more than any other contest.

In recent times it hasn't always delivered a thriller - see Appreciate It thrashing the field last season for instance – but this year's curtain raiser has all the makings of an absolute belter now.

The latest reason for that is Dysart Dynamo, the Willie Mullins inmate having propelled himself into 4/1 for the 15th March contest after his demolition job in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Related Cheltenham News

Cheltenham: Henderson pair on course for Festival duel

Cheltenham: Skelton opts for Ryanair with Shan Blue

Cheltenham: Festival the target for Bravemansgame

Cheltenham: Mullins camp hope to take Festival by Storm

He was two-from-two last spring in bumpers and perhaps not many eyebrows were raised when he justified odds-on favouritism to win a Cork maiden (2m, soft) in early December for a winning start over timber by putting 19-lengths between himself and the field.

Those eyes certainly went skyward on Sunday when he had the same winning margin in graded company, obliterating his rivals under Paul Townend.

That win means he has shot clear of his stablemate and 2021 Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard - now 6/1 for the Supreme - and this race looks red-hot on paper.

Nicky Henderson's duo Constitution Hill and Jonbon have done nothing but impress in their hurdles successes so far and it's the former that heads the market at 2/1 following his own demolition job in the Tolworth at Sandown this month.

With Jonbon having been touted for great things ever since JP McManus shed 570,000 gns for Douvan's full brother, it's shaping into an opening race heavyweight clash between Britain and Ireland.

It was the Irish novice hurdlers that proved strongest last season and following Dysart Dynamo's emphatic weekend win, the raiders will be feeling their hand is strengthening all the time.

Stag party a possibility

Archie Watson isn't known for his training of jumps horses but the Lambourn handler may be about to change that as high-class Flat performer Stag Horn has taken very nicely to novice hurdling.

He was rated as high as 108 on the level and the son of Derby winner Golden Horn is making rapid strides as a hurdler.

He won on debut at Hereford last month and made the transition into graded company a relatively smooth one with Saturday's success in the Grade 2 Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick.

With Nick Scholfield on board for the first time Stag Horn deployed his usual front-running tactics.

For one of such little experience and not typically bred for this game, he jumped enthusiastically and accurately and took the field along at a decent pace.

The hitherto unbeaten Surrey Quest from the Nicky Henderson yard was left flailing and pulled up, while useful Party Business and Viva Lavilla - both rated in the 130s - couldn't go the gallop late on.

It was a really strong effort from Stag Horn and his jockey was effusive in his praise post-race.

"It was a really tough performance as I asked him a lot of questions and not every horse can pull out more and more. When horses do that, there is no better feeling really," Scholfield said.

"I thought I was going a hell of a gallop, but even when I sent him on three out he kept responding. He just wants to please."

Scholfield suggested 'be surprised if he doesn't turn up' at Cheltenham in March and the 2m5f  Ballymore looks tailor-made for him.

He was brought into the market and is a 16/1 chance after that Warwick display.

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets

Join Now

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.