Cheltenham Festival – The Foxhunters Ante-Post Preview
The Foxhunters, often referred to as the Amateur Riders’ Gold Cup, is run over the Gold Cup distance of 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs. It is seldom a race that draws much attention in the ante-post market, but this season’s race looks like it could be an absolute cracker if all the leading fancies turn-up.
The last 10 renewals have been won by four 9-year-olds, whilst 7, 8 and 10-year-olds have all been responsible for providing 2 winners each. Only one horse has won it twice in the last decade, and the winning connections are also the only trainer or jockey to have won more than one in that time.
On The Fringe 9/2
Last year’s winner also impressed when following-up in the Aintree and Punchestown equivalents, and it’s hard to see him not being competitive this time around. Against him is the fact he’ll be older, at 11, than the last 10 winners, although horses older than 10 where responsible for 3 winners in the previous decade.
Long Run 5/1
The dual King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner hasn’t run since May 2014 when he was already showing signs of not being the horse he once was. He’ll also be 11 come March and, though he’d eat these for breakfast at his best, horses who were so good so young rarely have the longevity to still be winning at 11.
Prince De Beauchene 5/1
Beat On The Fringe ¾ length at Leopardstown in February but missed the big festivals afterwards. He’ll be 13 in March, however Earthmover won this race at that age in 2004.
Mendip Express 7/1
Rated 148 when finishing only 17th of 24 in March at the festival, but couldn’t be ruled out if the ground came up soft. However his jumping might get him in trouble in what is usually a big field. Another who will be 11 come March.
Oscar Barton 10/1
Returned from 2 years off to beat On The Fringe 19 lengths in a 22-furlong hunter chase in 2014, but has been absent since. Likely he’s very talented, but too fragile to warrant a bet at this time.
Paint The Clouds 14/1
Sent off favourite for last season’s race in a bid for a 5-timer, but could only finish 3rd on ground too soft. Also beaten twice subsequently.
A lightly raced 8-year-old who showed a gritty determination and lots of stamina when beating Paint The Clouds at Stratford on his last appearance. That was his 3rd win in his last 4 starts, and he could be the one that still has improvement to come.
There have to be some doubts as to whether Long Run, Prince De Beauchene and Oscar Barton will line-up, which means On The Fringe could go off at a very short-price to continue last season’s heroics. However, as he’ll be older than any winner in the last decade, it might be worth having a sporting bet on the untapped potential of Moroman who will be 9 in March
1 point Moroman @ 16/1 (general)