Brown Advisory front of the queue for Cheltenham ante-post value hunters

Hunting value bets in the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets is universally considered to be tougher than ever. Especially once the season gets going.



1 year ago

One reliable method bettors still have at their disposal before the Non-Runner No Bet concessions arrive is to pinpoint races with a favourite that’s likely to be destined for another Festival contest.

Why there’s locked in value in the Brown Advisory Chase

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is arguably the only Cheltenham Festival 2023 race where the current ante-post favourite is widely expected to be aimed at another race at the meeting.

Gaillard Du Mesnil is 4/1 favourite to win, but he’s also as short as 13/8 to win the National Hunt Novices Chase, with connections suggesting the latter is the more likely route.

Trainer Willie Mullins told the At The Races stable tour ‘Patrick [Mullins] will be trying to get him on the National Hunt Chase route! He looks that type, but the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is there too,’ back in October.

Reigning Irish Champion Amateur Jockey Patrick, who would be in pole position to ride Gaillard Du Mesnil in the National Hunt Chase should father Willie opt for that assignment, had the following to say (again to At The Races) in January 2022:

“”He was beaten in a G1 novice over two-and-a-half [furlongs] and he got beat in the Brown Advisory last year, he’s maybe shown he’s not quite that level.
“I’ll be hoping that Willie will see the light and send him towards the National Hunt Chase!”

With the current market framed around a favourite that’s likely not to contest the race, bettors have a better chance of finding some decent ante-post prices for the Grade 1 Novice Chase over 3m.

Where the Brown Advisory value lies

Riding on the coattails of Gaillard Du Mesnil in the current Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase ante-post market are The Real Whacker (5/1), Thyme Hill (13/2), Gerri Colombe (7/1) and James Du Berlais (11/1).

The first of those has already won over the Brown Advisory course and distance this term and would surely be shorter if trained by Willie Mullins than Patrick Neville. A degree of value there.

Thyme Hill, has already failed to score twice at the Festival, finishing a close fourth in the 2021 Albert Bartlett, before going down by neck to Flooring Porter in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle.

Gerri Colombe has won four races in a row, including two chases this term, but needs soft ground to be seen at his best according to trainer Gordon Elliot.
James Du Berlais has always been considered to have the class to win this according to team Mullins, but 11/1 doesn’t seem fair reward for backing him off the evidence of just one win in a modest novice chase.

Skelton duo both make strong appeal

Instead, two Dan Skelton animals are available at odds to get excited about – Ballygrifin Cottage (12/1) and Hidden Heroics (33/1).
The former finished a 13-length fourth in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham last season.

Of those that finished ahead of him, first and second The Nice Guy and Minella Cocooner are out for the season, while the third, Bardenstown Lad has endured a horrendous start to his chasing career, losing his first three runs over fences by a combined 115 lengths.

Ballygrifin Cottage beat Beauport by 11 lengths on his sole run over fences to date. That run puts him in the same ballpark as The Real Whacker, who beat the same rival by 20 lengths last time out.

At longer odds, Hidden Heroics has to be a horse to keep in your trackers. Skelton described him as hurdling like a “Hippo with a hernia” at Aintree last season, but the six-year-old has taken to fences with aplomb.

Hidden Heroics has won his two chase starts to date by a combined 68 lengths in small fields, galloping his rivals into the ground. Not seen since scoring by 45 lengths over 3m1f at Cheltenham in October, he could worth chancing to spring a shock at a monster price.