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Ginny's Destiny defies top-weight in the Timeform Novices' Handicap CHase
Ginny's Destiny: One for the 2025 Ryanair

Cheltenham tips: Our team's early best bets for 2025

As the dust settles on this year's Cheltenham Festival, our team offer their idea of the best ante-post bet at this stage for next year's Festival.

William Munny - Sky Bet Supreme (Andy McLaren)

With the class of 2024 dominating the antepost betting for next year’s Festival there are a few absentees who appear to have been somewhat forgotten, none more so than WILLIAM MUNNY who was a stunning winner of a Naas bumper in February.

The turn of foot he showed last time marked him out as a potential top-notcher and if he puts up the sort of performance I think he’s capable of at the Punchestown Festival, his current odds of 20/1 for the Supreme will be long gone.

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Restyle Wednesday | Horse Racing Podcast

Ile Atlantique - Arkle Novices’ Chase (Andrew Asquith)

ILE ATLANTIQUE was useful in bumpers – his defeats in that sphere came at the hands of Albert Bartlett winner Steller Story and Supreme third Firefox – and he has developed into a smart novice hurdler this season.

He looked a bright prospect when making a winning start in a two-mile maiden at Gowran and there has been plenty to like about his performances at Grade 1 level since, finishing a neck second to stablemate Readin Tommy Wrong in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novices’ Hurdle and running to a similar level when a distant third to the very talented Ballyburn in the Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

However, the future of Ile Atlantique very much lies over fences – he is a big, powerful horse who possesses plenty of scope – and he is fancied to make marked improvement as a chaser next season. His last two runs over hurdles have come over intermediate trips, but he doesn’t lack speed at all, while his ability to travel strongly in his races will stand him in good stead once met with more obstacles. Ile Atlantique looks an ideal candidate for the Arkle and, if all goes as well as expected, he will be much shorter than the 25/1 available, that’s for sure.

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Salvator Mundi - Gallagher Novices' Hurdle (Matt Brocklebank)

Gaelic Warrior going left-handed still won’t be everyone’s idea of fun, but he bolted up in the Arkle and I can very much see him as a long-term Ryanair Chase prospect as he seems unlikely to usurp El Fabiolo or Galopin Des Champs in their respective divisions any time soon, despite the former’s disappointing display at the Festival this time around. The 8/1 with Sky Bet and BoyleSports – he’s as short as half of that elsewhere – seems like fair business but if you’re betting this far in advance, with a mass mount of water still to pass under the bridge, you’re going to want a bigger price.

Step forward SALVATOR MUNDI, the four-year-old who was second to Sir Gino in France and the subject of some glowing reports out of the Willie Mullins yard in the lead-up to the Triumph Hurdle. Following final declarations, however, it was clear that he probably hadn’t quite yet come to hand as hoped as Paul Townend preferred Storm Heart and it was left to Brian Hayes to give the Donnellys’ promising recruit what looked like an educational outing at Cheltenham.

Beaten 17 lengths by Majborough at the line, I thought he shaped much better than the bare result last Friday and could yet make it at the highest level, especially if connections are able to retain his novice status into next season as well – presumably via one more outing in the top-level juvenile race at Punchestown.

By No Risk At All, who sired the same yard’s Impaire Et Passe to win the Gallagher in 2023, as well as the likes of Allaho, Allegorie De Vassy, Epatante and Blood Destiny, Salvator Mundi seems certain to stay further than two miles in time and he could be worth a flier at 50s for the Grade 1 novice event over the intermediate distance at next year’s Festival.

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Quai de Bourbon - Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (Tony McFadden)

He came up just short in the Martin Pipe on his handicap debut, suffering a first defeat since joining Willie Mullins' powerhouse stable, but QUAI DE BOURBON shaped really well to finish third in a strong renewal of a race with a fine record of unearthing top prospects (Galopin des Champs notably won the race in 2021). Quai de Bourbon failed to initially pick up as well as had looked likely after impressing with how strongly he travelled, showing a bit of inexperience. However, he was staying on well again close home and was ultimately only beaten a couple of lengths.

He may have been beaten in a handicap but he earned a higher Timeform rating than the Gallagher runner-up Jimmy du Seuil (144p v 142p) and he appeals as the type to make his mark in graded company, particularly over fences given his powerful physique. A step up in trip is also likely to bring about a bigger effort from Quai de Bourbon and he appeals as one who could progress into a contender for the Brown Advisory next season.

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Horses parade ahead of the 2024 Triumph Hurdle
David Cleary's horses to follow from the Cheltenham paddock

Ginny's Destiny - Ryanair Case (David Ord)

He may have lost the battle to Grey Dawning in the Turners but GINNY'S DESTINY lost little else in defeat and looks a rock-solid bet at 14/1 for next year's Ryanair Chase.

For one it will be his target given his liking for the course-and-distance and the body of work he's built up there. There's every chance he'll take in the Paddy Power Gold Cup en route and rated 160p already with Timeform, there could easily be a chunk more to come in only his second season with Paul Nicholls. Then there's the race itself. His recent conqueror is going to go down the Gold Cup route, Gaelic Warrior?

Well we won't know where he runs until late in the day and a couple of big wins over the minimum trip before March might make him hard to switch from the Champion. Jonbon - well he's never even tried this trip before, El Fabiolo and Fact To File? Nah they won't go here surely. That leaves Protektorat, winner this year but Timeform 168 is his ceiling. It might not be the selection's.

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Il Est Francais - Gold Cup (Ben Linfoot)

Galopin des Champs was brilliant last week as he landed his second Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup but it's very difficult to win three and the indicators are he won't be wrapped up in cotton wool in a bid to make it happen. There are some highly-promising novices to pump new blood in the division next year, including stablemate Fact To File and Turners winner Grey Dawning, but IL EST FRANCAIS (10/1) remains the most exciting novice from the 2023-24 campaign.

A French Gold Cup and a King George VI Chase are on his hitlist for the remainder of this year, with Cheltenham likely to be too strong an attraction if all goes well in those two races. He's not proven around Prestbury Park, but he does look versatile conditions-wise and he looks to have the natural talent to have a big say in the big one.

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