Matt Brocklebank has his eye on a 25/1 Cheltenham Festival RequestABet which features Gordon Elliott and the winning distance in the Champion Chase.
#RequestABet (25/1) - Cheltenham Festival 2019
- Rachael Blackmore to ride 1+ winners
- Gordon Elliot to win leading trainer award
- Biggest-priced winning SP to be 33/1+
- Altior to win Queen Mother Champion Chase by 5+ lengths
- Sir Erec to win Triumph Hurdle
Rachael Blackmore to ride 1+ winners
Rachael Blackmore was obviously making waves on the Irish jumps scenes last season (34 winners) but after Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry retired, she has taken her level of performance to new heights in the current campaign and, at the time of writing, has amassed a staggering 83 winners, 52 seconds and 56 third.
She's fully embroiled in the jockeys' championship, sitting in second place between Paul Townend (90) and Davy Russell in the standings (70), and has enjoyed several high-profile days on the likes of Bedrock, Honeysuckle, Sinoria, Monalee and Chris's Dream.
A couple of those horses head to Cheltenham with leading claims in Graded races and Blackmore will also no doubt be in high demand when it comes to the plethora of Gigginstown horses lined up for the Festival handicaps.
She's still seemingly underappreciated in Britain but all that looks sure to change at Prestbury Park this March and it looks a matter of time before she opens her account at the biggest meeting.
Rachael Blackmore boots Cuneo home in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown...
Gordon Elliot to win leading trainer award
Gordon Elliott freely admits that matching last year's eight Cheltenham Festival winners will be almost impossible, but that won't be required for him to win the top trainer gong for the second year in succession.
Tiger Roll going for a remarkable fourth Festival success in the Cross Country Chase looks Elliott's banker of the week but he's got Apple's Jade, Delta Work, Champagne Classic, Battleoverdoyen and Commander Of Fleet as likely market leaders in their respective races too.
There's Samcro and Hardline lurking as potential outsiders, too, and all that before the handicaps even get a mention. The quotes of 11/10 could be generous.
The other important factor here is that Paul Nicholls (12/1) and Nicky Henderson (2/1) may end up 'sharing' a few races out rather than one of the British powerhouses dominating with a bunch of winners, plus top trainer regular Willie Mullins (7/2) also facing competition from the likes of Joseph O'Brien (16/1), Henry De Bromhead (50/1) and Jessie Harrington (66/1).
Biggest-priced winner to be 33/1+
We'll obviously be cheering on a few short-priced favourites in a bid to get Gordon Elliott over the line as the leading trainer but a shock winner will be more than welcome too.
It took until the Friday for a 33/1 surprise at last year's Festival as Kilbricken Storm landed the Albert Bartlett but Moyaahed (28/1), Bleu Berry (25/1) and Relegate (25/1) had also prevailed at long odds.
This season has been an odd one in regards to the dry winter and equine influenza, and the impact those two factors have had on various horses' campaigns could result in a few coming to the Festival under the radar and underestimated by the layers.
It's obviously hard to pin down which will win at 33/1 or bigger, but having all the rags on side is never a bad idea coming into a meeting as competitive as this.
Altior to win Champion Chase by 5+ lengths
There was a hint of dissatisfaction in the voice of Toby Laws - Nicky Henderson's assistant trainer and regular work rider of Altior - when asked about Paul Nicholls' Ascot Chase winner Cyrname being recognised as the highest-rated chaser in training.
There's a clear understanding from all involved with Altior that he can only be judged on the horses he's been beating and if Cyrname's wildly impressive performance genuinely earned him a mark of 178, then so be it.
But hearing Laws and Henderson on the subject gives the impression they're quite keen to do something about it before the season is out and one things' for sure: the final words of instruction before the Champion Chase won't be "not too far, Nico".
Altior's winning distance in the big one last year was seven lengths from Min, a horse he beat the same distance in the 2016 Sky Bet Supreme, and the only conceivable form danger to him again this time around.
If Altior is to be remembered as a true great then he's probably going to have to edge into the 180s ratings bracket and Cheltenham seems the perfect stage on which to do just that.
Sir Erec to win Triumph Hurdle
Sir Erec - the banker of the week as he bids to maintain his unbeaten record over timber in the JCB Triumph Hurdle on Friday.
Well-bred, very classy on the Flat for Aidan O'Brien and seemingly extremely well schooled by the Ballydoyle maestro's son, Joseph.
The son of Camelot improved about a stone from his maiden hurdle win to claim the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival at the start of last month and his jump at the last flight was a sight to behold.
No doubt there are several high-class prospects in the shake-up for the Triumph but Sir Erec is already at the required level and he'll be prepared to the minute by the trainer who effectively oversaw Ivanovich Gorbatov's win in the same race in 2016.