Turners Novices' Chase Ante-Post Odds: Back this 14/1 Mullins raider to trouble Bob Olinger
One of the most hotly-anticipated runners at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival will be the Henry De Bromhead-trained Bob Olinger, who is a red-hot favourite for the Turners Novices' Chase, which will be run on March 17. We take a look at the latest odds for the Grade 1 curtain-raiser on day three of the meeting, and pick a selection against the jolly...
A sensational seven-and-a-half length winner of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at last season's Cheltenham Festival, Bob Olinger has continued to dominate his rivals since his switch to fences, and having cruised to a brace of wins over the larger obstacles he's been slashed into an Evens favourite for the Turners Novices' Chase. A faultless chasing debut saw him scoot over six lengths clear of the classy Bacardys, while he built on that effort next time out when bounding away from Capodanno in the Grade 3 Kildare Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
Showing a real zest for the chasing game, De Bromhead's star showed a fine turn of foot in the closing stages to pull well clear of a decent performer in Capodanno, and with the world at his hooves he looks like he could be one of the finest horses in training. With both of his wins coming over 2m 4f then the same trip in the Turners should prove ideal, so it's unlikely he's seen in either the Arkle (2m) or Brown Advisory (3m) at the Cheltenham Festival, so it looks all systems go for the Thursday event.
However, with this being an ante-post look at the race, and with just under two months to go until the race lights up Prestbury Park, then Bob Olinger is no punting option, and it's worth looking elsewhere for a bet, despite De Bromhead's charge looking very tough to beat.
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Since the race's inception in 2011, Willie Mullins has trained the winner of this race on four occasions, and while Galopin Des Champs is next in the betting at 8/1, he's a warm order for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase the day before, so he's not worth taking seriously in the ante-post market.
With 14 of the 44 entries, the Closutton team could be heavily armed going into this event, but the one standout contender could be the smart looking five-year-old HAUT EN COULEURS. The lightly-raced youngster was a very smart juvenile hurdler and finished a fine third in the Triumph Hurdle at the festival last season. He then put in a similar display when finishing in the bronze medal position again at the Punchestown Festival in the Grade 1 Four-Year-Old Hurdle. However, it looks as though chasing could be his game, and currently at 14/1 he looks a decent each-way option.
A taking five-and-a-half length victory over Gentleman Du Mee at Leopardstown on his chasing debut over 2m 1f, the Mrs J Donnelly-owned raider shaped like the step up in trip should prove ideal, and with stablemate Ferny Hollow dominating the Arkle betting and the aforementioned Galopin Des Champs clear at the head of the betting for the Brown Advisory then Haut En Couleurs looks bound for the Turners. He holds a brace of entries at the Dublin Racing Festival in Grade 1 company, so we will know a lot more after those runs, but if he can perform with credit there then the 14/1 could look rather big.
Runner-up in the Fred Winter last season, Saint Sam won on chasing debut and adds more depth to the Mullins charge, and at 20/1 is eye-catching, while the abovementioned Capodanno is another of the Mullins clan that could play a part here, and he's also 20/1 with some bookmakers.
British trainers have only won three of the 11 renewals of this contest, but one flying the flag for the home brigade this season is the Venetia Williams-trained L'Homme Presse, who was a mightily-impressive winner of the Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, and he's currently the 8/1 second favourite. Three wins out of three over fences, the Williams' charge has shown a real love for the chasing game, but whether he can maintain a relentless gallop against Bob Olinger that is under serious doubt.
Of the others, former Betfair Hurdle winner Pic D'Orhy (20/1) has had an indifferent chasing career, but his win in the Grade 2 Noel Novices' Chase showed he can produce the goods at a high level and warrants respect, while the likes of Dusart (25/1) and French Dynamite (33/1) could add more depth to a race that can be dominated by the front few in the betting.