• Fairyhouse performers to follow en route to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival include Mengli Khan and Presenting Percy

    5 Fairyhouse performers to follow for 2018 Cheltenham Festival

    Espoir D’allen and Presenting Percy among Fairyhouse performers

    Hurdle Bet report on five Fairyhouse performers to follow en route to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, including Espoir D’allen and Presenting Percy.

    A superb Sunday card at Fairyhouse, including three Grade 1s, gave punters Cheltenham Festival clues aplenty.

    Five favourites came in from the six hurdles and chase contests, giving bookmakers a difficult day.

    In this review piece, we look at five key Fairyhouse performers with an eye on next March…

    McManus juvenile hand strengthens with Espoir D’allen

    Espoir D’allen in the first of our five Fairyhouse performers to follow en route to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

    Gavin Cromwell trained juvenile Espoir D’allen made it three wins since joining his current handler for leading Irish owner JP McManus.

    Sent off the odds-on 8/13 favourite for the Grade 3 2m Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle, the three-year-old justified his short price.

    Espoir D’allen was on terms following three out and quickened clear thereafter for a 4 1/2 lengths success over Mitchouka.

    BetVictor now make him 8/1 second-favourite in their ante post JCB Triumph Hurdle betting.

    McManus also has filly Apple’s Shakira, however, who could be aimed at that juvenile contest or the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.

    Magnificent Mengli Khan cut for Supreme success

    Mengli Khan is another of our five Fairyhouse performers to follow.

    Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud enjoyed wins in all three Grade 1s on the card and the hat-trick began with Mengli Khan.

    He led two out and was pushed clear by Jack Kennedy en route to a 5 1/2 lengths victory in the 2m Royal Bond Novice Hurdle over Early Doors.

    They pulled 15 lengths clear of the others and Mengli Khan was returned at evens, after we advised punters to snap up the early 9/4 price.

    Bookmakers reacted to this by slashing him for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle across the boards.

    Mengli Khan is now 6/1 favourite for the Cheltenham Festival’s opening race with Paddy Power.

    Apple’s Jade retains Hatton’s Grace crown

    Another of our five Fairyhouse performers to follow to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is Apple’s Jade.

    Elliott and Gigginstown went in again as ultra-tough mare Apple’s Jade made it back-to-back victories in the 2m 4f Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.

    When betting on this Grade 1 opened Nichols Canyon was favourite, but Apple’s Jade received backing into evens and made all impressively, beating the boys by nine lengths.

    Stayers’ Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon and Coral Cup victor Supasundae just couldn’t go with the fellow Cheltenham Festival scorer.

    Apple’s Jade really benefited from a 7lb sex allowance, which won’t be available to her if she defends her Mares’ Hurdle crown against her own sex in March.

    Elliott confirmed that was her target, though, so she is now 5/4 with Paddy Power for more Mares’ glory.

    Death Duty delivers again in Drinmore

    Another of the Gordon Elliott horses among Fairyhouse performers was Death Duty.

    And Death Duty completed the Grade 1 hat-trick for connections, also making all in the 2m 4f Drinmore Novice Chase.

    More experienced rival Rathvinden perhaps had too much summer racing, while odds-on 8/11 chance Death Duty stayed on well after going two lengths clear before the last.

    Elliott and Gigginstown sent him over 3m for the Albert Bartlett in his novice hurdle campaign last season, but a shorter trip may be on the cards.

    Given he unseated when well-beaten at the last at Cheltenham, going for the 2m 4f JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival next year makes sense.

    BetVictor now go 8/1 about Death Duty in the JLT.

    Presenting Percy emerges as possible National Hunt punt

    And Presenting Percy completes our five Fairyhouse performers to follow en route to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

    Jockey Davy Russell enjoyed a big race double as Pertemps Final winner Presenting Percy bounced back to winning ways.

    Stepping up to the Irish Grand National trip of 3m 5f for the first time in the Grade B Porterstown Handicap Chase, the novice over fences led going well on landing two out.

    Backed into 7/2 joint-favourite, Presenting Percy found himself left clear at the last yet was well in command by then.

    An 11 lengths success shows he is better than a handicapper and his staying qualities hint at the 4m National Hunt Chase being a clear option for trainer Pat Kelly.

    BetVictor reacted to this by slashing Presenting Percy into 14/1 (from 25s) for that Cheltenham Festival contest.

    His RSA Chase odds came in to 10/1 (from 16s) from the 3m novice event.

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