Bookmakers are getting behind the Irish ahead of the Cheltenham Festival this week.
BoyleSports has reported significant ante post interest in the travelling contingent to the Festival.
Barry Geraghty is being backed to finish the Festival with more wins than any of his fellow jockeys and closed into joint favouritism with Ruby Walsh on the eve of the off by going from 4/1 into 3/1.
Walsh has been top jockey at Cheltenham 11 times in his career but has admitted his bookings this week are not as strong as in previous years, despite Mares’ Hurdle 10/11 shot Benie Des Dieux proving one of the Festival bankers for Irish punters. He also holds strong claims in the Champion Hurdle with Laurina (7/2), while Kemboy (8/1) and Bellshill (12/1) are among his options in the Gold Cup.
Gordon Elliott meanwhile is a narrow leader in the market to be crowned top trainer with Willie Mullins now second favourite ahead of Nicky Henderson having been backed into 9/4 from 3/1.
Elliott, who has favourites Apple’s Jade, Delta Work and Tiger Roll amongst his team set to go to post, leads the BoyleSports betting at 5/4 to finish the Festival as the trainer with most winners.
At 4/11, JP McManus is expected to pay more visits to the winners’ enclosure than fellow owners the O’Leary’s at Gigginstown House Stud, with the maroon colours 7/4 to come out with more winners.
The Irish will also rule the roost when it comes to the Prestbury Cup if the betting is to be believed, the competition that sees trainers from opposite sides of the water pitted against each other in the quest for more victories. Ireland are odds-on at 8/11 to deliver more winners in a competition they had wrapped before the final day of racing at last year’s Festival.
Lawrence Lyons, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: “The antepost markets have been absolutely buzzing over the past week and with those patterns set continue into racing, we are bracing ourselves for record turnover on the event. There are significant liabilities on the likes of Apple’s Jade, Tiger Roll and Presenting Percy, so if those Irish favourites deliver we could be set for a very damaging week.
“Even with the Gold Cup to come on Friday, the Champion Hurdle on the first day has really been one of the most popular antepost races with Apple’s Jade attempting to deny Buveur d’Air a hat-trick in the race. That seems to be the one punters are anticipating most throughout the week and an Irish victory there will hit us hard.”