BRISTOL DE MAI has become a surprise Festival gamble as punters hope bookies will end up with mud on their faces.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner thrashed reigning Gold Cup king Native River by four lengths in the Betfair Chase.
The eight-year-old then fell when in the middle of the pack at Kempton in the King George won by Clan Des Obeaux.
With plenty of top form in the mud, and with soft ground now forecast for Cheltenham week, punters have waded in with their wallets.
Betway’s Tom Marriott said: “We’ve seen a lot of money for Bristol De Mai and have been forced to cut him from 33s to 22-1.”
Ladbrokes are shortest of all at 16-1.
Twiston-Davies says the cash is well placed. He said: “He is overpriced for the Gold Cup, for sure.
“He is in great form and has beaten most of the others this season.
“He’s had a nice break and we certainly have no worries about the ground. I’m pretty hopeful.”
The bad news for Bristol De Mai backers is rain will also suit the likes of Native River and big Irish challenger Presenting Percy.
William Hill’s Rupert Adam said: “We have seen money for Native River and expect plenty more.”
Ladbrokes are looking to the gods to help them with Angel’s Breath, who has been punted for the opening race of the Festival, the Supreme.
The Magic Sign’s Nicola McGeady said: “Nico De Boinville has chosen to ride Angel’s Breath and the ground is set to be in the horse’s favour. He has been very well backed and we are now just 4-1.”
Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “We’ve had plenty of rain in the last week and the outlook is unsettled with more rain to come.”
Gold Cup: Native River, Presenting Percy, Bristol De Mai
Champ Hurdle: Apple’s Jade, Laurina
Coral Cup: Ballyandy
Supreme: Angels Breath
National Hunt Chase: Ballyward
RSA CHA: Santini
Ultima Handicap: Mister Whitaker
JLT: Defi Du Seuil
Grand Annual: Le Prezien
Albert Bartlett: Derrinross, Relegate
Champion Chase: Un De Sceaux
Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle: Black Op, Faugheen
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Gold Cup: Clan Des Obeaux, Might Bite
Albert Barlett: Birchdale
Ballymore: City Island
Foxhunters: Wonderful Charm
Ultima: Minella Rocco, The Young Master
Champion Hurdle: Brain Power, Verdana Blue
Ryanair: Road To Respect
Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle: Paisley Park
Supreme: Thomas Darby
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