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Champs favourite

A week ago, Synchronised reached the pinnacle of jump racing by claiming the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, and in a couple of weeks’ time he may well go for a historic double with the Aintree Grand National.

It seems a long way away, but already the bookmakers have priced up a number of next year’s races at the Cheltenham Festival and with stories such as Cork native Conor Murphy winning £1million on an accumulator, the dream is always there.

Arkle Chase

Two of this year’s Festival winners feature in the Arkle betting with Simonsig, a definite chaser in the making, the 4/1 favourite. Despite being an Irish point-to-point winner, Henderson did admit after his |win last week that he would be inclined to go two-and-a-half miles |or less next season rather than |two-and-a-half miles or more.

There is no doubt that Simonsig is a star of the future and while he wouldn’t represent much value at |4/1 for a race, which is just short of 12-months away, he certainly comes under the bracket of “whatever he does over hurdles is a bonus,” and |it would be amazing if he didn’t |win a novice chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes is another likely to go chasing, and is 12/1 for the Arkle, while Oscars Well is an interesting one at 14/1, and he’ll be a lot shorter than that if he can rack up a couple of quick victories in novice company this side of Christmas.

Champion Hurdle

Sponsors Stan James have gone to the trouble of pricing up 33 horses for next year’s renewal with this year’s winner, Rock On Ruby, the 6/1 joint favourite with Hurricane Fly.

Despite disappointing last week,

Hurricane Fly remains prominent in all lists and, indeed, he heads the betting with some firms including Boylesports, and expect him to shorten further if he returns back to his best at Punchestown next month.

Zarkandar is a good each-way bet for those who like an ante-post flutter. He’s 12/1 and went into this year’s race under a bit of a cloud and with only one run outside novice company. He’ll definitely play a big part this time next year.

Cinders And Ashes is a 16/1 chance following his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle win and his stable companion Peddlers Cross, who is returning to hurdles next season, is best priced 25/1 with Stan James.

RSA Chase

Fingal Bay, Boston Bob, Simonsig and Smad Place are the four horses priced up for next year’s RSA Chase, but could the bookies be currently omitting a surprise yet lively contender?

Fingal Bay missed last week’s Festival due to a setback, but he was unbeaten on his five starts so far for Philip Hobbs, while Boston Bob was second in the Albert Bartlett.

Alan King’s Smad Place ran a big race to finish third behind |Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle, while Simonsig has other items higher on the agenda.

However, it was interesting |to hear Brian Hamilton’s comments that he may toy with the idea of going straight over fences next season, and after his fourth place finish in the Champion Bumper, he is a horse to follow whatever route he takes.

Champion Chase

With the risks involved in jump racing there will be few who back Sprinter Sacre to win the Champion Chase at 5/4, but following his demolition job in the Arkle last week, he deserves to be that price and it’s hard to argue with the 4/5 he is in a place.

There is no doubt once Sprinter Sacre turns up in one piece, that he will indeed be |one of the bankers of next year’s meeting, and let’s hope he does, because he looks set to be the next Moscow Flyer.

Sizing Europe (8/1) will be 11 next year and despite his game efforts this term, it’ll be hard to see him regain his crown in |2013, while this year’s winner, |Finian’s Rainbow, is a 6/1 shot, but he will have to overcome |his stable mate Sprinter Sacre by the looks of things.

World Hurdle

Prior to the Festival we asked a number of jockeys if Big Buck’s unbeatable, and they all agreed he wasn’t, but last week he yet again showed he must be as close as racing has to invincible.

After seeing off Voler La Vedette in his fourth consecutive victory in the World Hurdle and 16th straight win without defeat, Big Buck’s was made the 7/4 favourite with sponsors Ladbrokes to come back next year.

Who knows, he may go into that race with the longest string of victories we have ever seen, but you wouldn’t want to back against him to make it five |World Hurdle’s in a row.

Gold Cup

Last Friday’s winner, Synchronised, has three ahead of him in the betting for next year’s renewal, and they are last year’s winner, Long Run, this year’s Jewson Chase winner, Sir Des Champs, who is favourite, and RSA Chase winner Bobs Worth.

Considering War Of Attrition was the last Irish winner of the Gold Cup, it’s refreshing to see |Sir Des Champs, First Lieutenant and Last Instalment all live contenders at this early stage, and that trio all carry the colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud who, of course, also owned War Of Attrition.

One at a best priced 25/1 who also has to be in the mix for top honours next year is this year’s Cheltenham absentee Flemenstar, who has done nothing but impress since going over fences.

With that quartet to embark on staying chases next year, the future in the Gold Cup may be a lot brighter for Irish-trained horses and the unbeaten Sir Des Champs is certainly a worthy favourite as we stand.