MARCUS TOWNEND: Five Cheltenham Festival rank outsiders who could outrun their odds – Daily Mail

By Marcus Townend for MailOnline


With less than a week to go until the start of Cheltenham Festival, pressure is mounting on the favourites to live up to their potential. 
But the festival is no stranger to an outsider claiming glory at the pinnacle of the National hunt racing calendar. 
Last year, Gordon Elliott-trained Commander Of Fleet swiped the Coral Cup despite being priced at 50/1. 
The 1990 victory of 100/1 Norton’s Coin besting the legendary Desert Orchid in the Gold Cup will also loom large in the mind of any punter looking to back a high-priced horse.  
With upsets in mind, Marcus Townend shares his thoughts on the rank outsiders that could yet knock the favourites out of competition. 
First Street pictured triumphing at Newbury
FIRST STREET (Champion Hurdle – Tuesday) – Paddy Power odds: 66-1
Let’s face it, the majority of the field will be running for places if Constitution Hill and State Man both line up and you could throw a few into the ring to tussle for scraps. 
First Street wouldn’t be a pick on his last start when a well-beaten third to I Like To Move It in the Kingwell Hurdle but that run looked too bad to be true and if trainer Nicky Henderson decides to run in the Champion Hurdle it would suggest he thinks that too. 
First Street has pace and that makes him a player to at least pick up the pieces on his better form.
FUNAMBULE SIVOLA (Queen Mother Champion Chase – Wednesday) – Paddy Power odds: 33-1
This race on day two is run on Cheltenham’s Old Course and the emphasis is on speed. Trainer Venetia Williams reckons this gelding is one of the fastest horses she has ever trained so that makes him ideal for the contest. Remember he finished second in it last season.
Funambule Sivola (pictured in 2021) was beaten by Energumene in the same race last season
He’s in good form having won the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury last month. It’s a stretch to see him winning the race but another place finish would be no surprise,
SUMMERVILLE BOY (Coral Cup – Wednesday or Stayers’ Hurdle Thursday) – Paddy Power odds: 33-1 (CC) & 66-1 (SH)
The horses for courses system certainly makes this one worth a second look. His eight course starts include a win in the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle plus a couple of second places and a third. Summerville Boy is in the veteran stage of his career now but interestingly he has been switched from the Tom George stable to Henry de Bromhead in Ireland.
Summerville Boy has run twice for his new yard showing a bit of promise. He has dropped significantly in the handicap and that would be important if he takes the Coral Cup route.
Henry de Bromhead saddled 18 winners at Cheltenham last year and has recently taken over Summerville Boy from the Tom George stable
JUPITER DU GITE (Triumph Hurdle – Friday) – Paddy Power odds: 40-1
Looked potentially very exciting with a wide-margin win at Newbury on his British debut before rather blowing his top when running himself into the ground on Cheltenham Trials day.
Jupiter Du Gite may be far from straightforward but could prove a lively outside at Cheltenham
Obviously there massive question marks about him now and trainer Gary Moore is on record as saying this gelding is far from straightforward. But Moore is also very hopeful that this longshot can be more settled on the evidence he has seen at home. If he is right, Jupiter Du Gite cannot be written off and could be a lively outsider.
SOUNDS RUSSIAN (Gold Cup – Friday) – Paddy Power odds: 20-1
Sounds Russian is still has the potential to improve and will be looking for a Gold Cup upset
At eight years old there is still potential improvement in this Ruth Jefferson-trained hope whose form has been on an upward trajectory all season. He has to improve again but this three and a quarter mile trip is right up his street.
He finished with real purpose when second to Ahoy Senor in the Cotswold Chase on trials day in January and that was despite absolutely thumping the fourth last fence. That mistake should elevate what he managed to achieve on that run.
Galopin Des Champs – 6/4
Bravemansgame – 11/2
A Plus Tard – 15/2
Noble Yeats – 8/1
Stattler – 8/1
Shishkin – 10/1
Protektorat – 10/1
Conflated – 12/1
Ahoy Senor -14/1
Sounds Russian – 20/1
Minella Indo – 20/1
Hewick – 20/1
The Real Whacker – 33/1
Capodanno – 33/1
Fury Road – 33/1
Royale Pagaille – 40/1
Envoi Allen – 66/1
Eldorado Allen – 66/1
Galvin – 66/1
Ga Law – 100/1
Franco de Port – 100/1
Angels Breath – 150/1
Coole Cody – 250/1
*Odds provided by Paddy Power 
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