Is Footpad the banker of the Festival?

Photo Credit:  FOOTPAD PICTURED WITH PAUL TOWEND AT LEOPARDSTOWN RACECOURSE

The Cheltenham festival is now just weeks away and Willie Mullins looks set to have another horse that’s ‘Banker’ material going in. That would be his superstar novice chaser, Footpad, who again put in a faultless round of jumping to establish himself as one of the most exciting horses running this year. Footpad is a top hurdler that landed a fourth-place finish in the 2017 Champion Hurdle, but his key asset looks to be his pin point jumping that has so far made him almost untouchable in the novice ranks.

The hype surrounding this horse was evident early on, Mullins himself said he has never had a novice chaser that jumps so well. Ever since his debut, his price for the Arkle has continued to collapse every time he runs. The latest Cheltenham betting at Betfair has Footpad as the best priced even money favourite, which is sure to start the Mullins yard off well on what promises to be a highly successful festival.

Recently, Footpad went into the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle at Leopardstown as the 4/9 favourite to make his last prep before Cheltenham a winning one. However, his main market rival, Petit Mouchoir, was returning from a 108 day layoff. Mouchoir had previously beaten Footpad on several occasions over the smaller obstacles but the break proved detrimental as Footpad completely dominated the race. He clipped the final fence as his only blemish but won with ease barely having to come off the bridle as he again stamped his mark ahead of the festival. Petit Mouchoir came second.

The latest Cheltenham betting tips seem to have Footpad as one of the stars, set to get punters off to a winner come March: and if he continues to jump at the level he has all year, he might just be invincible given he looks a level above any of his rivals. Footpad’s main danger for Cheltenham looks to be Petit Mouchoir again who will be looking to improve upon his 5 length defeat. This is entirely possible following his comeback run but whether that will be enough to trouble the Mullins horse is doubtful. Betfair currently make Petit Mouchoir their joint second favourite at 6/1 with Sceau Royal who is owned by the same connections as Footpad; Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

While Footpad is just a six-year-old, the horse has had a lot of experience having made 18 starts under rules, and is expected to improve even further. One thing that has been apparent throughout his racing career is his consistency as he has now improved his best RPR to 170. This is further backed up by the fact he has now only failed to come out of the top 3 on two of his last 10 starts. With consistency assured, a highly progressive profile, festival form and faultless jumping, Footpad would have to go down on many people’s lists as a banker come the Arkle on day one of the Cheltenham festival.

 

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