Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024: Consider Ile Atlantique for the Ballymore

 | November 17 | 

3 mins read

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The latest addition to my 2024 Cheltenham Festival antepost book is yet another potential superstar for that man Willie Mullins.

After a mightily-impressive hurdling debut last weekend, I think the markets are seriously underestimating this exciting prospect.

Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024

  • Ile Atlantique @ 20/1 for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

I must admit, I didn't want to tip another novice this week. I've got four in the book already, and I'm wary of how quickly the landscape can change in those divisions.

However, as I've said before, this is the time to get such types onside. Before the real competitive racing begins, and the market finds the likely Festival winners.

It's been a successful approach so far, as all of my suggestions have shortened since I put them up - and I envisage a similar story unfolding with Ile Atlantique, who I'm backing at 20/1 for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

This five-year-old, who's always been held in very high regard at Closutton, boasts above-average bumper form and looks the type to reach new heights over obstacles.

I was very impressed with his debut over hurdles at Gowran Park last weekend. He went off 4/9f, but it wasn't a field full of no-hopers. He absolutely massacred his rivals - many of whom were race-fit. Devastating, is the word.

It wasn't just me that was extremely taken by the performance either. Paul Townend spoke glowingly about the gelding immediately after, and Patrick Mullins has been very complimentary since - while Willie was waxing lyrical about him in a recent stable tour.

"He put up a huge performance at Gowran on Saturday. I really did think it was a top performance. He's a real Graded performer and one for the Ballymore or Albert Bartlett."

Willie Mullins on Ile Atlantique

That leads me nicely onto why I'm betting on the Ballymore being his Festival target (if he gets there, of course) as opposed to the Albert Bartlett.

For me, a big part of antepost punting is thinking like a trainer. Where will this horse go next, and what does his subsequent route to Cheltenham look like?

In an ideal world, his early season target would be the G1 Lawlor's Of Naas in early January - traditionally a superb trial for the Ballymore in March - before a tilt at the G1 Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival a month later. That, or straight to Prestbury Park after winning the Lawlors, like Champ Kiely last term.

What could be crucial in regards to Ile Atlantique's target is the ground. Connections are on record saying he loves cut in the ground, which you're typically more likely to get in the first race on Wednesday than you are on Friday.

Obviously, like most antepost tips at this time of year, there's a fair bit of guesswork involved, but to put it bluntly I'll be gobsmacked if this horse is anywhere near this price in a couple of months' time - barring injury or confirmation of another target.

It's not often you can get such a price about a Willie Mullins-trained novice who won his maiden hurdle by a mere 18 lengths...

Stay tuned to Betfred Insights for more Cheltenham Tips as we build-up to the 2024 Festival

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