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Horse racing punters had their Festival preparations side-tracked by the shock news that Top Notch had been ruled out of the Ryanair Chase on Thursday.

Star trainer Nicky Henderson spoke to the media a week before the off to tell those with their ear to the ground that the progressive seven-year-old wouldn’t be at Prestbury Park to contest the 2m 5f grade one National Hunt Chase as expected.

Top Notch – boasting career stats of 10 wins and seven places from 20 outings – was last seen finishing fourth in a warm-up race at Ascot in February over the same trip, ending behind Waiting Patiently. A couple of early errors seemed to put a line through his chances but traders hadn’t overreacted to the bare result, making the bay gelding a 7/1 shot, included in the top-five of the betting.

Henderson and the team were in a less forgiving mood, however, pulling him from this year’s festival as a precaution, unimpressed by that Ascot effort. It was also reported that the horse hadn’t been his self in training and handlers were eager to get to the bottom of the problem away from the crowds and media spotlight.

That blows a hole in the ante-post Cheltenham tips for the Ryanair, and Betfair now have Un De Sceaux as a convincing 13/8 favourite ahead of Waiting Patiently at 3/1. The former, trained by Willie Mullins, has won 15 of his 20 competitive outings, having finished outside of the top-three only twice in his career.

The 10-year-old was last seen boosting his stock when scooping the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January. Going off as a convincing 4/9 favourite, Paul Townend’s mount more than lived up to the hype when trotting home a full seven lengths ahead of nearest finisher Speredek under Sean Bowen.

Un De Sceaux has run at Prestbury Park four times already during his five-year career, winning three and finishing second in the spare. Victory in the Arkle kicked things off back in 2015 when delighting favourite-backers at short odds. He was then runner-up behind Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase two years ago, again a hot-fav, before returning to the winner’s enclosure for the Clarence House Chase last year and Ryanair 12 months ago.

Followers who enjoy keeping Un De Sceaux close know they don’t often get a chance to back their representative at decent numbers and a look through the Cheltenham 2018 betting odds suggest this year will be no different, due to the weakened field.

Article Posted on Thursday 8th March 2018 @ 16.50

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Starting Gate

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leicester23-09-19 British Stallion Studs EBF Kegworth Novice Stakes (Plus 10) 7f - £6469 - Good to firm-good in places

1 Dulas6/1

2 Highest Ground4/1

3 Law Of Peace4/5

4 Macho Boy14/1

5 Mostaqel7/1

6 Real Poet25/1

7 Son Of Red50/1

8 Tiger Zone50/1

9 Trumpets Call33/1

10 Well Prepared14/1

11 Zambezi Magic16/1

hamilton23-09-19 Lanarkshire Chamber Of Commerce EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10) 6f 6y - £5434 - Soft-good to soft in places (prec inspection 7am)

1 Glasvegas6/4

2 Lampang8/11

3 Full House33/1

4 Funky Dunky16/1

5 Jungle Rock100/1

6 Leoch15/2

7 The Tripple T14/1

8 Garnock Valley100/1

9 Klara Spirit150/1

10 Krystal Crown50/1

warwick23-09-19 Warwick Racecourse Welcomes Racing TV Members Novices' Hurdle2m 5f - £4549 - Good-good to firm in places

1 Bbold10/11

2 Monkey Puzzle5/2

3 Bullsempire40/1

4 Cronins Hill20/1

5 Len Brennan5/1

6 Troy Dee Knee100/1

7 Mac Amara7/1

8 Net Love20/1

9 Numberonebeaubow100/1

leicester23-09-19 Aston Flamville Fillies' Nursery 6f - £3493 - Good to firm-good in places

1 Charming Spirit4/1

2 Go Well Spicy11/2

3 Ruby Power7/2

4 Bella Brazil14/1

5 I Had A Dream9/1

6 Ebony Adams10/1

7 Come On Girl7/1

8 Prissy Missy6/1

9 Clever Candy25/1

10 Maisie Ellie33/1

11 Rusalka8/1

hamilton23-09-19 Randstad Recruitment And Paystream Handicap 6f 6y - £3493 - Soft-good to soft in places (prec inspection 7am)

1 Fumbo Jumbo8/1

2 I Know How7/2

3 Lucky Beggar16/1

4 Avenue Of Stars7/2

5 Guardia Svizzera9/2

6 Shortbackandsides20/1

7 Forever A Lady16/1

8 Kodicat13/2

9 Naples Bay14/1

10 Carlovian13/2

11 Newstead Abbey40/1

12 Gilmer20/1

warwick23-09-19 Racing TV Club Day Today Novices' Handicap Chase3m - £5198 - Good-good to firm in places

1 Kapgarry13/2

2 Templepark7/2

3 Manofthemountain2/1

4 Royal Hall9/1

5 Heart Of Kernow25/1

6 Anteros5/1

7 Ballygown Bay7/1

8 Primal Focus10/1

9 Perpignan25/1

leicester23-09-19 Join Racing TV Now Selling Stakes 7f - £3493 - Good to firm-good in places

1 Balata Bay3/1

2 House Deposit3/1

3 Max Guevara10/1

4 Knockabout Queen4/1

5 Al Suil Eile10/3

6 Jean Valjean11/2

7 The Grey Goat50/1

8 Harbour Times25/1

9 Melo Pearl25/1

10 Secret Magic66/1

11 Society Sweetheart66/1

fairyhouse23-09-19 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Claiming Race (Plus 10) 7f - £11820 - Good

1 Grey Serge6/1

2 Chrysalism5/1

3 Talking Tough25/1

4 Capelli Rossi66/1

5 Kenshibu9/1

6 Borelli12/1

7 Eclector8/1

8 Be Like The Bird8/1

9 Impetuous66/1

10 Vormir10/11

Latest Results

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HamiltonRacing TV HD On Sky 426 Handicap

15Art Of Diplomacy10/1
21Funny Man15/8
34George Mallory4/1
Winning TrainerM W Easterby
Winning JockeyNathan Evans
Runners8 ran
Distances1 1/2 length, 1 3/4 length
Tote Win£11.70
Pl£3.20, £1.10, £1.80
EX£42.80
Trifecta£340.00
CSF£30.13
StatusWeighedIn

PlumptonCore Spreads Handicap Hurdle

16Magen's Moon28/1
22Glendun5/1
37Musical Stardust4/1 jf
Winning TrainerP York
Winning JockeyMr P York
Runners14 ran
Distances2 lengths, 2 1/2 lengths
Tote Win£36.70
Pl£9.80, £2.30, £2.10
EX£395.50
Trifecta£2101.60
CSF£170.71
StatusWeighedIn

HamiltonSodexo Handicap

19Chica Buena1/2 f
210Frightened Rabbit20/1
35General Brook10/1
Winning TrainerK Dalgleish
Winning JockeyG Lee
Runners11 ran
Distances2 1/4 lengths, 3/4 length
Tote Win£1.60
Pl£1.10, £3.10, £3.20
EX£17.70
Trifecta£106.90
CSF£19.16
StatusWeighedIn

PlumptonCore Spreads Novices' Handicap Chase

18Noble Saffron20/1
23Torhousemuir7/2
32Goldslinger7/2 jf
Winning TrainerD G Bridgwater
Winning JockeyBrendan Powell
Runners8 ran
Distances2 3/4 lengths, 9 lengths
Tote Win£27.10
Pl£5.90, £2.00, £1.70
EX£123.60
Trifecta£490.80
CSF£92.22
StatusWeighedIn

HamiltonSodexo Fillies' Handicap

14Welcoming9/1
23Sarvi11/4
38Iconic Code12/1
Winning TrainerM Johnston
Winning JockeyJ Fanning
Runners9 ran
Distances2 1/4 lengths, Neck
Tote Win£7.90
Pl£2.80, £1.60, £3.40
EX£45.60
Trifecta£639.90
CSF£33.84
StatusWeighedIn

PlumptonFriends & Family Remembering Norman Sharpe Handicap Hurdle

12Young Wolf6/4 f
21Sizing Granite9/4
33Glanvilles Guest3/1
Winning TrainerJonjo O'Neill
Winning JockeyJonjo O'Neill Jr.
Runners4 ran
Distances2 1/4 lengths, 13 lengths
Tote Win£1.80
Pl
EX£5.70
Trifecta£9.30
CSF£5.33
StatusWeighedIn

HamiltonApex Traffic Management Novice Stakes

13Modakhar5/4
21Roman Stone10/11
32Bashful Boy7/1
Winning TrainerK R Burke
Winning JockeyB A Curtis
Runners3 ran
Distances3 3/4 lengths, 3 1/2 lengths
Tote Win£2.10
Pl
EX£2.90
Trifecta£2.40
CSF£2.84
StatusWeighedIn

PlumptonCore Spreads Juvenile Hurdle

15Limelighter20/1
21Brambledown14/1
32Catch The Cuban9/2
Winning TrainerMiss S West
Winning JockeyM Goldstein
Runners8 ran
Distances1 1/2 length, 1 1/2 length
Tote Win£23.20
Pl£3.80, £1.90, £1.80
EX£128.20
Trifecta£1243.40
CSF£247.48
StatusWeighedIn