It was certainly an informative weekend on the big race Jumps scene as the results from both Haydock Park and Ascot have now made a significant impact on the antepost markets.
At Ascot the mighty Altior was finally dethroned by Cyrname in the Christy 1965 Chase while at Haydock, Lostintranslation confirmed his massive potential by taking the 15th running of the Betfair Chase.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the antepost markets that were directly impacted by the weekend’s results and make a few assessments on how both races are shaping up.
King George VI Chase (Boxing Day)
Cyrname brought Altior’s amazing 19-race unbeaten run to an end on Saturday afternoon and the pair are likely to lock horns again in the Christmas showpiece at Kempton.
Cyrname now heads our King George market as a 5/2 shot in the horse racing betting, while we make Altior a 7/1 chance on the back of that Ascot result.
Rated the highest ranked chaser in the UK, Cyrname always appeared to have the advantage over Altior during the entirety of the 2m 5f Ascot contest and he pulled two and a quarter lengths clear of him in the end.
The race was Altior’s first start beyond two and a quarter miles but he never looked quite at home in the testing going and it’s possible to make excuses for him on that basis alone.
His trainer, Nicky Henderson, is convinced that Altior can step up to the three mile trip in the King George and has no qualms about taking on Cyrname again, however if the ground came up heavy the Seven Barrows team would seriously reconsider their options.
Jumping right into the King George picture and gaining a quote from us for 3/1 is the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation.
The seven-year-old confirmed that his breathtaking display of jumping in the Colin Parker Memorial at Carlisle was no fluke by reeling in the course-specialist Bristol De Mai in the final stages of the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The race was the first leg of the rather lucrative Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown which yields a £1million cash bonus should it be landed.
Colin Tizzard came agonisingly close to completing it once before with Cue Card so he certainly knows what calibre of horse is required to complete all three legs.
Speaking after the Haydock feature, Tizzard said: "The plan at the start of the season was to have a prep race, then come for this and to have a go at the £1million bonus, so he'll go for the King George next.
"Whether we need to run him between the King George and Cheltenham, we don't know yet - we want to go for the Gold Cup.
"Kempton is the plan, definitely - it may suit him more. He's won here today and done it well against Bristol De Mai. It's only two years ago he beat Cue Card by 57 lengths, so this is his track.
"Our horse has got the pace and he can jump and we've seen today he can grind it out on good to soft ground - this horse has got everything."
Although not specifically at the weekend, but just a few days ago, the Willie Mullins-trained Footpad let us all know that he is still a force to be reckoned with when he landed the Boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles.
Thursday’s contest was a real boost for the former Arkle winner after a spell in the doldrums last season which followed a stellar novice campaign.
Anthony Bromley, who represents Footpad’s owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede said after the victory: "It was a great thrill to see him bounce back to something like his old self - he really looked a happy horse.
"Daryl (Jacob) was very happy with him. He's a horse we won't be rushing back for something like the John Durkan at Punchestown , and we will look at running him over Christmas - either in the King George or the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.
"We'll aim at one of those. It was never the plan to rush him back."
Here at 888sport, we make Footpad a 12/1 chance to take home the Kempton silverware.
Cheltenham Gold Cup (March 2020)
Naturally Lostintranslation’s win in the Betfair Chase well and truly shook up the antepost Gold Cup market too and he has now been installed as our 4/1 favourite for the blue-riband event next March.
Those of you that have been watching horse racing in the UK in recent times will know that is a fairly reasonable price given his recent achievements.
Bristol De Mai, unbeaten in four previous visits to Haydock, put up a stern defence of his crown but Lostintranslation, the other 5/4 joint-favourite, tracked him all the way down the home straight to then overhaul him after the last fence and firmly put himself in the Gold Cup picture.
Robbie Power, who has won a Gold Cup himself on Sizing John, said after the Betfair Chase: "It's no secret how much we thought of this horse. Today was D-Day - he was stepping into the big boys' league.
"They don't come much bigger than Bristol De Mai round Haydock, so we were going to find out plenty about his Gold Cup credentials. The horse has done the talking and has answered them all.
"I couldn't believe how well he was travelling. He was in his comfort zone the whole way. He's had a tough race, but it's six weeks to the King George which is probably ideal. He'll be freshened up and he's only seven, so roll on Kempton.
"Sizing John was a good jumper. They don't come better than him, but this horse has a lot of similarities in that he jumps well and has a great cruising speed.
"Those are the two main attributes you need for a Gold Cup contender."
After winning the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree back in April, Lostintranslation was a general 12/1 chance for the Gold Cup.
Then after scoring on his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle he became an 8/1 chance and now after taking the Betfair he sits at the top of the tree at 4/1.
Will the new Colin Tizzard superstar be on your antepost Christmas wish list?