Upping The Ante: Champion Hurdle third place ‘up for grabs’

The latest episode of the Racing Post’s Upping The Ante, in association with bet365, sees David Jennings and Johnny Dineen return to answer questions ahead to the action at Sandown this week and Cheltenham.

Delving on who they believe will get the 1-2-3s for the championship races at Cheltenham Festival 2023, the duo started off with the Champion Hurdle

Dineen noted that the 1-2 is ‘pretty obvious’ with Constitutional Hill and State Man respectively and the third place being ‘up for grabs’.

On the third place finish, Dineen said: “I’ll give it to I Like To Move It. I was thinking about backing I Like To Move It in a match against Vauban but I shelved that idea because of the way he’s been ridden at the back so the best effect is to pick up third place. 

“So I’ll go with I Like To Move It for third place but I won’t be surprised if he’s not.”

Off the back of Dineen, Jennings stated that Vauban would be third ‘at worst’. He explained: Even if State Men and Constitutional Hill go at it down the hill, he could be the one to pick up the pieces and get second.”

Moving over to the Champions Chase, Jennings believes the 1-2-3 places will go to Edwardstone, Energumene and Nuba Negra, respectively, Dineen shuffles those for his picks going Energumene, Edwardstone and Nuba Negra, respectively. 

“Nuba Negra is a horse that can do pieces because there will be a bit of a burn up and I can see the ones up there fizzling out and he could grow,” stated Dineen. 

The show also went on to reveal both Jennings and Dineen’s Performance and Eyecatcher of the week, a further insight into Cheltenham Festival as the clock ticks ever closer to the start of the event and rounded off with the staple Ante-post picks.