Roudoudou Team Straight To Cheltenham

The progressive handicapper Roudoudou Ville will not be seen in action until the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March after connections decided against giving him a warm-up race ahead of a bid for the Byrne Group Festival Plate, writes Elliot Slater.

Trained by Victor Dartnall, Roudoudou Ville has made his way up the handicapping ranks from a lowly starting point at the beginning of last term and has continued to perform well in ever higher grade in two outings so far this term. After scoring at Wincanton last March off a mark of just 102 the French bred gelding followed up at Chepstow a fortnight later, romping away with a class 4 contest by some 15-lengths, a performance that saw him raised to a respectable mark of 132. Racing just one more time last term Dartnall’s charge ran well to be second to Door Boy at Perth in April before being given a summer break. Those looking at the latest Cheltenham betting odds will have marked him as one to watch.

Returning to the fray at Sandown in November the seven-year-old beat Midnight Appeal by a comfortable four-lengths before being asked to tackle the Grade 3 Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month where he really excelled, going four-lengths clear at the final fence in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season (off 145), only to be caught in the dying strides by AP McCoy on Quantitativeeasing and Robert Thornton on Medermit, eventually being beating just a length into third. Fans of Betfair Cheltenham races will have still been impressed.

Despite coming so close to a major prize Dartnall was still delighted with coming third and believes that on similarly decent ground at Cheltenham’s showcase fixture his horse has a serious chance of being in the money in the Festival Plate. Bookmakers agree and make the West Country chaser a 14/1 chance in the ante-post list to continue his rise up the chasing ladder.