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Cheltenham Festival ante post tip: Templegate says Energumene can break rare Willie Mullins curse in Champion Chase

EVERY week, Sun Racing’s expert tipster will bring you his rundown of the ante post markets in the build-up to Cheltenham Festival.

Here, Steve Mullen – Templegate to you and me – runs through last weekend’s blockbuster action, and explains why he disagrees with Matt Chapman.

IT was a good weekend for a couple of my biggest Cheltenham Festival hopes — but I was only cheering one of them on.

Seeing FERNY HOLLOW perform so well on his chasing debut at Punchestown warmed the cockles. But it looks like he’ll be swerving the Champion Hurdle now so that could be one ante-post voucher down the pan.

He’s as short as 3-1 for the Arkle just behind stablemate Appreciate It who heads the betting at 5-2.

The best thing about Ferny Hollow’s performance was he showed the sort of pace that won him the 2020 Champion Bumper while his jumping was slick

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It’s easy to forget that he was coming back from just over a year off and has had just one run over hurdles. We’ll learn more as he’s likely to run at Leopardstown on December 26 when the standard of opposition will be a little higher.

The other Festival fancy to hit the headlines is ENERGUMENE who would surely have won the Tingle Creek at Sandown had he travelled instead of the disappointing Chacun Pour Soi.

He was sent off at 1-3 so the victory wasn’t unexpected but the way he swatted aside the likes of Notebook was impressive. It’s a slight worry that we have been here before with Willie Mullins runners in this race who have not backed it up at Cheltenham.

Chacun himself, Cilaos Emery and Un De Sceaux all won this before coming up short in the Champion Chase.

But it was impossible not to be hugely impressed and he has every chance of breaking that hoodoo, especially if Shiskin continues to have little niggles.

There was a tiny drift about Nicky Henderson’s stable star after his dirty scope was revealed and there is some 7-4 around now with the 11-4 about Energumene looking better value.

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As for the Tingle Creek, fair play to Greaneteen but he has a lot of improving to do before justifying his place as 6-1 third favourite for the Champion Chase.

Maybe Chacun Pour Soi just doesn’t like travelling because he’s been well beaten on both starts this side of the Irish Sea. He’s now 12s with Allaho just 8-1 in some places after his Grade 1 Punchestown Chase win on Sunday.

He won the Ryanair at last year’s Festival and that’s surely the target again. He’s just 5-2 to defend his title.

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