Acambo all the rage for Trophy

ACAMBO must shoulder top weight as he bids to book his ticket for the Cheltenham Festival in tomorrow’s totesport Trophy.

Trainer David Pipe is angling towards the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle with his six-year-old, who is due to carry 11st 12lb in the Newbury feature.

Acambo won The Ladbroke at Ascot last time and Pipe is looking for a good performance if he is to justify his Cheltenham entry.

“He’s very well, he put up a good performance at Ascot and he’s got to do it with top weight,” Pipe told At The Races.

“We are thinking about the Champion Hurdle so he’s got to run a good race on Saturday.”

Acambo was the ante-post favourite for the £150,000 contest and Coral reported some heavy support for the grey gelding on Thursday – with one bet of £10,000 at 4-1 by a telephone client prompting the firm to cut his odds to 7-2.

“We already have severe liabilities on Acambo and as he is certain to attract huge betting shop support on Saturday, he could well cost bookies over £3m if he lands the gamble”, said spokesman Simon Clare.

Acambo is one of three runners for Pipe, who also sends Bongo Fury and My Immortal.

A strong Irish challenge is assured with Willie Mullins’ Mister Hight and Quatre Heures leading the charge.

The pair finished second and ninth respectively in the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown last time, with Mister Hight running an eyecatching race under top weight.

However, Quatre Heures was having his first start of the campaign that day and is the choice of Ruby Walsh.

Robert Thornton has been booked to ride Mister Hight.

“They are both on their way there now – the weather hasn’t caused any problems with the travel,” said Mullins.

“The pair of them are open to improvement so we are hoping for a good run.

“Quatre Heures was a Grade One winner at Punchestown last year but it’s probably just hard for a horse with his weight to win – he went well in the Pierse though, as did Mister Hight too.”

That Walsh rides Mister Hight prompted the sponsors to trim him to 11-1 from 12-1, while Acambo remains their market leader.

Totesport spokesman Damian Walker said: “Acambo was a 6-1 chance when we opened betting on January 18 and at the time we thought that price was short enough.

“But punters have piled on David Pipe’s progressive hurdler and he is a 7-2 shot now despite finding himself at the top of the weights.

“Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride Quatre Heures over Mister Hight, so we have trimmed Quatre Heures to 11-1 from 12-1.”

Nicky Henderson will be triple-handed in the 21-runner event with Tarlac, Papini and Caracciola all taking their chances, while champion trainer Paul Nicholls relies on Pirate Flagship.

William Hill Handicap Hurdle winner Overstrand bids to add to his haul for trainer Dr Richard Newland.

Pedrobob, Victram, Moore’s Law and New Field also make the trip across the Irish Sea.

Totesport Trophy:

Sponsors bet: 7-2 Acambo, 13-2 Tarlac, 10-1 Pedrobob, 11-1 Papini, Quatre Heures, 12-1 Mister Hight, 14-1 Caracciola, 16-1 Moore’s Law, My Immortal, New Field, 20-1 Private Be, Victram, 25-1 bar.

Coral bet: 7-2 Acambo, 7-1 Tarlac, 10-1 Papini, Pedrobob, Quatre Heures, 12-1 Caracciola, Mister Hight, New Field, 14-1 Moore’s Law, 16-1 My Immortal, Victram, 18-1 Overstrand, 25-1 bar.

Ladbrokes bet: 7-2 Acambo, 7-1 Tarlac, 10-1 Papini, Pedrobob, 12-1 Caracciola, Mister Hight, New Field, 14-1 Moore’s Law, Quatre Heures, 16-1 My Immortal, 20-1 Bar.

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