Cheltenham Festival Day 4, Friday Preview and Tips 2014

Jason BrautigamWith over 20 years of experience in horseracing, Jason Brautigam has worked on both the racecourse and betting side of the industry. Following six years as Head of Marketing for Ascot Racecourse, he held various commercial positions at the Tote, where he was ultimately responsible for running their racecourse division. A keen punter and racing blogger himself, Jason now works as a freelance marketing communications consultant.

 

“We have had a good week with our tips to date, with six of the main selections winning (at 7/2, 10/1, 8/11, 6/4, 11/4 and 4/1) and three next best tips coming in (at odds of 8/1, 7/1 and 15/2).  Other races included four seconds (at 7/2, 13/2, 8/1 and 13/2), as well as three thirds, so you would be well ahead if following our advice so far.”

1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle

The final day of Cheltenham 2014 kicks off with what is traditionally one of the most competitive novice events at the Festival.  Only one favourite has won this race in the last ten years, although all bar two were priced in single figures.

The market this year is headed by the Paul Nicholls trained CALIPTO, a French recruit that has done nothing wrong on his two starts in the UK to date, winning both novice hurdles at Newbury in fine style.  Paul Nicholls has won this race twice since 2008 with Celestial Halo and Zarkandar, so his chances obviously have to be respected.

Trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty are also seeking a hat trick in the Triumph after scoring back-to-back victories with Zaynar and Soldatino in 2010 and 2011.  They team up with Royal Irish Hassar, winner of his first three hurdle races including a Triumph trial here in November.  However, he has not been seen back on the track in this calendar year.

A total of 17 of the last 20 Triumph victors had won at least two races over hurdles, including last time out, so solid winning form is essential.  That would discount John Ferguson’s Broughton, who has had only two runs so far, his maiden success coming last time out in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle trial at Musselbugh.  Tiger Roll has also had just the two runs and one win for Gordon Elliott.

Despite the impressive success of Our Conor last year, this has not been the luckiest races for the Irish, with only eight placed horses out of 60 runners in the last decade. Guitar Pete remains one for the shortlist nevertheless; he has won four of his six hurdle starts to date, including a Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.

And of course given the scintillating form of Willie Mullins’ novices so far this week it would be foolish to discount the chances of Adriana Des Mottes and Abbysial, with the latter on a four timer after accounting for his stablemate in a Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse last month.

Selection: Calipto 4/1 with bet365

Next Best: Royal Irish Hassar 9/1 with Ladbrokes

2.05pm Vincent OBrien County Handicap Hurdle

The County Hurdle used to close the meeting when it was run as a three-day Festival, earning its reputation as the most devilish of ‘getting out stakes’.  Now run as the second race on the Friday, finding the winner is still no easier!  However, you can forget any contender carrying 11st 1lb or more as no horse has landed the County Hurdle with a heavier weight in the last ten years.

The stats would therefore be against the chances of top weight Diakali, Flaxen Flare and Cinders and Ashes, despite this trio having the best form in the book.

Winner of Grade One contests at the 2013 Punchestown Festival and in France in the summer, Diakali finished third in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse behind Champion Hurdle winner Jezki in December, which obviously now reads very well.  Last season’s Triumph Hurdle fourth would therefore have sound claims, but the weight may just tell.

Flaxen Flare has only once finished outside the first four over hurdles and is already a Festival winner after taking the Fred Winter here last year.  Likewise, Cinders and Ashes landed the Supreme Novices Hurdle in fine style at the 2012 Festival, but has not been seen on track since being pulled up in last year’s Champion Hurdle.

The Irish always have to be feared in the County Hurdle as they have won six of the last seven renewals.  Diakali’s stablemate Arctic Fire, the chosen mount of Ruby Walsh, will be high on many shortlists after running with credit in two Grade One contests recently, but is comparatively inexperienced with only four hurdle runs to date.

Another Irish challenger Never Enough Time comes here in great heart, landing two competitive handicap hurdles in convincing fashion this winter, although of JP McManus’s four contenders AP McCoy has elected to ride Minella Foru for trainer Edward Harty.

Saturday’s Sandown scorer Baltimore Rock unfortunately missed the cut for this race, but Cheltenian is still set to carry the owner’s silks in the race for trainer Philip Hobbs and has an obvious chance based on his win in the Champion Bumper at the 2011 Festival.  Lightly raced since, he only scored his first success over hurdles in December at Uttoxeter.  The eight year old wouldn’t fit the typical profile of a County Hurdle winner, but is nevertheless respected.

Younger horses tend to fare better, with eight 5 year olds successful in the last 15 runnings, which would include Diakali, Flaxen Flare, Arctic Fire, Minella Foru and Lac Fontana.  Last year’s Triumph Hurdle eighth Lac Fontana is an interesting contender, winning two of his three races here at Cheltenham this season, including a five length victory at the end of January.Eight of the last ten winners were second season hurdlers, another positive for Lac Fontana, Flaxen Flare and Diakali, but with a decent enough weight of 10st 11lb preference is for the Paul Nicholls’ trained runner.

Selection: Lac Fontana 12/1 with Paddy Power

Next Best: Cheltenian 9/1 with William Hill

 

 

2.40pm  Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

There have been some top class novice hurdles already this week and, like Tuesday’s Supreme, this one sets up another mouth-watering clash between the UK and Ireland, with Kings Palace set to take on the hot Willie Mullins trained favourite BRIAR HILL.  Four favourites have won this in the last eight years, with only one winner bigger than 9/1, so the market is traditionally a good guide.

It’s hard to split the front pair on form, with both horses unbeaten this season in scoring a hat trick of victories apiece.  There’s no doubt that David Pipe’s gelding is a very exciting prospect and his devastating 14 length victory at Cheltenham in December made a big impression.  If he lives up to that promise he could take all the beating.

Briar Hill may prove a tough nut to crack, however, and remains unbeaten under rules – including a win in the Champion Bumper here last season.  With that race providing future Festival winners in Cue Card and Champagne Fever in recent years there are big hopes that Briar Hill could prove to be top class as well.

Willie Mullins has already landed two novice hurdles this week in impressive style with Vautour and Faugheen, both tipped up here, so we have to stick with Briar Hill as the Irish maestro thinks this could be the best of the trio.

Captain Cutter runs here instead of the Neptune due to the drying ground, and Nicky Henderson has admitted that his horse is up against it here.  He retained his 100% record over the smaller obstacles after landing the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury and deserves his place in the line-up.

Selection: Briar Hill 13/8 with Betvictor

Next Best: Kings Palace 7/2 with Ladbrokes

 

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3.20pm Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

With former Gold Cup winner Long Run being aimed at the Grand National, plus last year’s runner up Sir Des Champs and Arkle winner Simonsig both missing this season due to injury, the Blue Riband event of the Festival lacks a bit of its usual lustre.  Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card was withdrawn due to a stress fracture last month and another blow came this week when it was announced that Captain Chris would also be forced to miss the race.

However, BOBS WORTH returns to defend his crown and is entitled to be a short priced favourite in his bid for back-to-back victories.  He put a disappointing reappearance in the Betfair Chase behind him when landing the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas in pulsating fashion.  Unbeaten in five starts at Cheltenham, three of those victories coming at the Festival, Bobs Worth has never been headed when hitting the front.  Anything close to last year’s performance would surely be good enough again.

His chief rival is King George winner Silviniaco Conti, who fell in the race last year when a well fancied second favourite.  He subsequently failed to fire when third in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree and could only fill the same spot in the Betfair Chase, but made amends in no uncertain fashion at Kempton, landing the King George by three and a half lengths, turning the tables on his Haydock conqueror Cue Card.

Irish hopes are represented by Last Instalment and First Lieutenant who both run in the Gigginstown colours carried to success in the Gold Cup by War Of Attrition in 2009.  Last Instalment returned to the track after a two year absence to score in scintillating fashion in the Grade One Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown, beating Tidal Bay by eight and a half lengths. However, that was on soft to heavy going and the faster ground will not be in his favour.

 

First Lieutenant has finished runner-up at the last two Festivals, behind Bobs Worth in the 2012 RSA Chase and beaten nine lengths by Cue Card in the 2013 Ryanair Chase.  He then went on to land the Grade One Betfred Bowl at Aintree.  Another without a win so far this season, although a narrow second behind Bobs Worth in the Lexus Chase reads very well and the former Neptune Novices’ Hurdle winner does seem to come into his own at this time of year.

Others to consider include Newbury’s Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene, also saddled by Bobs Worth’s handler Nicky Henderson, and On His Own, who has looked better than ever in landing the Thyestes and Bobbyjo Chase.  This pair (along with 2012 National Hunt Chase winner Teaforthree) were originally being aimed at the Grand National, so the Gold Cup was not their main target.   Nevertheless, all three horses are capable of making the frame at a decent price.

Selection: Bobs Worth 7/1 with Paddy Power, 2/1 with Coral

Next Best: Silviniaco Conti 7/2 with Paddy Power

 

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4.00pm CGA Foxhunter Chase 

There is no Salsify this year, so in the absence of the dual Foxhunters winner this race looks a little more open than it would otherwise have been.  The betting is headed by another Irish challenger, ON THE FRINGE, trained by Enda Bolger and due to be ridden by Nina Carberry.  Winner of the Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown at the end of last season, he has obvious claims here, despite being beaten by Tammy’s Hill on his last run.

Harbour Court is unlucky not to be unbeaten in three starts under rules after unseating his rider last time out at Kelso.  However, he looks a little inexperienced for the hustle and bustle of this race and his jumping could come under question again.  There has to be no unluckier horse than Oscar Delta though, who was agonisingly denied success in this race last year when unshipping Jane Mangan after the last with the pair well clear.

Pearlysteps was a useful chaser in his day without being top class, finishing seventh in the 2011 National Hunt Chase at the Festival.  Now a veteran, he has won his first two hunter chase outings in decent style, beating Made In Time last time out at Ludlow.  Rebecca Curtis’s horse won a fortnight later, so that form looks solid enough, and Pearlysteps’ jockey Ollie Greenall previously won the Foxhunters on Amicelli in 2008.

On the negative side, 21 of the last 25 winners of this race were aged 10 or younger, with 22 of them coming from a traditional point to point / hunter chase background (although 19 of the last 20 winners had previously won under rules).

This race is one where it has paid to pick an outsider, with two winners at 33/1 and two at 20/1 in the last eight years. Therefore it may be worth taking on the market leaders and looking for some each way value.  Certain Flight and That’s Rhythm have also been in good heart in similar events recently, both remaining unbeaten this season.

Selection: On The Fringe 4/1 with Stan James

Next Best: Certain Flight 22/1 with Paddy Power

 

4.40pm Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

The penultimate contest, run for conditional jockeys, is one that has been a bookmaker’s benefit so far, with only Sir Des Champs justifying favouritism in the five runnings to date.  The other winners have all been priced between 14/1 and 25/1 so again it has been fiendishly difficult to pinpoint the winner.

Trainer David Pipe has yet to win the race bearing his famous father’s name despite fielding a strong challenge annually.  He saddles the favourite once again with VIEUX LION ROUGE, who quite possibly represents his best chance yet in the race and it’s notable that he is Pipe’s only representative this year.  Winner of six of his seven races under rules, he has looked very progressive in landing a hat trick of victories this season and should run well.

Nicky Henderson was successful in the inaugural running of this race with Andytown in 2009 and his Full Shift will be ridden by Nico de Boinville, who won the Coral Cup for the trainer on Whisper earlier this week.  Better each way value might be represented by his stablemate Une Artiste, who won the Fred Winter at the Festival in 2012.  This likeable mare has only been out of the first two on five of her last 17 starts, winning ten races in the process.

Willie Mullins had several declared at the five day stage, but has decided to rely on the unexposed Don Poli, a French recruit who has won two of his three outings since joining the all-conquering Irish stable.

You want to pick a five or six year old in this race, as they have won all five renewals and accounted for eight of the placed horses.  All winners were also within eight pounds of the top weight, carrying 11st 2lb or more.

Selection: Vieux Lion Rouge 15/2 with Paddy Power

Next Best: Une Artiste 25/1 with Bet365

 

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5.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual

The curtain falls on a veritable feast of punting with the now-traditional last race of the Festival, the Grand Annual.  Just as David Pipe wants to win the race name in his Dad’s honour, so Nicky Henderson likes to aim a few bullets at the Grand Annual.  He has won the race twice in the last ten years, with Greenhope in 2006 and Bellvano in 2012, and this year saddles three Festival veterans, Tanks For That, French Opera and Anquetta, who have all finished placed in the Grand Annual before.

Ted Veale ran in the Arkle instead of this and was subsequently replaced as favourite by NEXT SENSATION, who makes plenty of appeal after winning three of his last four starts for trainer Michael Scudamore.  The latest 9lb rise may not be enough to stop this game front-runner.  Jockey Richard Johnson is enjoying a tremendous week with two winners so far.

All of the last ten winners have carried 10st 13lb or less to victory, so this is another race where it pays to stick with horses at the bottom end of the handicap.  The JP McManus owned Ned Buntline falls into that category.  Never out of the first three in eight starts, he split Champion Hurdle winner Jezki and Champion Bumper winner Silver Concorde on his racecourse debut in January 2012, form that now looks very good indeed!

JP McManus also has Eastlake for Jonjo O’Neill, winner of a competitive handicap chase here at Cheltenham in December, but interestingly AP McCoy has opted to ride Mr Mole, who is potentially still unexposed over fences.  His form so far over the larger obstacles is difficult to evaluate, with two defeats in small fields recently, but both were against decent rivals.

Alan King won this with Oh Crick in 2009 and will be represented by Raya Star.  He could only finish 13th in last season’s County Hurdle but is generally a consistent sort and has run with credit recently against higher grade opposition in three Grade Two novice chases.

Selection: Next Sensation 8/1 with bet365

Next Best: Ned Buntline 10/1 with betvictor and stan james

 

Cheltenham Festival Day 3, Thursday Preview and Tips 2014

Jason BrautigamWith over 20 years of experience in horseracing, Jason Brautigam has worked on both the racecourse and betting side of the industry. Following six years as Head of Marketing for Ascot Racecourse, he held various commercial positions at the Tote, where he was ultimately responsible for running their racecourse division. A keen punter and racing blogger himself, Jason now works as a freelance marketing communications consultant.

“It has been a good week so far for our Festival fancies, with six winners from the main selections and a place in every race on the first two days. On Tuesday the combined results, including next best tips were 1313121 and yesterday was just as strong, finishing 1231124. Hopefully the good form will continue for the rest of the week!”

1.30pm JLT Novices’ Chase

The third day of the Cheltenham Festival gets underway with the JLT Novices’ Chase where, in common with most of the novice events this week, the market is headed by a Willie Mullins trained challenger.  He has already won this race with Sir Des Champs in 2012 and in fact all three renewals to date have gone to Ireland.

This time it is Felix Yonger who leads the betting, despite being beaten in his last two races.  Before that he had scored a hat trick on his first three attempts over fences, but disappointed at odds on over Christmas and could only manage runner up spot behind Trifolium in the Irish Arkle.  Trifolium ran well enough in third on Tuesday, but there are others with equally strong claims in this race.

Despite never winning at the Festival, OSCAR WHISKY has an excellent record around Cheltenham, notching up six victories at the track, including two this season. His win in the Grade Two Dipper Chase last time, where he avenged his earlier defeat by Taquin De Seuil, cemented his claims for this race.

Oscar Whisky also has the beating of Wonderful Charm, when denying Paul Nicholls’ charge a four timer here at Cheltenham in December.  Nicky Henderson’s contender is fancied to confirm form with both of his rivals again and finally land a big race at the Festival.

Selection: Oscar Whisky, 6/1 with Ladbrokes, Enter Promo Code MYBETTING for a Free £50 Bet

Next Best: Taquin De Seuil, 9/1 with Betvictor – Free £100 Bet Offer

 

2.05pm Pertemps Final

After yesterday’s Coral Cup, the handicap hurdles at the Festival don’t get any easier with the Pertemps Final a fiendishly tough conundrum to solve.  Traditionally this is another race where it has paid to stick with the lighter weighted horses at the bottom of the handicap, but only So Fine carries less than 11 stone this year.

Philip Hobbs fields a four pronged challenge and is responsible for the pair at head the betting, the top weight Fingal Bay and If In Doubt.  AP McCoy has elected to ride If In Doubt for owner JP McManus, so his chances have to be respected.

Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe have both won this race twice in the last ten years, so it is well worth taking a closer look at their contenders.  JOSIES ORDERS, also carrying the famous McManus silks, represents O’Neill this time and has been in good form this season, winning three of his last four hurdle starts.

David Pipe had six still entered at the five day stage, but has decided to rely on Broadway Buffalo and Top Wood. The latter won his qualifier for this well on his sole start this season at Haydock and, although that was something of a surprise result at 25/1, he looks the pick of the pair.

The Irish have plenty with chances too, with Seefood looking to repeat Dessie Hughes’s win in this race with Oulart in 2005.  Jetson, representing Champion Hurdle winning trainer Jessica Harrington, is also prominent in the market after winning a competitive handicap hurdle at Punchestown last time out.

Selection: Josies Orders, 14/1 with Stan James, Enter Promo Code MAXFREEBET for a £10 Free Bet.

Next Best: Top Wood, 20/1 with Paddy Power, Bet £10 Get £20 Free

 

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2.40pm Ryanair Chase

The first of the day’s two feature races looks to be a wide open affair, with the Ryanair Chase again featuring a mix of horses who find the two mile Champion Chase a little on the sharp side and the Gold Cup distance a step too far.  It does tend to go to one of the leading fancies, though, with only one winner priced bigger than 6/1 since its inception.

2011 Supreme Novices’ hero Al Ferof was well fancied when failing to see out the trip in the King George, finishing third behind stablemate Silviniaco Conti, but that form is still arguably the best on display here.  Winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup here at Cheltenham on his seasonal reappearance, he was a beaten favourite when finishing a distant runner up in the Denman Chase on heavy ground at Newbury recently, but this drop back in trip should suit.

BENEFFICIENT sprang something of a surprise at the Festival last season when winning the Jewson Novices’ Chase, but struggled to repeat that level of form subsequently at Punchestown and again on his seasonal bow in the Charlie Hall Chase.  However, he bounced back with a decent win in a Grade One chase at Leopardstown last time out, with Hidden Cyclone, Arvika Ligeonniere and Sizing Europe behind, so he has every chance of scoring back-to-back Festival victories.

Dynaste was the hot favourite in the 2013 Jewson but could only finish runner-up to Benefficient, so David Pipe will be hoping that he can turn the tables on his conqueror this time around.  He remains without a win so far in two attempts this season and has not been seen on the track since finishing fifth in the King George – a race that five of the last six Ryanair Chase winners contested.

Nicky Henderson’s Rajdhani Express won the novice handicap chase here last year so has winning Festival form in the book, but this is a much stiffer task.

Selection: Benefficient 4/1 with Betvictor

Next Best: Al Ferof  5/1 with Paddy Power, Bet £10 Get £20 Free

 

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3.20pm  Ladbrokes World Hurdle

The World Hurdle features one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes of the Festival, with the great stayer and four times winner of this race, Big Buck’s, back after a year off with injury to try and win back his crown at the grand old age of eleven.  Despite the absence of last year’s World Hurdle hero Solwhit, Big Buck’s faces what could possibly be his stiffest task to date against Willie Mullins’ exciting mare ANNIE POWER.

Annie Power remains unbeaten in ten starts, with seven bloodless victories over hurdles; the last three coming in Britain this season at Ascot, Cheltenham and Doncaster, landing that hat trick by a combined 28 lengths.  Many racing fans were hoping that Annie Power would line up in the Champion Hurdle, as she has never been tested over this distance.  However, she has shown no signs of stopping on her three outings this season (beating Zarkandar with ease on two occasions) and in receipt of 7lb from her male counterparts she has every chance to justify her lofty reputation.

Adding even more intrigue, jockey Ruby Walsh will be on board Annie Power rather than continuing his long association with Big Buck’s, who will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.  Off the track for over a year, Big Buck’s could only finish third on his return.  He should strip fitter for that effort, but the question remains whether he retains any of his old ability.  At his best he would be a formidable opponent.

Of course it is not just about this pair, although you could be forgiven for thinking they are the only two in the race!  The forgotten horse may well be At Fishers Cross, winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the 2013 Festival.  He has yet to reproduce the sort of form that saw him rattle of six victories last season, but showed positive signs of returning to his best when just a short-head second in the Cleeve Hurdle, a place in front of Big Buck’s.

Champion Jockey AP McCoy has chosen At Fishers Cross over the other JP McManus owned contender More Of That, but he may end up regretting that decision, just as he did in the Champion Hurdle earlier this week. Barry Geraghty was successful on Jezki and he’s picked up another great spare ride here. Unbeaten in four starts over hurdles, the last coming in the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle here at Cheltenham in December, he has looked a very progressive sort and represents solid each way value.

Selection: Annie Power, 7/1 for new Paddy Power customers or 13/8 with William Hill, Free £50 Bet Offer

Next Best: More Of That, 10/1 with bet365, if it wins, get a free bet to the same stake up to £50. (Channel 4 Offer)

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4.00pm – Byrne Group Plate

After a double dose of Grade One action, it’s back to another competitive handicap chase and this one traditionally throws up some shock results, with winners at 50/1, 25/1, 33/1 and 66/1 in the last six years! In fact only Salut Flo has won at shorter than 12/1 in the last decade, when justifying favouritism two years ago.

So this is one for the pinstickers and the best bet is to go for two or three outsiders in the hope that at least one of them makes the frame.

Owner JP McManus loves these big Festival handicaps though and he is represented by four contenders for four different trainers. His Tap Night (Lucinda Russell) and Colour Squadron (Philip Hobbs) heading the market for this race, with AP McCoy opting to ride the latter over the ante post favourite.

But the trainers to look out for here are Nicky Henderson (two winners in 2005 and 2006), David Pipe (successful in 2010 and 2012) and Venetia Williams (a hat trick of victories since 2007, including Carrickboy at 50/1 last year).  So course winner Nadiya De La Vega, Giorgio Quercus, Ballynagour, eighth in this last year, Benny’s Mist and recent scorer SHANGANI would all be of interest.

Only two winners in the last decade have carried more than 10st 10lb to victory and seven winners were on 10st 7lb or less, so you have to focus on the bottom end of the handicap to solve this particular puzzle.  In fact 24 of the last 26 winners of this race were officially rated no higher than 141, which equates to those on 10st 9lb or less this year.

John’s Spirit will be a popular choice having already won twice at Cheltenham this season, including the Paddy Power Gold Cup, although he hasn’t been seen on track since finishing fifth on the course in December (behind Colour Squadron in third) and is near the top end of the weights on 11st 3lb.

Malcolm Jefferson’s Firth Of The Clyde has been in good heart this season and never out of the frame on four starts, so is another to consider in what is a wide open contest.

Selection: Shangani 20/1 with Betfred, £25 Free Bet and 20/1 with Coral, Bet £5 Get £20 Free

Next Best: Firth Of The Clyde, 18/1 with Paddy Power Bet £5, Get £20 Free

 

4.40pm – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Thursday’s card finishes with an ultra-competitive handicap for amateur riders, so the jockey selection is just as important as the horse.  Unlike the previous race, this is one where it pays to stick with those at the top end of the handicap, with four of the last five winners carrying 11st 6lb or more.

Mr J J Codd has won this race twice in the last five years, so certainly knows what it takes to ride at the Festival.  He looks to have a decent chance again this year with the veteran Tranquil Sea, who despite his advancing years has not returned to Cheltenham since finishing ninth in the 2010 Ryanair Chase.  He did land the Paddy Power Gold Cup earlier that season though, so he does have winning form at the track.

Leading Irish amateur jockey Derek O’Connor is another name to watch out for, as he has also had previous Festival wins with Zemsky and Chicago Grey.  He has been snapped up to ride the favourite INDIAN CASTLE for Donald McCain, who has won this race twice with Ballabriggs in 2010 and Cloudy Lane in 2007.  Indian Castle comes here in tremendous form, having won three of his four outings this season.  In fact he has not been out of the first two on his last eight starts so has to be high on any short list.

Owner JP McManus won this with Sunnyhillboy in 2012 and his Cause of Causes, ridden by Nina Carberry, gives him a good chance to repeat that success.  Cause of Causes could only finish seventh behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdles at last year’s Festival, but has been knocking on the door recently.  An unlucky runner up in his last two races, failing to score by just a short head and a nose, he certainly cannot be discounted here.

Selection: Indian Castle 7/1 with William Hill, £50 Bet Offer

Next Best: Cause of Causes, 7/1 with Betvictor, £100 Bet Offer

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Wednesday Preview and Tips 2014

Jason BrautigamWith over 20 years of experience in horseracing, Jason Brautigam has worked on both the racecourse and betting side of the industry.  Following six years as Head of Marketing for Ascot Racecourse, he held various commercial positions at the Tote, where he was ultimately responsible for running their racecourse division.  A keen punter and racing blogger himself, Jason now works as a freelance marketing communications consultant.

1.30pm – Neptune Novices’ Hurdle

Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival starts with another novice hurdle and again we have another well fancied Willie Mullins trained favourite in the shape of FAUGHEEN, who will be hoping to emulate yesterday’s Supreme winner Vautour. The Irish dogs have been barking about this horse for a long while and so far the hype has been justified with four bloodless wins to date, including three over hurdles.

There has been a lot to like about the manner of those victories and, although he has yet to be truly tested, Faugheen looks likely to take all the beating here.  Four of the last eight winners of this race have been trained in Ireland, including two for Willie Mullins, but the home team led by Red Sherlock and Royal Boy will make this by far the stiffest task Faugheen has faced so far.

The Nicky Henderson trained Royal Boy arguably has the strongest form on display here, winning the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle last time out.  However, Henderson has only had one victory from 33 runners in this race, his sole success coming with Simonsig in 2012.

David Pipe’s Red Sherlock remains unbeaten under rules, including two wins at Cheltenham, and could pose the biggest threat to the favourite after beating Faugheen’s stablemate Rathvinden on the trials day here in January.  Certainly the vibes are very strong that Red Sherlock and Friday’s Albert Bartlett runner Kings Palace represent the best chances of success for Pond House this week.

Selection: Faugheen 5/2 with Paddy Power
Next Best: Red Sherlock 9/2 with Paddy Power

 

2.05pm – RSA Chase

BALLYCASEY established his place at the head of the market for this race after his impressive defeat of Don Cossack by four lengths in the Grade One Moriarty Novice Chase.  His final preparations have not been ideal, however, and he fell during schooling at Leopardstown earlier this month.  The last 14 winners of the RSA have all had at least three runs over fences, so his relative jumping inexperience could count against him.

This doesn’t look a vintage renewal though, so it is hard to pinpoint who will provide the biggest opposition to the favourite.  Smad Place finished third in two World Hurdles, so has a touch of class, and has taken reasonably well to fences so far.  Despite unseating his rider on his chasing debut he subsequently made amends with two good victories at Exeter and Newbury, the latter over Sam Winner.

Morning Assembly was a Grade One winner over hurdles and is two from three over fences, with his only defeat to Carlingford Lough at Leopardstown over Christmas.  Both remain worthy of further consideration, along with Drinmore Chase winner Don Cossack if he can reverse the form with Ballycasey.

Selection: Ballycasey 6/1 with Betvictor
Next Best: Smad Place 7/1 with Coral

 

2.40pm – Coral Cup

Always one of the most competitive handicaps of the Festival, this year’s Coral Cup is no exception and looks a difficult puzzle to solve.

Heading the weights is 2009 Champion Bumper winner Dunguib, who returned to the track after an absence of almost three years in January and bounced back to winning ways at Navan when beating Zaidpour in a Grade Two last time out.  After a controversial build-up to the Festival, trainer Philip Fenton will be hoping that the 11 year old can help him hit the headlines for all of the right reasons.

However, this race tends to go to a young, improving horse at the bottom end of the handicap: 12 of the last 14 winners were aged seven or younger, while only two of the last 13 winners have carried more than 11st 2lb to victory (Medinas being one of the exceptions last year when winning off 11st 10lb).

BAYAN would fit the bill for Gordon Elliot and this dual purpose horse is an intriguing contender.  Although he has yet to win on the flat, he has recorded a hat trick of victories over hurdles already this season.  His trainer previously won this race in 2011 with another five year old Carlito Brigante.

David Pipe demonstrated once again on Saturday that he knows what it takes to land a big handicap hurdle when landing the Imperial Cup for the third time. He will have high hopes for Dell’ Arca, who scored an impressive victory in the Greatwood Hurdle here at Cheltenham in the autumn and found only Splash of Ginge too good in the Betfair Hurdle last time out.

Selection: Bayan 12/1 with William Hill
Next Best: Dell’ Arca 14/1 with bet365

 

Sire De Grugy

 

3.20pm – BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase

The feature race of the second day lost some of its lustre when last year’s exhilarating winner, and the highest rated horse in training, Sprinter Sacre, was forced to withdraw due to an ongoing heart condition.  With the champion unable to defend his crown a new name looks set to be added to the roll of honour, although the 2011 hero Sizing Europe might have something to say about that!  He’s never been out of the first two in this race in three attempts, also finishing runner up in 2012 and 2013.

At 12 years old now, this top two mile chaser may struggle against some of the younger pretenders, though there will be no bigger roar should he return to the winner’s enclosure once more.  But this season has been all about SIRE DE GRUGY so far, after three victories on the bounce in the Tingle Creek, Desert Orchid Chase and Clarence House Chase.  This is by far the best form on display and Gary Moore’s charge should not be under-estimated. The only real negative is his failure to score on two previous visits to Cheltenham.

In Sprinter Sacre’s absence this race has ironically become more competitive, with Captain Conan set to represent the stable this time around.  He could only finish fifth in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at last year’s Festival but landed the Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree next time out.  He has only been seen once this season, finishing third behind Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek, typically a very good pointer for the Champion Chase.

The previous year’s Arkle Chase is normally an excellent guide too, but 2013 hero Simonsig is another who misses the Festival.  Arvika Ligeonniere was pulled up in last year’s race, but has subsequently won four out of five starts, his only defeat coming at the hands of the 2013 Jewson Novices’ Chase winner Benefficient.  The fact that he runs here rather than tomorrow’s Ryanair Chase will give the favourite something to worry about.

Paul Nicholls’ novice Hinterland is thrown in the deep end in this race but is an interesting dark horse, along with 2013 Grand Annual runner-up Kid Cassidy, who beat Sire De Grugy fair and square in a listed race here at Cheltenham in December and could represent each way value against the favourite.

Selection: Sire De Grugy 3/1 with bet365
Next Best: Arvika Ligeonniere  9/1 with Paddy Power

 

4.00om – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

Inclusion of the Cross Country Chase at the Festival still splits jump racing fans, but it has now become a regular feature at Cheltenham and a popular betting heat. Seven of the nine winners to date were priced at 13/2 or shorter, so it pays to concentrate on those at the head of the market.  In fact 33 of the 39 cross country races staged at Cheltenham have been won by horses in the first five of the betting.

Course and distance winners Big Shu and BALTHAZAR KING look the two to focus on here, with marginal preference for the latter after a hat trick of victories in the early part of the season, including success here at Cheltenham on the same cross country course where he enjoyed his finest hour in 2012.  He missed this race for a crack at the Grand National last year, but returns in an attempt to reclaim his crown.

Big Shu sprang something of a surprise when winning this race at 14/1 last season, but is well fancied to prove that victory was no fluke.  Anything Enda Bolger runs always has to be respected in these cross country contests. He won four of the first five renewals of this race and will be represented this year by Love Rory, Star Neuville and Quantitativeeasing.

Selection: Balthazar King 7/1 with William Hill
Next Best: Big Shu 5/1 with Paddy Power

 

4.40pm – Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

It’s not often you see a Nicky Henderson winner allowed to go off at 40/1, but that’s exactly what happened in this race two years ago with Une Artiste.  Representing the same connections this time is DAWALAN, who is the only one in single figures in the betting.  Bred by HH The Aga Khan, he was a maiden on the flat when trained in France, but has won two of his three hurdle starts to date and was beaten by just a nose in his final prep in a ‘bumpers for jumpers’ event on the all-weather at Kempton at the end of January.

Five of the last eight winners won last time out, so you ideally need to look for recent winning form.  It is also perhaps notable that five of the nine winners of this race to date have been French bred imports, so another French recruit Katgary is also worthy of closer inspection.  He is chasing a hat trick on his first run for trainer Paul Nicholls, who won this race with a similar type, Sanctuaire, in 2010.

Only one of the nine winners of this race have carried over 11st 4lb to victory, so it is hard to fancy the chances of the Willie Mullins trained trio of Noble Inn, Adriana Des Mottes and Ivan Grozny, who are all at the top end of the handicap.  Four winners of this race since 2004 have been trained in Ireland though, so it’s well worth taking a look at runners from the Emerald Isle.

Lindenhurst has been in fine form since switching codes, winning two out of four starts over hurdles so far and never out of the first two, while Sea Beat won at the third time of asking for trainer Arthur Moore, who landed the Fred Winter in 2011 with What A Charm.

Selection: Dawalan 8/1 with Coral
Next Best: Katgary 10/1 with Skybet

 

5.15pm – Weatherbys Champion Bumper

The closing contest on Day Two is always a favourite with the Irish, who invariably field a strong challenge in the Champion Bumper.  They have won eight of the last 10 renewals, with Willie Mullins landing the race an incredible eight times since his first success with Wither or Which in 1996.

With his latest victories courtesy of Champagne Fever and Briar Hill in the last two seasons, who would be brave enough to back against Willie working the Mullins magic again?  He looks set to have a typically good hand, with BLACK HURCULES, Shaneshill and Killultagh Vic all prominent in the betting.  The first named looks to be his main contender, however, unbeaten in two bumpers to date and particularly impressive last time out.

Dermot Weld’s Vigil is an intriguing contender after winning his second start in fine style.  His Rite of Passage finished third behind Dunguib in this race in 2009 and he will have high hopes that Vigil can go a couple of places better this year.  Weld could potentially be double handed with exciting prospect Silver Concorde also due to line-up.

Modus is another that should be high up on any shortlist as he won the bumper here at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.  That made it two from two and the vibes are strong that he can maintain his unbeaten record.

Selection: Black Hercules 8/1 with Paddy Power
Next Best: Modus  10/1 with bet365

Cheltenham Festival Day One Preview and Tips 2014

Cheltenham Festival Day One Preview and Tips 2014

Race 1 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The greatest show on turf gets underway with what is potentially the best novice race of the Festival – and some really exciting prospects are set to line-up.  None more so than the ante post favourite Irving, who is unbeaten in four starts to date – including the Grade Two Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton last time.  A top class recruit from the Flat, he should have the speed required to see off most of his opponents up the famous Cheltenham Hill.

His chief rivals look set to be the Willie Mullins’ trained pair of VAUTOUR, who is looking for a four-timer after winning the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown (traditionally a key trial for this race), and Wicklow Brave, who has been kept busy all season, winning his last five starts.  Ruby Walsh has opted to ride Vautour, which indicates they think he is their best chance of repeating last year’s success with Champagne Fever.

The Irish challengers always have to be feared in the Supreme, having won nine of the last 15 renewals of this race, although Paul Nicholls has also landed this twice since 2006 with Noland and Al Ferof, so it’s a tight call between Vautour and Irving.

Only three of the last 18 horses priced at 3/1 or shorter have won the Festival opener, with just one favourite scoring in the last ten years.  Nevertheless, this tends to go to one of the leading fancies, with 8 out of 10 winners starting at 12/1 or shorter.

Selection: Vautour
Next Best: Irving

 

Race 2 – Arkle Chase

This is another race where favourites haven’t fared too well in recent times, with only four market leaders landing the Arkle in the last 20 years.  This does include the last two winners, however, although Simonsig and Sprinter Sacre both started at odds on.

There doesn’t appear to be anything of that calibre in this line-up, so likely favourite Champagne Fever could be one to take on, despite his excellent record at the Festival.  A winner of the Champion Bumper and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he cannot be opposed lightly, but he hasn’t been seen on the track since disappointing in third place over Christmas on only his second start over fences.

Nine of the last ten winners had at least three to five chase starts, so this lack of experience could cost Willie Mullins’ charge this time around. The Irish may still take this, however, in the shape of TRIFOLIUM, who landed the Grade One Irish Arkle in fine style, beating Felix Yonger by nine lengths in heavy going.  He finished third in the Supreme Novices’ behind Cinders and Ashes in 2012 and should appreciate the better ground.

The highest rated in the field is Rock On Ruby, the former Champion Hurdle winner now trained by Paul Nicholls’ former assistant Harry Fry.  He has made a decent start to his chasing career winning his last two starts, although he hasn’t had much to beat with just one finisher behind on each occasion.  He would also be much older than your typical Arkle winner at nine years old.  All bar one of the last ten victors have been aged between 5 and 7.

Valdez could prove to be the best of the British challengers and provides some each way value in this race, after winning all three of his chase starts to date for Alan King including the Grade Two Lightning Novices’ Chase.  All of the last ten winners have started at 9/1 or shorter, so Dodging Bullets also merits close consideration, despite his defeat last time out.

Selection: Trifolium
Next Best: Valdez

 

Race 3 – Festival Handicap Chase

Races don’t get much trickier to solve than the handicap chases at the Festival and this looks a typically wide open affair.  However, nine of the last 13 winners were in the first four in the betting, so you need a quality horse with proven recent form to land this competitive three mile chase.  In fact six of the last 11 winners won last time out. So much the better if your horse has Cheltenham form in the book too, with seven winners in the last 16 years having finished in the first four at the Festival before.

Hadrian’s Approach finished third in last year’s RSA Chase and although he unseated his rider in the Hennessy Gold Cup back in the autumn, he made amends with a battling win back at Newbury last time out.  This is a much stiffer task, but he represents the formidable team of Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty so has to be respected.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has won this race twice in the last five years, with Wicheta Lineman and Alfie Sherrin, who returns in an attempt to repeat his success from two years ago and is the selected mount of Champion Jockey AP McCoy.  Although he has not really been in the same form since, Cheltenham may well bring out the best in him again.

But it is his stablemate HOLYWELL that merits a place near the top of any shortlist.  Winner of last year’s Pertemps Final at the Festival, he followed up that effort by finishing second to Solwhit in the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.  Things did not quite go to plan when initially switched to chasing this season, being a beaten favourite three times, but he is now on a hat trick after winning his last two starts.

The home team field a strong challenge with the top weight Cantlow and Restless Harry others to consider. The best of the Irish could well be Wrong Turn for Tony Martin, who won this race back in 2006 with Dun Doire.

Selection: Holywell
Next best: Wrong Turn

hurricane-fly

Race 4 – Champion Hurdle

The Irish could already be enjoying a fantastic day by this point, but expect the roof to be blown off the Cheltenham grandstand if HURRICANE FLY manages to win his third Champion Hurdle for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

Winner of this race in 2011 and 2013, his only defeat in the last four seasons came in this race when he could only finish third in 2012.  Despite being the grand old age of ten now, he has looked as good as ever this year, clocking up three more Grade One victories including another Irish Champion Hurdle success.

He has the beating of runaway Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor and 2013 Supreme third Jezki in his last two races, so his chief competition may come from last season’s top novices in Britain, The New One and My Tent Or Yours.  The latter finished in front of Jezki when runner up behind Champagne Fever and scored two impressive Grade One successes earlier in the season.  However, only one of the last 23 Christmas Hurdle winners went on to land the Champion in the same season, which doesn’t bode well for his chances.

That race was very much run to suit Jonjo O’Neill’s stable star anyway and The New One has a great opportunity to turn the tables back at Cheltenham, providing he jumps better.  Who can forget the impression he made when winning the Neptune in exhilarating fashion at last year’s Festival, when he looked every bit a future champion in the making?  He may prove to be the biggest threat to The Fly’s bid to land a historic hat trick.

Selection: Hurricane Fly
Next Best: The New One

 

Race 5 – OLBG Mares Hurdle

The Irish celebrations will continue long into the night if Hurricane Fly wins the Champion Hurdle and QUEVEGA lands the Mares Hurdle for a record-breaking sixth successive year.  This race is all about Willie Mullins’ perennial heroine, a rarer sight on track than the Scarlet Pimpernel, who has been handled to perfection by her trainer.  A fragile type that cannot take much racing, she has only had six runs in the last four seasons, but has still incredibly managed to win this race first time out for the last three years in a row.

Sirene D’Ainay, the mare Quevega beat into second at Cheltenham in 2013, is back again for another attempt – but whether she can avenge her one-and-a-half length defeat is open to question.  If there is going to be a horse to spoil the party, it could well be stablemate Glens Melody, winner of three of her four starts this season, or fellow Irish challenger Down Ace, who is unbeaten under rules and has notched up three victories so far over hurdles.

Selection: Quevega
Next Best: Down Ace

 

Race 6 – National Hunt Chase

The longest race at the Festival is a marathon four mile contest – and showcases the talent of amateur riders.  Not surprisingly finding the winner can be a fiendishly difficult task, with two 33/1 shots and a 40/1 outsider winning in the last 10 years.

However, the last three renewals have gone to the favourite and this year FOXROCK is well fancied to give Grand National winning trainer Ted Walsh another big race success.  Foxrock has landed three wins from his last four starts, including a Grade Two Novice Chase at Navan, and may continue the luck of the Irish in this race after recent wins for Chicago Grey in 2011 and Back In Focus last year.

There will be no shortage of challengers, with Shutthefrontdoor bidding to give trainer Jonjo O’Neill and legendary owner JP McManus a second success in this race after Butler’s Cabin sprang a surprise for connections in 2007.  Classic Chase victor Shotgun Paddy, assisted by Chicago Grey’s winning jockey Derek O’Connor, and Suntiep, winner of four out of five races under rules and ridden by Willie Mullins’ son Patrick, will also have plenty of support.

This race is as much about the experience and skills of the rider as the quality of the horse, so look out for the jockey bookings before making your final selection.  Ted Walsh’s daughter Katie is set to ride Foxrock, while Nina Carberry will be on Shutthefrontdoor, so we may well see a female winning rider on the opening day of this year’s Festival.

Selection: Foxrock
Next Best: Shotgun Paddy

 

Race 7 – Novices’ Handicap Chase

Anyone looking to the finale for an easy ‘getting out stakes’ on Day One of the Festival will be sorely disappointed as the card closes with a tricky looking handicap chase for novices.  While eight of the nine winners to date were either first or second last time out, seven of them had won no more than one race over fences.

Four winners had run at the Festival before, so the top weight Ericht, who finished fifth in last year’s Coral Cup, has the right profile to give Nicky Henderson back-to-back victories in this race after winning with Rajdhani Express last year.  However, last year’s County Hurdle third MANYRIVERSTOCROSS arguably has even better credentials, despite only winning one novice chase, as he’s been running in top class company when beaten on his last two starts.

The last three winners have all come from the top half of the handicap, but only Hunt Ball has carried more than 11st 7lb to success in the last ten years.  On that weight is the likely favourite, Pendra, who won his first two starts over fences, but could only finish a remote seventh place when favourite at Ascot last time out.  JP McManus may be triple-handed in the race with Festive Affair and Dursey Sound also due to line up for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

Another to consider is the ultra-consistent Present View, who has not been out of the frame in five starts this season, two of them wins, including an impressive ten length success at Kempton last time out.

Selection: Manyriverstocross
Next Best: Present View

 

1.30 Skybet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Tip: Vautour 7/2 Next Best: Irving 7/2

2.05 Racing Post Arkle Chase

Tip: Trifolium 9/2 Next Best: Valdez 10/1

2.40 Festival Handicap Chase

Tip: Holywell 10/1 Next best: Wrong Turn 14/1

3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle

Tip: Hurricane Fly 10/3 Next Best: The New One 3/1

4.00 OLBG Mares Hurdle

Tip: Quevega 8/11 Next Best: Down Ace 22/1

4.40 National Hunt Chase

Tip: Foxrock 5/1 Next Best: Shotgun Paddy 5/1

5.15 Novices’ Handicap Chase

Tip: Manyriverstocross 10/1 Next Best: Present View 10/1

Cheltenham Tips for Friday, Gold Cup Day 2013 by Carl Harris

Cheltenham Festival 2013 Friday 15 March.

1-30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Juvenile Grade 1) (4-yo) 2013

carl-harrisOne of my favourite races of the Festival, usually unearths a high class horse for the future and it has traditionally paid to follow Nicky Henderson in this. Some interesting stats;

· Last time out winners are 11 from 15,
· Prominent runners have won 9 of the last 15
· 11 of the 15 had a run in the last 42 days
· 10 of the 15 could be found in the first four in the betting.
· 7 of the 15 raced in a Class 1 race last time out from just 93 runners
· CAUTION: Horses returning after a break of more than 42 days have only won 2 of the last 15 renewals from 89
· Held up runners have won 3 from 15 from 163 runners

I did read one preview saying that four year olds had a 100% record in this race! This is a very good renewal of the Triumph. I have a short list of TWO exceptional contenders; ROLLING STAR and OUR CONNOR. Bristish v Irish. There is very little between them according to my ratings with the marginal preference being for the Nicky Henderson trained ROLLING STAR. We last saw him at Cheltenham beating Irish Saint and he looked mightily impressive. He went down as the Triumph Hurdle horse and I still think he is the best. Our Connor is respected and the smart bet is to Dutch them both. But preference is for Rolling Star at 4/1.

MAX BET WIN ROLLING STAR 4/1  Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

2-05 Vincent O Brien County Handicap Hurdle

This is a minefield of a handicap, with 28 runners and if you find the winner of this you will be richly rewarded. Sounds easy, it is nothing of the sort! My tentative bet here is an each way (small stakes only) on RANJAAN for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh who have had a contrasting Festivals so far. This is somewhat speculative as I think the horse will appreciate the better ground. We have had heavy going most of the season and the better ground combined with a favourable mark could give us a decent run.

RANJAAN EW 16/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

2-40 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Only eight running’s of this race to day so little can be learned from the statistical trends;

· All 8 winners raced in a Class 1 race last time out, that’s from just 60 runners
· The top 5 in the betting have won 7 of the 8 renewals.
· 7 of the 8 winners were 1st or 2nd last time out.

That’s not really of much help! I have three in the ratings that are on the short list;

· AT FISHERS CROSS- 100
· BALLYCASSEY- 96
· AFRICAN GOLD 92

The form of AT FISHERS CROSS could hardly look any better. Beating The New One last time out and he is my firm bet here. FRICAN GOLD also has had his form franked at Sandown on Saturday and at 13/2 is a great bet each way.

AT FISHERS CROSS WIN 11/4 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

AFRICAN GOLD  EW 13/2 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

3-20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

This is the blue riband of National Hunt Racing. The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. It has been won by some greats down the years and in recent times they include DENMAN and KAUTO STAR. Imperial Commander is now out and the sad demise of Synchronised, last year’s winner, means the only previous winner in this field is Long Run. This is the most wide open Gold Cup seen for sometime.

TRENDS- POSTIVES:

· 13 of the winners in the last 15 renewals had a previous run at a past Festival, which is 9% better than expected and 10 winners had either won or placed in a past Festival race from 103 runners, that’s 7% better than expected. Neither of those are massively strong statistics since past festival form horses are over bet, but it can’t be ignored when narrowing the field.
· 8 of the last 15 ran in a Grade 1 race last time out from just 51 runners, which is 49% better than expected.
· Irish Breds have won 12 of the 15, 34% better than expected.
· If we add in Grade 2 last time out then 13 of the 15 ran in a Grade 1 or 2 last time out, 30% more than expected.
· 12 of the last 15 were in the top 3 in the betting.
· 10 of the last 15 ran at exactly 3 miles last time out
· Horses winning last time out won 8 of the last 15 renewals.

A field of 11 horses contest the 2013 Gold Cup, competitive but there is no one stand out horse, all have questions to answer. These are the horses I see as the main players.

BOBS WORTH, cky Henderson thinks a huge amount about Bob’s Worth. Bred by his jockey Barry Geraghty it would be an extra special win for him. He comes here with just one run under his belt this season although that was a 3 ¼ length beating of Tidal Nay in the Hennessy Gold Cup, his Cheltenham record reads 1-1-1-1. Henderson’s record with horses at Cheltenham is second to none. Off a long rest is not no good. Bobs Worth is the favourite and rightly so!

SIR DES CHAMPS, also has an unbeaten Cheltenham and Festival but his form this year is not good enough to land this. Would need to improve on what we have seen.

SILVINIACO CONTI is the big hope and the up and coming chaser to fill the boots of Denman and Kauto Star. Nicholls is bullish and what he has done this season puts him in the mix. Could give Bobs Worth a race.

LONG RUN bids to regain his crown but vibes are not good. Cheek Pieces will be worn and he doesn’t look the horse of old. Won the King George, yes, but just, and should be not match for Bobs Worth or Conti.

Of the outsiders the each way play in the race is THE GIANT BOLSTER 14/1. David Bridgewater is a hard worker and he has trained this horse to get 100% out of it. If you put 100% in you reap what you sew. Placed in a Gold Cup already he has a real chance at value odds.

For me the outstanding two horses are BOBS WORTH and SILVINIACO CONTI. A pro bet would be to Dutch the two. Put a gun to my head and I will go for Bobs Worth

BOBS WORTH WIN @ 11/4 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

THE GIANT BOLSTER EW @ 14/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

For me the festival is more or less over after the Gold Cup. The last three races are an amateur riders race and the Pipe and Henderson races where they throw plenty at them. These are the picks for the last three races;

4.00 CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup

He may be a veteran but Chapoturgeon is a festival favourite. He looked to have retained plenty of his old ability when last seen winning at Newbury. Still part owned by former trainer Paul Nicholls and he could yet provide Nicholls with some festival glory. 9/2 is not the best price but he has the credentials to win this.

CHAPOTURGEON EW @ 11/4  Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

4-40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle

This is the Martin Pipe race and it is quite obvious that son David Pipe would love to win it. Usually he would fire many bullets at this race, but today he fires one, the four timer seeking GEVREY CHAMBERTIN. There is no doubting his credentials and the only worry is the rise in the weights. However the fact that Pipe fires only one at this prize he really wants to win is a big tip in itself!

GEVREY CHAMBERTIN EW 9/2 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

5-15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup

Like the Pipe race Nicky Henderson would love to win the race named after his father. Unlike David Pipe, Nicky Henderson fires six bullets at this target! I think it is a strong possibility he will hit the target and the horses I like are the classy Petit Robin and French Opera. Both have been high class horses in their time and if they recapture just a small amount of their past form then they will play a massive role in this. 20/1 each way each of two is not a bad bet!

PETIT ROBIN EW  20/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365
FRENCH OPERA EW  18/1
Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

Cheltenham Festival Tips for Thursday Day 3 by Carl Harris

carl-harris

Wednesday was VERY good with Back In Focus and The New One Landing Max Bets. Sizing Europe without Sprinter Sacre at Evens made it a clean sweep of the Max Bets. Hadrians Approached and Master of the Sea were placed ew and also collected.  Thursday  Going:  GOOD TO SOFT / SOFT IN PLACES

 

1-30 JEWSON NOVICE CHASE

Dynaste is a MAXIMUM BET and is my best bet of the week. I can not see this beaten. He has been sensational this year and David Pipe has elected for this as opposed to the RSA Chase. Captain Conan would have been a good favourite had Dynaste gone for the RSA but with Dynaste in the race I can see now other outcome other than a convincing Dynaste Win.

DYNASTE is a MAXIMUM BET take 7/4 early! Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

2-05 PERTEMPS FINAL

We go from a relatively easy race to kick off to anything but, this is an ultra-competitive handicap with only 13 pounds between all 24 runners.  There are plenty with solid claims here, infact you could back half the field and still not find the winner. Therefore I advise playing it small in this race but I do like the market leader here

Sam Winner (Win) trained by Paul Nicholls is a six year old who was smart over hurdles as a juvenile and came back after a year off to beat Peddlers Cross in a jumpers bumper. That was his second run back and I am hoping that he is lining up here on a fair mark. Certainly man of the moment Ruby Walsh is a big plus from the saddle. 4/1 is not huge but he looks to tick more boxes than most.

SAM WINNER, WIN BET 4/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

 

2-40 RYANAIR CHASE

Slight disappointing renewal of this, expected better in the build up to this.  I have looked at this every which way and have looked for reasons to oppose Cue Card. I say that because I am not a fan of the horse, or the jockey, but I keep coming back, by default to Cue Card.

His most credible rivals are First Lieutenant and Riverside Theatre. I am never one to discount Nicky Henderson’s horses but I think this will be a tough task for Riverside. So the question is whether First Lieutenant will beat Cue Card and I think that Cue Card may have too much speed for him and am siding with the Joe Tizzard Cue Card.

CUE CARD WIN BET 10/3 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

3-20 THE WORLD HURDLE

Oscar-WhiskyUsually this is a simply one line preview, in so much as Big Buck’s has dominated this event and always wins. However for the first time in a while we have a competitive world Hurdle. The main line of form here is the race where REVE DE SIVOLA beat OSCAR WHISKY at Cheltenham on Heavy going. The ground will be better and suit Oscar Whiskey and I think he will turn that about and is the most likely winner!

I am backing OSCAR WHISKY to win here and having an each way bet on one of my favourite horses in training, GET ME OUT OF HERE (ew). This is somewhat speculative, but this horse has plenty of ability and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gives the principals something to think about.  Decent value each way bet

OSCAR WHISKY WIN BET 4/1,

GET ME OUT OF HERE ew 11/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

 

4-00 BYRNE GROUP PLATE

HUNT BALL. This time last year Hunt Ball was talked about as a Gold Cup horse. He was mightily impressive. He hasn’t had a great year (like many of us) mainly due to the bad going. On better ground, in the Grade 3 Handicap I am very strong on this one; the forgotten horse!

HUNT BALL. 7/1 Each Way Bet.  Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

4-40 AMATEUR HANDICAP

GALAXY ROCK. EACH WAY on Galaxy Rock is the only bet I will be having but not to any major stakes. The ground has come right for him and we know he goes round Cheltenham well. In fact regulars will remember him last year bolting up at Cheltenham under McCoy.

Galaxy Rock EW @ 14/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

Good Luck!

Cheltenham Tips Day 3 Thursday World Hurdle 2013

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Cheltenham Tips Day 3 Thursday World Hurdle 2013

With the heavy Irish contingent that flock to Cheltenham each year, it was only fair to reward them with a sensational card on St Patrick’s Day. The main Irish hope of the day looks set to come in the opener as Aupcharlie aims to help raise the Guinness fund for the rest of the day by Josh Bradley

1.30pm Jewson Novices’ Chase

Both renewals of the Jewson Chase have been won by Ireland, and they will be hoping for the same again to kick-start St Patrick’s Day in the best way possible. Aupcharlie holds the best claims from across the sea and connections will be hoping that current favourite Dynaste opts to go for the RSA as opposed to the slightly easier task of the Jewson. He hasn’t been out of the first two this season, and looks set to put in a bold performance once more, however he could run in to a potentially classy sort in the shape of Tom George’s Module. The 5yo has transferred his hurdle form to chases remarkably well and has won every race he has managed to complete. He will face stiff opposition, but with the added bonus of having Paddy Brennan in the saddle, as well as already having course form, he 8/1 looks a safe each-way bet.

He will have to take on the well fancied Captain Conan (if he sidesteps his RSA engagement) but looks to have the measure, as Captain Conan’s jumps often leave a lot to be desired, and he never looks as though he has much left in the tank coming in to the end of the races. Argocat offers the best pieces of flat form, coming over from Ireland, however he has had a mixed jumping career, and it would be a massive risk to get stuck into him, especially if he is not on a going day.

Module (e/w) @ 12/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

2.05pm Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle

The 2011 Triumph Hurdle fourth Sam Winner returns to this year’s festival to have another crack at a big hurdle prize following a failed attempt of a chasing career. He never managed to complete the course over fences, so has been brought back to the smaller obstacles. He fits the trend of being trained in GB (10 of last 12 have won) and also not running in last year’s festival (5 of last 8 also didn’t). He oozes class on his day, and if Paul Nicholls has managed to get the horse anywhere near his former ability, he should be far too good for the rest of them.

Shutthefrontdoor and Close House offer some stiff opposition and should both be close, come the finish. However Sam Winner enjoys the Cheltenham hill, and should have just enough class to see them off. The danger looks set to be Gevrey Chamberlain who is aiming to fulfil the potential many thought he would, after winning his Bumper by 30l He has managed to notch up three more wins since then but is yet to be tested in a competitive encounter. This is his first test, and the 12/1 will be far too big to resist for many. He could be an extremely good thing and will have his fair share of supporters on the day, but it could pay to side with the class act of Sam Winner.

Sam Winner (win) @ 9/2 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

 

2.40 RyanAir Chase

Cue Card is the headline name in the Ryanair chase, after opting to swerve a potential clash with Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Clive Tizzard’s gelding has had an impressive season minus the King George, and comes into the race in top form after destroying the field in the Ascot chase last time out. He has incredible flat speed and rarely puts a foot wrong over jumps, however will be facing an incredibly tough opponent in the gritty First Lieutenant. Mouse Morris’ 8yo has been placed in his last three races, all Graded affairs and finished a close third behind Gold Cup favourite Bob’s Worth. However he looks set to be one of those ‘nearly horses’ who are consistently brilliant, but always find one or two better.

In this instance it could well be Albertas Run, the forgotten horse that hasn’t ran since last April. He has run this race twice and finished runner up once, in only three runnings. He has been kept fresh by Jonjo O’Neill and with Champion Jockey Tony McCoy on board, you are guaranteed a good run for your money. This means the 16/1 looks potentially massive for such a consistent sort, in this race. Riverside Theatre, Menorah and Champion Court all have solid each-way claims, but are very hit and miss, and it could pay to side with the consistent Albertas Run.

Albertas Run (e/w) @ 4/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

3.20pm The Ladbrokes World Hurdle

Oscar-WhiskyWith Big Buck’s unavailable to go for his fifth consecutive World Hurdle, Oscar Whisky has stepped into his hoof-prints and will be aiming to land his first. Nicky Henderson’s classy hurdler has already racked up ten career wins, but will be aiming to improve on his run in last year’s race when finishing a disappointing fifth when well fancied. His preparations for this race have been good, going down by a neck to other World Hurdle fancy Reve De Sivola, on ground that didn’t suit, so he can come into the race full of confidence. Reve De Sivola is challenging for favouritism after landing back to back victories, firstly in the Long Walk hurdle, and then the Cleeve Hurdle, a similar route that the imperious Big Bucks used to take.

However this was on very soft ground which is unlikely to turn up at Cheltenham, so you would have to fancy Oscar Whisky to be able to revere the placing. The danger lies with Bog Warrior who has always threatened to be a high class hurdler but never delivered on the big stage. He now has everything in his favour, solid preparations and the step up in trip he has been desperately seeking. Grand Crus and Peddlers Cross return to hurdling after stints chasing and could cause many problems if regaining their old form, but seem very risky propositions against the experience of Oscar Whisky.

Oscar Whisky (win) @ 7/2 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

 

4.00 pm Byrne Group Place (Handicap Chase)

Hunt Ball will have his fair share of supporters at 7/1in the Byrne Group Plate, following Anthony Knott’s decision to miss the Gold Cup to have a crack in a slightly easier race. He raised the roof when landing a race at the meeting last year and will surely do the same for eccentric owner Mr Knott, who is sure to have had a decent wager on his gelding. He has been placed behind two classy sorts so far this season, but that form doesn’t look strong enough to have a serious bet on him. He is a likely improver still, but can’t be viewed as a safe bet.

Neither can favourite Ballynagour from David Pipe’s stable, but following his wide-margin win on his sole start under rules, he has the potential to be anything His weight of 10st 7lb could be completely underestimating how good he actually is and he has the potential to be the ‘good thing’ of the festival. For me the 5/1 on offer looks big enough to tempt me, and it could prove to be an incredible bet. If Walkon from the Alan King stable returns to any sort of form, he will be good enough to challenge for the placing and is sure to receive decent support the closer it gets to the race.

Ballynagour (win) @ 9/2 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

4.40pm Fulke Wakwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

The finale of St Patrick’s Day is the Kim Muir, and it looks as though it will be going the way of the English. Super Duty is the current 6/1 favourite for Donald McCain and the 7yo is sure to be in warm order after a brilliant win at the course in December. Course form is key and he could be many punters’ ‘get out of jail’ card if the day hasn’t gone their way. He has the consistency to mix it in these sort of races and he is rated 142, which is positive as there of the last four winners have been rated between 139 and 142.

Jason Maguire is always reliable in the big events, and he looks a solid bet to round off what could be a brilliant day for decent-priced favourites. He will have to be wary of Cantlow and Frisco Depot however, as they enter the race in top form. But if Opening Batsman manages to deal with the hefty burden of 12st 1lb he could be the one to cause Super Duty the most problems.

Super Duty (e.w) @ 6/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

5.15 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 7f

Arabella Boy comes into the race looking like a worthy favourite, following his win in the Punchestown Cross-Country Chase last time out. He put his unfortunate unseating at Cheltenham behind him, and put in an exemplary round of jumping and also managed to put to bed any lingering stamina doubts.

Nina Carberry is a veteran over the cross-country fences, and there are very few who ride it better. She will be able to drop in her mount and let his exuberant jumping take centre stage, and with last year’s winner Balthazar King not returning to defend his crown, she will be even more confident of coming home in front. The 8yo is extremely consistent, and if he manages to complete the race he will be bang there, meaning the 4/1 looks a solid bet.  Uncle Junior must be respected but looks to have too much weight, carrying 11st 12lb, whilst Outlaw Pete will go off a short price, but must keep on an upward curve if he is to mount a serious challenge.

Arabella Boy WIN@ 9/2 with Coral – Free £50 bet Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

 

Our Cheltenham Tips are Winning On Day 2

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Cheltenham Festival Tips for Day 2 by Carl Harris

Wednesday 13 March by Carl Harris

Tuesday wasn’t bad, at all! The Maximum Bet Double was landed with QUEVEGA and SIMONSIG. We were unlucky not to land the treble with My Tent Or Yours (second). We were also not far away with the 66/1 each way bet on the French Horse, but the place money is still very profitable!

Cheltenham Festival Tips for Day 2 by Carl Harris

Wednesday  Going: SOFT

1-30 NATIONAL HUNT CHASE

BACK IN FOCUS MAXIMUM BET–  One for the Irish here. Mullins had three winners on Tuesday. Amateur riders take centre stage and in Patrick Mullins we have one of (if not ) the best of the lot here. Winner of three of his last four starts including a grade one last time out.  On a level weight start, Back In Focus is well in and could be too good for these. This is of course reflected in his price.   There is no need to look beyond Back In Focus for the winner and we can kick off in style with a Maximum Bet winner. Best odds Here.

There is little more to say about this race. BACK IN FOCUS really looks rock solid and the banker of the day. The main bet in this race is without a shadow of a doubt BACK IN FOCUS, Maximum Bet.

Advised Bets – BACK IN FOCUS, MAX BET ; Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

2-05 NEPTUNE NOVICE HURDLE

Slightly disappointing that only ten horses are declared for this race, one of them Puffin Billy surely will not run.  The quality of the Supreme Novices this year has had an impact on the quality of what is usually a lesser race.

I think there are two outstanding horses in this line up. They are POINT ALEXANDRE and THE NEW ONE. Dutching both these horses is the sensible approach for me, but my marginal preference is for THE NEW ONE who I have had in mind for Cheltenham all winter. Certainly at5/1the price is far better than 6/4. At 5/1 he is a rock solid each way bet to nothing. I make him a MAXIMUM EACH WAY BET!

He lost his unbeaten record last time, here at Cheltenham, and in all fairness to Sam Twiston-Davies he came out and said he probably went too early allowing McCoy to pick him up. Nigel Twiston-Davies has made absolutely no secret about the regard he holds The New One in. He has made some very bold statements. If he was unbeaten he would be closer to the favourite’s price, if not indeed the market leader. We have him top rated but only just.

  • ·         The New One- 100
  • ·         Point Alexandre- 99
  • ·         Chatterbox 91

Point Alexandre has won a grade 2 and a grade 1 in his last two starts, but the relative form is what lets down his rating, The New One has pitched up against better types.

The bare form of Chatterbox, beating My Tent or Yours would, if taken literally, make him a warm favourite. However for many reasons that form is not take literally.

That said at the prices Chatterbox (ew) is value each way. Coming from the Nicky Henderson yard he is unbeaten and is overlooked at your peril.

Advised Bets  THE NEW ONE- MAX BET EW CHATTERBOX EW Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

2-40 THE RSA CHASE

Very disappointing with the RSA Chase field. I had hoped that DYNASTE would run in this race and he would have been the best bet of the day, by a street (at the prices). However he isn’t here, choosing the Jewson instead.

Boston Bob has not impressed one bit despite being unbeaten this season. He is a favourite worth taking on and will be many people’s idea of a lay of the day.

  • ·         Irish Breds have won 13 of the last 15 renewals
  • ·         7 year olds have won 11 of the 15 from 87 runners
  • ·         13 of the 15 winners have run in the last 56 days
  • ·         8 winners from 67 runners ran prominently when winning the RSA
  • ·         All 15 had finished in the 1st 3 last time out
  • ·         5 winners had previously won or placed at a past Festival

The second in the market is the Paul Nicholls trained Unioniste, who in my view was very lucky to get the better of Hardrian’s Approach last time out. You may not agree with this assertion. However I think Hadrian’s Approach is certainly worth taking a chance with.

Not another Henderson tip! I can hear the moans as I write it; but for me he is improving and the stats down the years are testimony to the fact not only that Henderson’s horses peak for Cheltenham but also that they are exceptionally well placed.

At 6/1 he is a very good each way bet.

Advised Bet HADRIANS APPROACH EW 6/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

3-20 THE CHAMPION CHASE

sprinter-sacre-champion-chaseSprinter Sacre will win this race; easily and in style.

There is nothing else to say about the winner. He is the biggest good thing I have ever seen over jumps. Every bet you have at Chelteham just double with Sprinter Sacre for a 25% bonus. Ratings…..Sprinter Sacre 100, Sizing Europe 72, Sanctuaire 67

Sprinter Sacre can not be oppsed. He will win easily. So what about some value?

SIZING EUROPE – EVENS without Sprinter Sacre is a Max Bet Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

If you take Sprinter Sacre out of this I would contend that Sizing Europe should be much shorter than Evens. This is where the value is for me.n Sprinter Sacre is a Max Bet if you want short Prices Sizing Europe is a Max Bet in the Market without the Fav

4-00 THE CORAL CUP

Minefield alert! 28 runner festival handicap. There are so many strong candidates here and so many plotted up that this is one of the hardest races of the meeting and certainly the toughest puzzle to solve.

I am relying on our ratings for this and have two each way plays as a result.

  • ·         Pendra 100
  • ·         Master of the Sea 99
  • ·         Mr Watson 96

I am having each way bets on PENDRA @ 7/1 and MASTER OF THE SEA @ 12/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

Pendra was beaten by the very smart MELODIC RENDEZVOUS who sadly was unable to run at the festival. That was his only defeat in four career starts and that form was in Grade 1 company. The ground will be fine and he could be an improving type. Very competitive price but he is a worth favourite.

Master Of The Sea is a horse I really like and he has been on my radar for sometime for the Festival. He runs here off a mark of 142 and he started win four time winning sequence from a mark of 92. That is a rise of FIFTY POUNDS! Last time at Newbury he was immense and it is my contention that there is MORE TO COME HERE and he is my main play here.

Master of the Sea is a very good handicap bet, one of the best of the week!

4-40 FRED WINTER JUVENILE HURDLE

Juvenile hurdles are the hardest races to rate and the form in my mind is almost impossible to correlate, unless there is an outstanding contender. There isn’t in my view in this race.

My advice is to have an each way bet on TOTALIZE. Trained in Malton by Brian Ellsion, and I can testify that from this yard the horse will be trained to the minute, fit and ready. He showed a very good attitude this horse and at 16/1 he is a good ew price.

The other horse that has impressed me is BORDONI who at 12/1 is bigger than I expected and is worth an each way bet. Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

5-15 THE CHAMPION BUMPER

This is a very good race that usually serves up a treat. The Irish have strong claims here and there is plenty of class through and through.  My two bets are….

LE VENT DANTAN 7/1 WIN VIEUX LION ROUGE 33/1 EW Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

Tough race this is and somewhat of a lottery!

Cheltenham Tips Day 2 Wednesday Champion Chase 2013

Cheltenham Tips Day 2 Wednesday Champion Chase 2013

Ladies day takes place on the Wednesday this year, and many will be hoping lady luck is on their side as they try and either maintain their good start, or turn around their bad one. However it won’t take a genius to work out who looks the most likely to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase, as Sprinter Sacre headlines the card, and potentially the whole week, as he bids to stamp his authority and prove he is a superstar by Josh Bradley

1.30pm John Oaksey National Hunt Chase

Ladies day begins with a competitive staying chase in memory of John Oaksey, former legend of nearly every aspect of the horse-racing business. Willie Mullins’ 8yo Back in Focus heads the market and he fits the trend, to carry on a strong tradition of in-form horses taking the race.

Only three winners from the last twenty-nine has not finished in the top four last time out, which rules out several of the field, as well as the stat that shows that five and six-year olds have won the race only once (from 64 starters) since 1989.

His last run, when rallying well under pressure on the run-in to get the better of well thought of Aupcharlie in a Grade One at Leopardstown in December shows his natural ability is mixed in with the gritty determination to come out on top.

This is something desperately needed at Cheltenham and he looks as though he will love the challenge that unique hill provides. 3/1 looks a great way to start your punting day.

Back in Focus (win) @ 3/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

2.05pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

Willie Mullins looks set to have a quick double on the card, as Pont Alexandre lines up as a well-fancied favourite in the Novices’ Hurdle.

Irish-trained runners have won three of the last five running’s and filled three of the four places behind the winner in the two years they missed, which indicates the strength of the 5yo’s chances.

Five year-olds have won the race four times over the last thirteen years (six year olds the other nine times), and the son of Dai Jin looks set to notch one back for the five year-olds on Wednesday afternoon.

His only two runs over hurdles have been incredibly impressive, both wide margin wins on bottomless ground, in Graded races.

There is nothing to suggest he will not appreciate the better ground that Cheltenham is set to offer, and the 7/4 is sure to entice many punters into getting involved and hopefully topping up the Guinness fund.

Pont Alexandre (win) @ 6/4 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

3.20pm Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre is set to go off the shortest-priced favourite at the Festival for many a year, and it is certain he himself has been the main reason behind the ticket sales for Champion Chase day.

There are very few better sights than when Nicky Henderson’s mount clears his fences with immaculate beauty and elegance. He is a cut above the field, and although there is no point getting involved from a financial view, he is sure to wow crowds with another scintillating performance.

 Sprinter Sacre @ 1/4 with accumulator Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

4.00pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Master of the Sea has landed four races on the bounce and will aiming to make it a fifth as he lines up in the Coral Cup.

The 6yo has continued to improve with each run and looks a massive price at 12/1 to continue this run of form.

Having already proved he can mix it in competitive handicaps at Newbury, the son of Supernando will be staying on best of all up the hill and may have just too much for Paul Nicholls’ favourite Wonderful Charm, who impressed on his sole start on British soil.

Master of the Sea (e/w) @ 16/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

4.40pm Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

It could carry on being a sensational day for the Irish and in particular Willie Mullins as Fatcatinthehat lines up in the Fred Winter.

He has made the transition to hurdles a smooth one, and never fails to travel impeccably for his pilot. He likes to go off from the front and do his own thing, which will help keep him away from any accident that will happen in many parts of the field with these Novices’ and it will make sure it keeps him out of trouble.

The 4yo son of Authorized is currently 12/1 in places but if any of the earlier Mullins horses to prevail, you can guarantee he will start the race a lot shorter.

Fatcatinthehat (e/w) @ 16/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365

5.15pm Weatherby’s Champion Bumper

The Bumper has always been a kind race to Ireland, with 15 of the last 20 winners having been trained there, and this year looks no different.

AJ Martin’s Golantilla has won his sole start under rules, landing a Cork National Hunt Flat race by 13l, in a very impressive manner.

Always travelling well, he stayed on best of all and was immediately introduced into the Cheltenham markets. Martin doesn’t travel over unless he thinks he has a major chance, and for this alone, the 8/1 should be taken now.

Well known for landing a few major coups in the past, it would be no surprise to see Golantilla heavily backed on the day, and it could start a very short-priced favourite.

Galantilla (e/w) @ 10/1 Bet with William Hill Bet With Bet365