Cheltenham Betting

Jan 28, 33 days ago

Many Clouds enters Gold Cup picture

Many Clouds enters Gold Cup picture

Hennessy Gold Cup winner Many Clouds earned an 8-1 quote for the Cheltenham Gold Cup when winning on Cheltenham Trials Day for Oliver Sherwood.

Both Dynaste and Smad Place had been preferred in the betting but the improving eight-year-old refused to give way when challenged up the hill. Smad Place was 12lbs better off with Many Clouds after finishing fifth in the Hennessy but could not turn the tables on the revised terms. Dynaste now looks more likely to attempt to defend his title in the Ryanair Chase having run on only at one pace from the last.

Sherwood feels that soft ground would favour the winner on Gold Cup day and is delighted with his improvement this winter. He was quietly fancied for the RSA Chase last season but was brought down at the fourteenth fence. He was officially rated 161 after winning the Hennessy while the favourite Silviniaco Conti is currently on 174.

Many Clouds is now equal second-favourite with leading Irish hope Road To Riches who will not race again before the festival. Trainer Noel Meade has will go straight for the Gold Cup with his impressive Lexus Chase winner, ruling out a tilt at the Irish Hennessy on February 8th. Connections are hoping for better ground for the gelding with jockey Brian Cooper stating that he did not enjoy the testing conditions at Leopardstown last month.

Silviniaco Conti remains clear favourite at 3-1, despite having failed to win the Gold Cup on two previous attempts. He was travelling well when falling three from home in 2013 and led over the last three fences last year before fading into fourth on the run-in. He advertised his claims when landing the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day for the second successive season.

The fact that Silviniaco Conti has never won at Cheltenham does not worry trainer Paul Nicholls who credits the application of cheekpieces for the gelding’s improvement. With Dynaste having finished runner-up at Kempton, it seems unlikely that anything that finished behind Silviniaco Conti that day will be a threat at Cheltenham.

The Thyestes Chase winner Djakadam was cut to 14-1 after his impressive victory under top weight at Gowran Park. Trainer Willie Mullins has indicated that the Gold Cup is the likely objective for the six-year-old who was making amends for his disappointing run in the Hennessy at Newbury in November. Mullins won the Thyestes in 2014 with On His Own who was only beaten a short head by Lord Windermere in the Gold Cup last March.

Jan 22, 39 days ago

Dynaste tops entries for Cheltenham Trials Day

Dynaste tops entries for Cheltenham Trials Day

Saturday 24th January is Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham and the weather forecast suggests that the card will beat the recent cold snap. The feature race is the BetBright Cup Chase at 1.50 which has attracted eight top class entries including two festival winners.

David Pipe’s Dynaste won the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase last March but also holds an entry in the Gold Cup and Saturday’s race could decide his festival target. The popular grey was runner-up to Gold Cup favourite Silviniaco Conti in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He is currently 5-1 joint-favourite for the Ryanair and 20-1 for the Gold Cup.

Holywell has won at the festival for the past two years and looked a Gold Cup candidate when winning at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. Things have not gone to plan for Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding this season and he unseated his rider on his latest start in December.

Hennessy Gold Cup winner Many Clouds takes a step up in class for Oliver Sherwood and is joined in the line-up by fifth-placed Smad Place. Alan King’s grey has been placed in the World Hurdle twice and was runner-up in last year’s RSA Chase. The field also includes the enigmatic The Giant Bolster, placed in the last three Gold Cups and a winner at the corresponding meeting three times for David Bridgwater.

The Cleeve Hurdle at 3.35 sees the highly-rated Saphir Du Rheu return to hurdles after failing to complete in two of this three starts over fences. Trainer Paul Nicholls will wait until after Saturday’s race before deciding whether to aim for the World Hurdle or resume the gelding’s chasing career. He races in the colours of Andy Stewart who won the top staying hurdle four times with Big Buck’s.

Triumph Hurdle favourite Peace And Co could put his reputation on the line in the opening race for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. The French import coasted to an impressive 19-length victory at Doncaster in December and is currently one of the shortest priced favourites of the festival meeting at 5-2.

Value At Risk is one of several promising novices entered for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at 3pm. Dan Skelton’s six-year-old slaughtered a good field at Newbury last month and holds entries in both the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett. Channel 4 Racing will provide live coverage of the 1.50, 2.25, 3.00 and 3.35 races.

 

Jan 19, 42 days ago

Sprinter Sacre defeat sets up Champion Chase thriller

Sprinter Sacre defeat sets up Champion Chase thriller

The long-awaited return to action of Sprinter Sacre in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot has injected new life into the Champion Chase market for Cheltenham in March.

Nicky Henderson’s stable star was beaten by Tingle Creek winner Dodging Bullets but seems to have come out of the race well and is expected to be a lot sharper at the festival meeting. The imposing gelding had not raced since being pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton just over a year ago due to a fibrillating heart. In winning his previous ten chases, Sprinter Sacre had been rated the third best chaser of all-time by Timeform behind only Arkle and Flyingbolt.

He has been monitored closely by veterinary experts as Henderson gradually brought him back into full training. A recent visit to Newbury racecourse where he jumped five fences convinced connections that it was time to return to action with the aim of reclaiming the Champion Chase crown that he won in 2013.

He looked to be travelling better than Dodging Bullets before the home turn but his lack of fitness eventually took its toll and he was beaten three lengths. There was some concern when Sprinter Sacre was found to have bled slightly from his nostrils but further examination revealed nothing significant. Dodging Bullets has not put a foot wrong in his last two races and is fully entitled to take his chance in the big race on March 11th.

Sprinter Sacre will not race again before the Queen Mother Champion Chase where he will clash with reigning champion Sire De Grugy as well as Saturday’s winner. The acid test for Sire De Grugy will come in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 7th.

The popular chestnut swept all before him last season, winning four Grade 1 chases including the Champion Chase. He has won eight of his last nine races over fences but was found to be lame shortly before his intended seasonal debut in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November. The latest reports from Gary Moore’s stable have been encouraging and there is every chance of him making the big race line-up.

With Dodging Bullets currently the best two-miler on form, the race is developing into a classic renewal. Sprinter Sacre has retained his position at the head of the betting but has eased to 11-4 with Sire De Grugy next best at 7-2 and Dodging Bullets at 5-1.

Mar 12, 355 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (13 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (13 March)

It’s St Patrick’s Thursday at Cheltenham and all eyes will be on four times World Hurdle winner Big Buck’s as the wonder horse tries to make it five wins in six years. Does the Paul Nicholls legend still have what it takes or could a young pretender such as Annie Power or At Fishers Cross end his amazing run?

Keep reading for our preview of all Thursday’s action from the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

World Hurdle

All eyes here will be on Big Buck’s, looking to win an unprecedented fifth World Hurdle crown. No horse had won the World Hurdle three years in a row before Big Buck’s smashed that record in 2011 and Paul Nicholls’ horse defied odds again when winning the race for the fourth consecutive year in 2012.

After missing last year’s renewal, the question is whether Big Buck’s still has what it takes to win in this company.

The favourite for the race is Annie Power. Jockey Ruby Walsh is confident that she can stay the three mile distance. “It’s a big decision [to run in the World Hurdle] and I hope it’s the right one. No-one can be 100 per cent certain that she’ll stay the 3m until she’s run over the trip.

“The ground shouldn’t really matter to her. She wouldn’t want extremes – like heavy or quick – but neither will the rest of the field.

“I’d prefer if Big Buck’s didn’t finish second to us but if Annie Power doesn’t win than I hope Big Buck’s does. But that’s emotional – and you have to leave emotions out of these things.”

Big Buck’s stablemate Salubrious has put up some excellent performances this season and looked particularly unlucky when making a mistake at a crucial time in the best World Hurdle trial, the Long Walk at Ascot. He could go well at a big price, although it’s worth remembering that the last ten winner of the World Hurdle have gone off at 17/2 or less.

Ryanair Chase

The winner of the Ryanair Chase is normally a horse who has previous winning form over 2m 5f and some previous Cheltenham success. Only the first winner of the race, Thisthatandtother, and 2012 champion Riverside Theatre don’t tick these boxes.

Dynaste is the favourite although the problem with the ante-post betting for this race is that this it is often one of a number of options as connections decide between Champion Chase and Gold Cup alternatives or maybe even a handicap.

Benefficient won at the Festival last year over a similar distance and could go well although it may pay to see which horses make the race before making a decision. The same is true of the JLT Novices Chase which opens Thursday’s action.

Thursday’s other races

Fingal Bay and If In Doubt are joint favourites for the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle. All of the last ten winners of this race had either won or finished second over three miles or further and that favours the former slightly more than the latter.

Clonard Lad was a disappointing sixth last time out in a 3 mile race at Punchestown and so a better each-way bet may be Buddy Bolero who won the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over three miles at Chepstow a couple of weeks ago.

With a 66/1, 50/1, 33/1 and two 25/1 winners in the last ten years in the Festival Plate, backing an outsider could prove profitable. Run over 2m 5f with 17 fences to be cleared, the race has been won four times by Nicky Henderson who looks to be relying on Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Colour Squadron this time. Double Ross could go well for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Indian Castle is the clear favourite for Thursday’s final race, the Kim Muir Handicap Chase.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 12, 355 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (12 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (12 March)

There’s plenty to look forward to on day two of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. Sprinter Sacre’s withdrawal from the Queen Mother Champion Chase has blown the field wide open while there are plenty of competitive races for you to get your teeth into.

Here’s our preview of all Wednesday’s action.

Neptune Novices Hurdle

Looking at recent winners of this race, the victor is generally a five or six year old with recent good form, odds of 20/1 or less and has ideally never finished outside of the first two places in their races.

In addition, only two of the last ten winners had run at the Festival before and so it can pay to pick a later maturing novice. And, Irish horses have won half of the last ten renewals.

David Pipe admitted at a recent preview evening that he had run Un Temps Pour Tout over the wrong distance on his first start in the UK but he ran an excellent race in obliterating the field at Ascot in February. The five year old Irish horse ticks all the right boxes and looks great value at 14/1.

Faugheen is the clear favourite from Briar Hill.

RSA Chase

In the last 16 years, only four winners of the RSA Chase were sent off market leader, and only two more were sent off as second favourite. Indeed, six of the sixteen winners were double figure prices, including 16/1 shot Boston Angel in 2011 and 25/1 chance Rule Supreme in 2004.

Ballycasey is this year’s favourite and could well be the horse to buck this trend. The 7 year old has been mightily impressive under Ruby Walsh in his last two outings and his only defeat to date came against Morning Assembly at Punchestown last April.

A 7 year old horse has won this race in each of the last seven years and so there’s bound to be plenty of interest in Smad Place. The grey jumps well, travels strongly and has stamina in abundance and his Cheltenham Festival form must also be considered a strong positive.

According to trainer Paul Nicholls his 7 year old Sam Winner also has a chance. He told the Guardian: “Ballycasey might be the one to beat if he turns up in it but several others have got a chance and Sam Winner is definitely one of them.”

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre went off the 1/3 favourite in this race last year and would have been an overwhelming favourite this time around. The eight-year-old won the race by 19 lengths at last year’s Festival but was pulled up at Kempton in December amid fears of an irregular heartbeat.

His withdrawal has left the field wide open, particularly considering favourite Sire de Grugy has never performed particularly well at Cheltenham. The need for previous form at the course and the Festival itself is paramount with only Newmill and Master Minded of recent winners having not already run at the Festival.

Despite his lack of Cheltenham form there are plenty of reasons to back the favourite. Sire de Grugy has won his four races this term by 30 lengths and is getting better all the time. He’s also a second season chaser and they have won this race five times in the last dozen years.

Seven of the last ten winners of this race have returned an SP of 5/1 or shorter and so it has traditionally been an excellent race for punters. Backing the favourite could pay dividends.

Benefficient, Captain Conan and Arvika Ligeonniere are the other leading contenders while Baily Green chased home Simonsig at 33/1 in the Arkle last season and could be a lively each-way bet.

Other horses to watch on Wednesday

Lightly raced horses tend to do well in the Coral Cup with most of the winners in the last decade having less than ten runs over hurdles. In addition, horses that finished first or second last time out tend to do well unlike the favourites which have only won two of the last 19 renewals.

Irish runner Champagne West ticks all the right boxes as does six year old Kayf Moss.

27 of the last 32 placed horses in the Cross Country Chase were trained in Ireland and last year’s winner Big Shu has an excellent chance. The 2013 winner has never been out of the first two in his four Cross Country races to date and he ran really well when finishing runner-up to Love Rory in the best trial for this race, the PP Hogan at Punchestown.

Nineteen out of the last twenty-one winners of the Champion Bumper won last time out. Willie Mullins has trained the winner of this race eight times and so there will be plenty of interest in Black Hercules and Shaneshill who have both won all their races to date.

Dawalan is the clear favourite for the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 11, 356 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (11 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (11 March)

The opening day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival has some great races to look forward to. As well as Hurricane Fly bidding for a third win in the Champion Hurdle we also have Quevega going for an unprecedented sixth win and a wide open field in the Arkle.

Keep reading for a preview of Tuesday’s action.

Supreme Novices Hurdle

For the Festival’s opening race it pays to concentrate on five and six-year-olds as they have won all bar six of the renewals of this event since 1972.

The six year old Irving has won his last five races including the recent Dovecote Novices Hurdle at Kempton and is a worthy favourite. Four out of four over hurdles since arriving with Paul Nicholls, the trainer says: “He’s got loads of speed, jumps really nicely and will hopefully be a really interesting horse for the rest of the season and on into next year.”

Irish horses have won 12 out of the last 22 renewals and Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave also ticks the right boxes at 13/2.

Arkle

The last ten winners of the Arkle have all gone off at 9/1 or under with an odds-on favourite winning under Barry Geraghty in each of the last two years.

Irish favourite Champagne Fever is the 11/4 favourite after a win at Punchestown last time out.

Irish Arkle winner Trifolium is an interesting one to watch and is good value at 5/1. Despite being beaten by 8/1 chance Felix Yonger (second in the Irish Arkle) earlier in the season Trifolium has visibly improved by the run over fences and could go well here.

Valdez gave the beleaguered Alan King his first win since the stable was closed due to a bug when he triumphed in the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster. His previous win – by 24 lengths in a handicap event at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting – could barely have been more impressive and so he could also be one to watch at 8/1.

Champion Hurdle

If Hurricane Fly can win the Champion Hurdle for the third time it would rank as his greatest achievement as he will face strong competition this year from a number of talented youngsters.

There has been plenty of interest in Our Conor after his impressive run in the Triumph Hurdle last year. Dessie Hughes has won this race twice before and has been training the five year old with this race in mind. If he can reproduce his Triumph Hurdle performance even this top class field will struggle to cope with him.

The New One and My Tent Or Yours could barely be separated at Kempton in December and it’s open debate as to what would have happened had the Nigel Twiston-Davies horse jumped the final flight cleanly.

The New One’s jumping remains a slight cause for concern but can compensate with his lightning acceleration and should be close here.

Tuesday’s other races

While only one six-year-old has won the National Hunt Chase since 1989, the favourite this year is the Ted Walsh trained Foxrock. His jumping has improved race by race and he certainly looks to have the stamina for this tough test.

O’Faolains Boy won at Ascot last time out under Barry Geraghty and has been well backed for this race. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for Just A Par, trained by Paul Nicholls. Just A Par is near the top of the official ratings for this race having already won a Grade Two event and has apparently had a wind operation since his disappointing effort in the Feltham at Christmas.

The Baylis is always a tough race to call with a 33/1, a 28/1 and a 14/1 winner in the last four years. Only two favourites have won since 1977 and so it may be worth swerving Holywell and Shutthefrontdoor on that basis.

The one key trend for the OLBG Mares Hurdle is: back Quevega. This amazing horse has won this race five times in succession and it is very hard to see how she won’t make it an amazing sixth Cheltenham Festival victory in 2014.

She has gone off the odds-on favourite in each of the last three years and another win here would be a terrific story.

The final race on Tuesday is the Rewards4Racing Novices Handicap Chase. Pendra and Manyriverstocross have been heavily backed in the ante-post betting as has 12/1 shot Present View.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 11, 356 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival Preview (10 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival Preview (10 March)

Cheltenham is upon us once again. And, in the absence of recent Cheltenham darlings Denman, Sprinter Sacre and Kauto Star, 2014 gives a new breed of horses the chance to become legends.

Many of the major races are wide open this year, and so here’s our preview of some of the Festival’s most important events.

Champion Hurdle

Six to nine year olds have the best record in the Champion Hurdle although this year’s favourite is the 10 year old 2013 champion Hurricane Fly.

Even though Our Conor has been beaten by Hurricane Fly in his last two races, he was hugely impressive in the Triumph Hurdle last year. The five year old has been brought along slowly this season by Dessie Hughes and the trainer was quite bullish in a recent quote about his charge overturning this season’s defeats.

Hughes has won the Champion Hurdle twice before but Our Conor will need to reproduce his Triumph Hurdle performance. Remember also that just one five year old has won the Champion Hurdle in the last 20 years.

My Tent or Yours and The New One are the other serious challengers for this opening day race.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

The need for previous form at the course is crucial in this race. Only Newmill in 2006 and Master Minded in 2008 had not already run at the Festival and so proven Festival form is a huge plus.

In the absence of last year’s winner Sprinter Sacre, the favourite is Sire de Grugy who has won six of his last seven races. The 8 year old has a couple of second place finishes at Cheltenham to his name but the horses that beat him – Captain Conan in 2012 and Kid Cassidy in 2013 – also run here.

Seven of the last ten winners gone off at 5/1 or shorter and that points towards Sire de Grugy, Benefficient and Arvika Ligeonierre.

World Hurdle

Big Buck’s missed out on the Festival in 2013 but returns with the aim of regaining his World Hurdle crown. Paul Nicholls’ horse became the first to win this race three times with his triumph in 2011 but the question mark is whether the Cheltenham favourite still has what it takes to win.

An 18-run winning streak was ended at Festival Trials Day although trainer Nicholls remains pleased with his horse. After the race he said: “The horse travelled well, jumped well, quickened going to the last, and then got tired on very bad ground on the run-in.”

Shocks are rare in this race while Grade One or Two winning form and Cheltenham Festival experience also look to be essential criteria. Big Buck’s ticks all these boxes and so may still have enough to win. Beyond the favourite, the hugely exciting More Than That is one to watch while Big Buck’s stablemate Salubrious won at the Festival last year and could offer some each-way value.

Gold Cup

With two previous winners in the field, the Gold Cup once again promises to be a hard fought contest. Last year’s winner Bobs Worth is the favourite after his win in the Lexus Chase over Christmas, but only after the withdrawal of the much fancied Cue Card.

Silviniaco Conti would have gone close last year had he not fallen three out and should go well again this time. He ran well in winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton and trainer Paul Nicholls recently told the Guardian: “All the good horses have fallen at some time in their career, it just so happened that he did it in the Gold Cup when he was going well, but he’ll have learned from that.”

Last Instalment is the leading Irish challenger while there will be plenty of sentimental backers for 2011 winner Long Run.

Other horses to watch

Trofolium looks a better alternative than the favourite Champagne Fever in the Arkle while Irving is the favourite to benefit from the Cheltenham Roar and win the opening event, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

In the last 16 years, only four winners of the RSA Chase were sent off market leader, and only two more were sent off as second favourite. Indeed, six of the sixteen winners were double figure prices, including 16/1 shot Boston Angel in 2011 and 25/1 chance Rule Supreme in 2004.

Paul Nicholls believes that Sam Winner has a chance – he won at Cheltenham in the autumn on oft ground – but the favourite Ballycasey is the one to beat.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 11, 356 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (9 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (9 March)

There’s plenty to look forward to on days three and four of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. One of the recent legends of the meeting, Big Buck’s, goes in the World Hurdle while there are two previous winners in the Gold Cup field.

Keep reading for our betting preview of days three and four of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival including the Albert Bartlett, Triumph Hurdle, World Hurdle and Gold Cup

St Patrick’s Thursday

The big race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival in 2014 is the thrilling World Hurdle. The stayers have their moment in the limelight and all eyes will be on Big Buck’s as he goes for a fifth win in six years for trainer Paul Nicholls.

Big Buck’s missed out on the Festival in 2013 but returns with the aim of regaining his World Hurdle crown. Paul Nicholls’ horse tore up the history books with his third win in 2011 but the question mark is whether the Cheltenham favourite still has what it takes to win.

An 18-run winning streak was ended at Festival Trials Day although trainer Nicholls remains pleased with his horse. After the race he said: “Sam [Twiston-Davies] rode him exactly how we had discussed beforehand. The horse travelled well, jumped well, quickened going to the last, and then got tired on very bad ground on the run-in.”

Shocks are rare in this race while Grade One or Two winning form and Cheltenham Festival experience also look to be essential criteria. Big Buck’s ticks all these boxes and so may still have enough to win at tasty odds of 2/1. Beyond the favourite, the hugely exciting More Than That is worth an each-way investment at 7/1.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

The final day of the meeting features the Cheltenham Gold Cupand all eyes are on Bobs Worth to see if he can repeat his success of 2013. The Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Hurdle race are other top races on day four of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Horses to look for in the Albert Bartlett are those well fancied six or seven-year-olds with good form in high class company. Last year’s Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth won this race in 2011 and it has produced plenty of horses that have gone on to do well over fences. Irish horse Kings Palace won impressively at Cheltenham in December and is the 3/1 favourite.

Some experience over hurdles and a proven ability to win, preferably in a good class race, is ideal in the Triumph Hurdle, as is plenty of stamina.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the first three horses in the betting filled three of the first four places home. 9/1 third favourite Guitar Pete has never finished outside the top two over fences and looked great when winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.

This year’s Gold Cup promises to be an intriguing contest. Last year’s winner Bobs Worth is the favourite after his win in the Lexus Chase over Christmas, but only after the withdrawal of Cue Card who slaughtered him at Haydock recently.

Silviniaco Conti was travelling extremely well when he fell [three out] in last year’s Gold Cup and is again one to watch. His win at the King George VI Chase at Kempton shows that he is a stayer and he’d have clearly rewarded punters last year were it not for his mistake. Trainer Paul Nicholls recently told the Guardian: “All the good horses have fallen at some time in their career, it just so happened that he did it in the Gold Cup when he was going well, but he’ll have learned from that.”

Last Instalment is the leading Irish challenger while there will be plenty of sentimental backers for 2011 winner Long Run at 25/1.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 7, 360 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (8 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (8 March)

This year’s Cheltenham Festival starts on Tuesday and the first day at Prestbury Park is many people’s favourite. Seven high class races including three of the Festival’s biggest events, there’s plenty for punters to get involved with on Champion Day.

Wednesday is Ladies Day at Cheltenham and features the Queen Mother Champion Chase: one of the biggest races of the season.

Our guide looks ahead to the big events and horses to follow on the first two days of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Champion Day

2014’s Cheltenham Festival will get under way with the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ at 1.30pm on Tuesday. The Supreme Novices Hurdle is the first race of the meeting while the Arkle Chase is just as exciting over the bigger fences at Prestbury Park. The feature race of the day is the brilliant Champion Hurdle over two miles and it promises to be a classic renewal.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle is a great way to kick off the Festival and canny punters can get off to a flyer. Shocks in this race are rare and the last six winners have gone off as 12/1 or less.

Five and six-year-olds have won all but six of the renewals of this event since 1972 and Irish horses have won twelve out of the last 22 races. Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave ticks the right boxes at 6/1.

The last ten winners of the Arkle have all gone off at 9/1 or under with an odds-on favourite winning under Barry Geraghty in each of the last two years. Irish favourite Champagne Fever could see corks popping this year and is the 3/1 favourite after a win at Punchestown in December.

Irish Arkle winner Trifolium is an interesting one to watch and is good value at 5/1. Despite being beaten by 8/1 chance Felix Yonger (second in the Irish Arkle) earlier in the season Trifolium has visibly improved by the run over fences and could go well here.

Six to nine year olds have the best record in the Champion Hurdle and so this is a mark against the 10 year old favourite and 2013 champion Hurricane Fly. If you want to oppose the favourite then there was little to choose between My Tent or Yours and The New One at the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day while Our Conor has been beaten by Hurricane Fly in his last two races (plus only one five year old has won the Champion Hurdle in the last 20 years).

Ladies Day

The feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival is of course the brilliant Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles. It is one of the biggest races of the season and always proves to be a massive race for punters both on and off course.

As with so many races at the Festival the need for previous form at the course is crucial in this race. Only Newmill in 2006 and Master Minded in 2008 had not already run at the Festival and so proven Festival form is a huge plus.

Seven of the last ten winners gone off at 5/1 or shorter and so, in the absence of Sprinter Sacre, the 2/1 favourite is Sire de Grugy who has won six of his last seven races. After a great run at Leopardstown in December, Benefficient has chances at 6/1.

The main support race on Wednesday is the three mile RSA Chase. The winner of this race is generally a seven year old horse who has made the top four on all their completed starts. Ballycasey has five wins and a third place in six races and the 7 year old is the 4/1 favourite. Morning Assembly is also one to watch at 8/1.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 6, 361 days ago

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (7 March)

2014 Cheltenham Festival preview (7 March)

Between 11th and 14th March 2014, over 200,000 people are expected to head to Prestbury Park for this year’s Cheltenham Festival. The Cheltenham Festival is the UK’s second biggest horse racing event – only the Grand National is bigger – with 27 high quality races over the four days.

Visitors to the Festival consume 220,000 pints of Guinness, 20,000 bottles of champagne and 10,000 gallons of tea and coffee over the four days. And, every year, race goers eat sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs that would stretch three miles if laid end to end.

Our guide tells you everything you need to know about this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

£600 million staked on the Festival

This year’s Cheltenham Festival features 27 high quality races including feature events such as the Arkle, the Champion Hurdle, the World Hurdle and the famous Gold Cup. And, as well as being one of the big weeks in the UK’s sporting calendar, it is also one of the UK’s biggest betting events.

At least £1 million changes hands on each race in the betting ring at Prestbury Park while the four day festival accounts for around one in every ten pounds spent annually on the Tote’s on-course pool betting.

And, it’s not just visitors to the Festival that like flutter on the event. Over half a billion pounds is staked on the Festival each year and a bad meeting for bookmakers can have a significant impact on their annual profits.

So, whether you are planning to head to Cheltenham this year or you want to place a bet at your local bookie, online or on your mobile phone, it’s never been easier.

What you’ll see at this year’s Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is held over four days, from Tuesday 11th to Friday 14th March 2014:

  • Tuesday 11th March is Champion Day – The first race begins with the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ and the highlight of the day is the Champion Hurdle featuring 2011 and 2013 winner Hurricane Fly
  • Wednesday 12th March is Ladies’ Day – including the RSA Chase and Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • Thursday 13th March is St Patrick’s Thursday – including the Ryanair Chase and the World Hurdle featuring four times winner and Cheltenham legend Big Buck’s
  • Friday 14th March is Cheltenham Gold Cup Day – Can 2013 winner Bobs Worth triumph again or will 2011 winner Long Run regain the crown?

The event begins on Tuesday 11th March 2014 with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and ends on Friday afternoon with the Grand Annual Chase. Horses to watch out for include the brilliant Quevega, bidding to win the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year. Big Buck’s is trying to win his fifth World Hurdle, Hurricane Fly is the favourite to retain his Champion Hurdle crown and Irish Arkle winner Trifolium is an interesting pick in Tuesday’s Arkle.

This year’s Gold Cup should also be a great race with a handful of horses boasting genuine chances. 2013 winner Bobs Worth is the favourite from Silviniaco Conti who was running well last year when he fell three fences out. Last Instalment also has chances as do First Lieutenant and 2011 winner Long Run.

Cheltenham Betting

Mar 15, 717 days ago

2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Preview

2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Preview

For the first time in six years Kauto Star or Denman won’t grace the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Between them they managed three wins and five places in the Blue Riband event, but with their exit new talent can come to fore.

Mar 15, 717 days ago

2013 Cheltenham Festival – Day Four Preview and Betting Tips

2013 Cheltenham Festival – Day Four Preview and Betting Tips

We move into the final day of the four day meeting and with heavy rain forecast I think we’ll need plenty of luck in finding a winner or two. A heavy down pour(s) could force a going change so you may have to adjust your bets throughout the day in the hope of getting ahead. We have two of the most competitive handicaps of the year on this card so don’t be surprised if you draw a blank, just like yesterday.