Cheltenham and the Champions League

Cheltenham and the Champions League what a fantastic week of betting action with this years festival taking place behind closed doors with the bookmakers shops sadly closed.

Below is a brief overview of the key races over the four days:

Day One:

  • 1:20 – Supreme Novices
    • A subdued start to the Festival given just eight runners but the overwhelming favourite is Appreciate It, the Willie Mullins horse looks the cream of this year’s crop with the UK’s best hope being Metier.
  • 1:55 – Arkle
    • Shishkin is probably the UK’s best chance of the Festival and now Energumene has been pulled out this looks a sure-fire chance to get the UK off the mark for Nicky Henderson.
  • 3:05 – Champion Hurdle
    • The showpiece of the first day and what a cracker it looks: Goshen vs Honeysuckle vs Epatante. This looks like the race of the week, the two mares (Honeysuckle and Epatante) have Cheltenham form whereas Goshen has the opposite after his fateful fall at the last in the Triumph last year. Whatever happens this looks mouth-wateringly good.

Day Two:

  • 1:20 – Ballymore
    • This looks a cracking renewal with the top three in the market all looking rock solid, take your pick from Bob Olinger, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame
  • 1:55 – Brown Advisory
    • Many people’s NAP of the Festival, Monkfish, will look to get favourite backers off to a flyer on day two.
  • 3:05 – Champion Chase
    • Will the Irish scoop the lot on day two?! They have Chacun Pour Soi here who has looked sensational so far this season, fingers crossed he gets there in one piece and we don’t see him pulled out like last year, sadly we won’t see Altior after he was pulled this morning.
  • 3:40 – Cross Country
    • This looks like it may be the only French winner of the week, Easysland was imperious last year and should take all the beating here. We would all love to see Tiger Roll win one last time though, wouldn’t we!

Day Three

  • 1:20 – Marsh Novices’
    • This only needs two words to describe – Envoi. Allen. The NAP of the Festival for most, and barring mistakes should take all the beating here.
  • 2:30 – Ryanair
    • A real mix-up given declarations are still to be announced, but Willie Mullins holds most of the aces with Allaho, Min and Melon. The UK challenge looks to be coming from Imperial Aura.
  • 3:05 – Stayers’ Hurdle
    • This was looking like a race of the festival until Thyme Hill was pulled out, surely opening it up for Paisley Park. Sire Du Berlais will give him a lot to think about but Paisley looks to have a superb chance.

Day Four:

  • 1:20 – Triumph Hurdle
    • A quieter Friday than usual opens with a great match-up between Zanahiyr – Tritonic – Quilixios. Tritonic flies the flag for the UK and looked sensational last time out, the other two Irish runners look ominous which should make it a great race.
  • 3:05 – Gold Cup
    • The showpiece of the entire Festival, Al Boum Photo goes for three back-to-back wins. Champ will be positive for JP McManus, Royal Pagaille has the Rich Ricci colours. Throw in A Plus Tard, Minella Indo, Santini, Native River and Frodon and the biggest race of the Festival looks superbly set.
  • The next big racing event will be the Grand National at Aintree

Soccer Cheltenham and the Champions League  :

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all about horse racing this week, but there’s actually some incredible second-leg fixtures on offer in the Champions League as well!

Chelsea and Real Madrid both hold a precarious 1-0 advantage at home to Atletico Madrid and Atalanta respectively. Whilst Bayern Munich and Man City will be ensuring they don’t fall foul to a comeback from either Lazio and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Boxing Cheltenham and the Champions League :

Fight Night is once again upon us and there a few fights of interest this week which should prove to be popular with fight fans:

Artur Beterbiev vs Adam Denies:

The Russian light-heavyweight monster looks to have a routine defence here, he’s coming off the back of a two-year break after his sensational victory against Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

Krzysztof Glowacki vs Lawrence Okolie:

The vacant WBO belt is on the line and the Brit Lawrence Okoli will try his hand at world level despite only 15 pro fights. He remains unbeaten and has improved each fight, it would be a remarkable story should he go on to win the title after such a short career so far. Elsewhere on the Eddie Hearn-promoted card sees Anthony Fowler back in action and the Welshman Joe Cordina return to the ring.

 

Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Maurice Hooker:

The big fight over the pond this weekend takes place in Texas, Vergil has Terence Crawford on his mind but this fight with Hooker is anything but an easy fight.

 

All the above will be popular in the UK, NJ and Australia.

Rugby Union

It was another great weekend of Six Nations action as Ireland held off a Scotland comeback, Wales continued their Grand Slam push after putting Italy to the sword and England finally decided to turn up against France…

Not many would’ve predicted it at the start of the tournament, but Wales are now odds on favourites to top the league and a win against France on Sunday at the Stade de France will see them pick up the Grand Slam for the second time in three years.

Elsewhere this weekend, England travel to Ireland and Scotland host Italy.