The second day of the festival on Wednesday is set to be another thrilling day of action, however the focus is likely to be as much on who will not be racing as to who will.
Sprinter Sacre was one of the highlights of the festival last year after romping home in the Queen Mother Chase with such style and flair and horse racing fans were dealt a devastating blow a couple of weeks ago when Nicky Henderson announced the class-act would no longer be figured in the race.
Champion Chase Betting Tips
This has made for an even more wide open contest now, with Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy the 5/2 market leader with most leading firms. The question that a minority wondered, as to whether Sire De Grugy could have beaten Sacre will remain unanswered, as Jamie Moore will bid to lead his eight-year-old to a fourth straight win.
Captain Conan is said to be in fantastic shape coming into the race, however he will need to improve to reverse his latest result with the favourite. I have always been a fan of Arvika Ligeonniere and if he gets the run of the race with no mistakes, he poses a huge threat.
For me, Hinterland poses as bigger threat as any to the market leader. Nicholls’ six-year-old won a Grade 1 at Sandown over this distance and is sure to run a big race at tempting odds of 11/1 with Bet365.
Neptune Novices’ Hurdle Tips
The Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle is one I have been very much looking forward to, after following the two favourites throughout the season. Willie Mullins’ Faugheen has been a breath of fresh air over in Ireland, where he has won all four of his races this season.
That form would usually cement favouritism, however he locks thorns with one of the best British, Novice hurdler’s Red Sherlock, who also remains unbeaten and has won four out of four this season.
Both represent good value, however the challenge for punters is as difficult as any.. Which one will come out on top? Or will there be an upset?
For me, Red Sherlock has been exceptional in every race and I have fancied him for a while. Many books have slashed his odds this week and David Pipe seems to be very confident in the 5-year-old who has been one of my favourite horses to watch this season and represents great value, with Paddy Power offering 9/2.
RSA Chase Tips
The RSA Chase is always another fantastic race which represents great value for punters in what is usually a tricky contest.
The market leader is another of Mullins’ great chasers, Ballycasey who ran a fine race when beating Wednesday’s rival Don Cossack by four lengths at Leopardstown in February.
Interestingly, 12 of the last 14 winners of the RSA have been seven years old, which means Mullins’ 5/1 favourite also has that on his side. The other one that stands out for me here is Sam Winner of the Nicholls yard.
Sky Bet offer 12/1 for him which represents good each-way value for a horse in fine form, who finished only two lengths behind Smad Place last time and won at Cheltenham prior to that.
Coral Cup Tips
The Coral Cup is as wide open as ever this time and it would be no surprise to see a similar winner to last year. Medinas bagged the prize for Alan King, defying long odds of 33/1. Dunguib leads the betting for Philip Fenton in what could well be his last festival.
Two that stand out for me are David Pipe’s Un Temps Pour Tout and Gordon Elliot’s Bayan, who are both currently 14/1 and in with a real chance on the back of good runs.
The Cross Country Chase is one to very much look forward to, with last year’s winner Big Shu heading the market at 4/1 best price with William Hill. The favourite went on to win again at Punchestown shortly after his Cheltenham success, before finishing second to Love Rory in February.
He is sure to have benefited from that run and will be in tip-top condition going into this one. Balthazar King is extremely hard to get away from for me. The conditions should be fine and the horse just loves to run at Cheltenham so we can expect a real thriller of a race again.
Dormello Mo won well at Sandown on Saturday and symbolises decent value at 8/1 for the penultimate race of the day. Dawalan is sure to run a big race but is risky to back at 6/1, whilst Noble Inn and Adriana Des Mottes represent each-way value at 16/1.
Willie Mullins’ Black Hercules leads the betting at 11/2 for the Champion Bumper which is the last race on Wednesday. He cruised to an impressive eight and a half length victory at Gowran Park in January and is a deserved favourite.
There are plenty of exciting competitors set to run in this one though, with both Shaneshill and Killultagh Vic in fine form. It may be worth looking further in the betting for this one, as El Namoose, Silver Concorde and Definitely Red are worth a punt.
On a day of very competitive and tricky racing, it is great that Bet365 offer a Non-runner, No bet offer which is sure to be a relief to some punters betting. This ensures that any bets on horses that are later withdrew from a race will be refunded.
Another great Bet365 offer is the best odds guaranteed on every single race. This works well for all bets because if a punter bets on a horse which later drifts in price, the best price will be taken as the race starts to improve value.
They also offer exclusive deals for all races televised on Channel 4. If a punter backs a winner at odds of 4/1 or better, they will receive a free bet of the same stake for the following race. This means that the more bets won, the more free bets!
Finally, in a festival with so many competitive races, the 1/4 odds a place that will be offered is great for those backing each-way.
BETS OF THE DAY:
SIRE DE GRUGY @ 5/2
RED SHERLOCK @ 9/2
BALTHAZAR KING E/W @ 11/2
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