The long-awaited, illustrious Cheltenham Festival finally gets underway this week and punters will barely be able to contain their excitement as we head in to the first day of action on Tuesday.
Champion Hurdle Betting Tips
Champions Day is always one to remember and the main question is whether Hurricane Fly can defend his Champion Hurdle Crown and win the feature race for a third time.
This year is shaped up to be one of the most exciting renewals of the race for a very long time, with eight strong rivals ready to take on the reigning champion.
Willie Mullins’ 10-year-old and The New One are the two market leaders and have been for some time now. Both are around 11/4 with most betting firms, with My Tent Or Yours and Our Conor back at 4/1.
Hurricane Fly is obviously the one to beat. He has won 19 Grade 1’s and is more than capable of winning another, however this will certainly be one of the biggest challenges to date.
The New One has won Grade 1’s already this season and will undoubtedly be in the mix, but whether he and Sam Twiston-Davies can win this time is a tough one. Our Conor and My Tent Or Yours cannot be ignored. Both have won good races and are proven performers, so this race is sure to be an absolute thriller.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the opening race of the festival and what a fantastic start it is lined up to be. It will see the top two mile novice hurdlers in action, with Paul Nicholls’ unbeaten Irving the current market leader.
The six-year-old has thrived since going over hurdles and is sure to run well again as ground is not usually a problem.
This race has been won by horses around the 10/1 mark four times in the last five years, meaning this is one of the more unpredictable races of the day and could cause some problems for punters.
Vautour is the other leading contender who is sure to run a big race, however it may be worthy to look beyond the favourites and take a punt on Wicklow Brave for a good value bet, or even Lac Fontana who is a proven performer at Cheltenham and should run well.
Arkle Betting Tips
The Arkle is another race which will certainly give the punters some trouble, with a number of horses in serious contention. For me, Champagne Fever’s third in Ireland last time puts serious doubt in my mind for him to win, however Dodging Bullets, Rock On Ruby and Trifolium should all run well.
Rock On Ruby is a solid performer at Cheltenham, with Champion Hurdle success among strong seconds. He has looked very good jumping wise and the only real doubt is that he has only had three horses to beat in his latest two wins.
The Festival Handicap Chase is a wide open contest ran over 3m110y and really could be won by a number of horses. I am a big fan of Holywell, who represents at least place value at 14/1, however Indian Castle is another who may be worth a bet at 16/1 with Sky Bet.
Mares’ Hurdle Betting Tips
The Mares Hurdle is another race to very much look forward to. The class-act that is QUEVEGA will be bidding for a sixth consecutive win in the race, with Bet365 offering the best price of 8/11. For those who wish to back against, the best option is to bet without the favourite, as this race looks sure to be going to her again. Cockney Sparrow represents good value at 8/1 under the champion jockey, however second is the likely best finish for her.
The National Hunt Chase is a very hard one to call at this point. Foxrock is the market leader and warrants respect following two good wins over in Ireland. Shotgun Paddy and Black Thunder are two others to think about for each way punters.
The final race of the day follows trend and is another wide open race, which will be tricky for punters who can have a real look into this. Pendra is leading the betting at 7/1 with Bet365, but this race is as difficult as any to pick a winner.
Manyriverstocross and Present View are two of the shorter-priced entries who attract my attention, whilst Indian Castle again represents value depending on which race he is entered in.
For the first and last races especially, 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:
Festival Handicap Chase – HOLYWELL e/w @ 14/1
Champion Hurdle – THE NEW ONE @ 11/4
Mares’ Hurdle – QUEVEGA @ 8/11
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