Andrew David here giving you a pre Cheltenham festival preview while Clive is chasing dingo’s around Ayers rock with his gold prospecting dish in one hand and a copy of the Racing Post Cheltenham special in the other! Now that’s what you call life in the fast lane!
So its left to me to see if we can find any gold nuggets this side of the world from the great Cheltenham festival that begins in earnest this Tuesday at 1.30! – Cant wait!
If you don’t know already my staking approach on these huge and competitive events is to go Each-Way. Using Each-Way staking gives an increased chance of our chosen selection/s been captured in the placing spread and with such a strong market is a muct on most races.
Also in these days of fierce competition between bookies most if not all offer extended places with many paying up to five places on some feature races.
Regular readers of WRWM will know I’m a great advocate of Each-Way staking. Even at prices as low 2/1 you will receive 75% of your total stake returned in Handicaps, and 70% in Non Handicaps if your horse gets placed.
These regular returns flowing back to the betting bank from placed horses are great for your betting confidence. More importantly, they keep you in the game for another throw hence why I use it.
Anyway in this article I am going to highlight my top bets of the festival that you may or may not wish to follow, so here they are;
DAY (1) – Tuesday
3.30 – Champion Hurdle – 2 Miles
The feature race on Day 1, and a race where the ability to travel at speed and jump without losing momentum are crucial components.
Nicky Henderson’s BUVEUR D’AIR is the hotpot here at 2/1 generally and is going for his hattrick after wins in 2017 & 2018. His form at one stage looked like someone had drawn a straight line down the page with no less than 11 wins on the bounce!.
Not forgetting he trounced the very useful Samcro in the fighting fifth hurdle at Newcastle by 8 lengths but news over the lack of fitness and slight injury to Samcro that day has not exactly franked that form.
BUVEUR D’AIR finished second to stablemate Verdana Blue going down by a short head at a very short 1/4 price in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing day at Kempton after a very bad mistake three out.
Is BUVEUR D’AIR still value then at 2/1? Well yes, and if not beaten at Kempton would have been far shorter than this, and feel Cheltenham will suit him far better than Kempton as clearly evident by his previous wins at Prestbury park.
Kempton suited the speed of stable mate Verdana Blue that day and Beveur D’Air was not totally disgraced anyway. As I write he has just won as short priced favourite at Sandown as expected, so all going the right way for this class animal.
ADVICE: BUVEUR D’AIR – 1pts Each-way 9/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)
DAY (2) – Wednesday 13th March
2.10 – RSA Chase – 3 Miles
Run over a slightly shorter trip than the Gold Cup, the RSA is the staying Novices equivalent and can be a great pointer to future class chasers with a handful going on to take the Gold Cup itself including; Denman, Bobs Worth, and Lord Windermere. However many winners of this do tend to find the extra distance of the Gold Cup a tad demanding. It’s a race where experience is crucial and a win in either Grade 1 or 2 company an advantage. Price of winners range from 9/2 – 16/1
SANTINI (3/1) trained by Nicky Henderson has been lined up for this and was third in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last year and has not disappointed since either.
He won a grade 2 at Newbury in his early career and finished third in a grade one contest at Kempton on Boxing day.
He could well follow in the footsteps of Might Bite in 2017 as the RSA is likely to suit him more than the race at Kempton.
Delta Work if he goes for this has a big chance if not going for the 4mile National Hunt chase so will have a nibble on him also but my main advice will be Santini.
ADVICE: SANTINI – 1pts Each-way 7/2 (William Hills)
DAY (3) – Thursday 14th March
2.50 – Ryanair Chase – 2 Miles 4 Furlongs
One of my favourite races and only introduced to the festival in 2005 when the festival was extended from three days to four. A race where form horses at the top end of the market usually perform up to expectations with 11 out of the last 14 running’s won by horses at 6/1 or less.
This could well be another win for the Mullins and Walsh combo with Ruby looking to add to his 4 wins already in this but I’m going for what I think could be the fly in the ointment and it’s NOT a Mullins and Walsh combo.
It’s for the Irish trained MONALEE (9/2), second to the useful Kemboy at Leopardstown on 28th December is my shout here. The Henry De Bromhead trained mount is sure to be in the mix come the business end of the race not forgetting he was second to the highly touted Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy at the festival last March and feel he will perform better over this trip rather than 3 miles.
ADVICE: – MONALEE – 1pts Each-way 9/2 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Well that’s my 3 strongest picks for this years festival and don’t forget to go each-way on them (yes you read that correctly EACH-WAY!) even at the short prices for the reasons given above.
So whether you are going, watching at Home, or at work in between getting a bollocking from your line manager then do enjoy this great spectacle!