The best week of the National Hunt calendar is here, The Cheltenham Festival. A superb week of racing is ahead.
There’s lots of good bookie offers flying about. Skybet have a super offer on all week. In the first race of each day, up to £20 max stake, if your horse losers, you get your stake back in cash. That’s four free bets over the week and well worth taking.
The Supreme Novice Hurdle kicks off the meeting at 1:30. Hopefully you took the advice back in December about Angels Breath and hold a 25-1 betting slip. I mentioned this horse a good few times before making his UK debut.
Angels Breath is now priced at 9-2 and looks to have a good chance. You can ignore his last run when beaten into second place. Angels Breath was short of work and the ground was too quick for him. The yard rate him highly and conditions are spot on. If you took the 25-1, lets hope for a great start.
Al Dancer looks sure to run his race although it’s a little surprising the hood has been left off. His form is rock solid and he'll give you a decent run for your money if taking the build up ok. I must mention Brandon Castle. I was keen to buy this horse at the Doncaster sales, he only made 18k so was well within our budget. However, he failed the vetting so that was that. Three wins later and a Supreme runner, it’s a case of what could have been.
The Arkle Chase is wide open and cases can be made for loads of these. Duc Des Genievres might reward EW suport priced at 7-1. Duc Des Genievres was super impressive last time out showing much improved form. The trip was 2m4, todays shorter distance might not be ideal but the ground will be very testing. If the Mullins horse can stay in touch, he's sure to be staying on strongly up that Cheltenham hill.
The Ultima Chase isn't an easy race to find the winner of. The Paul Nicholls yard are in great form, Give Me A Copper looks to have been trained for this race. 9-1 EW is a sporting bet.
The Champion Hurdle is the big race of the day. Buveur D’Air is looking to become a three-time winner, if he runs as he did last year he won’t be winning. This year’s renewal is far stronger and the best for some time. I’m not sure what to make of Laurina, she’s been beating up mares and has never ran against a gelding. She could be a machine but purely on form, she has a bit to find.
I think Apple’s Jade & Buveur D’Air will scrap it out. Apple’s Jade has been brilliant this season, her performance in the Irish Champion Hurdle was outstanding. Buveur D’Air is better this year, he’s guaranteed to run his race and knows where the finish line is.
I can’t decide between the two and will have steady bets on both.
It’s very hard to get away from Benie Des Dieux in the Mares’ Hurdle. Willie Mullins is a master of bringing horses to Cheltenham after time off. If you need a winner come this race, she could be the one to get a few quid back.
The Amateur Riders Chase closes day 1 of Cheltenham. I’ve not spent a huge amount of time on this but kept coming back to Discorama EW. He was upsides Ballyward at the last fence and arguably going better. Ballyward is priced at 5-2, Discorama 7-1, he looks a bit of value. Chef Des Obeaux will keep galloping when others have cried enough. This test of stamina will be right up his street. He looks to have a solid EW chance at odds of 16-1.