Pages

Friday, 15 February 2019

Best Bets For The Four Champions Races At The 2019 Cheltenham Festival

There are 28 races scheduled for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival but the four Championship contests are the ones which stand out more than any other across the week. Here is a preview of those four races and the best bets in each renewal.

Champion Hurdle

Buveur D’Air is bidding for his third straight Champion Hurdle success this year which would put him alongside some of the great hurdlers who have managed to achieve that feat. The eight-year-old tops the betting to come out on top again, however, his defeat at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle may suggest he is worth opposing at the prices this year.

The good news for racing fans is that connections of Apple’s Jade have revealed she will line up in this race after she was so impressive in the Irish Champion Hurdle earlier this month. Annie Power was the last mare to win the premier hurdle contest in 2016 and with a seven-pound weight allowance in her favour, she is likely to have plenty of supporters.

At The Races via Twitter

The top two in the betting both have solid chances, however, it may pay to back the younger mare in the race in Laurina who is available at 7/2. She was such a comfortable winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last season and looks more than good enough to take her chance against the opposite sex here.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Blue Riband event of National Hunt racing and as always it should be another fascinating contest. Last year’s winner Native River is set to return to bid to retain his crown, something which has not been done since Best Mate won the race for the third time in 2014.

Native River has had an average campaign so far as he was second at Haydock in the opening leg of the Chase Triple Crown, while he finished third at Kempton in the King George VI Chase. This 3m2f contest is a real test of stamina though and will suit him perfectly once again.

The leading novice of last season Presenting Percy will be stepping up against the older and more experienced horses this time around and on the evidence of his dominant RSA Chase victory last March, you think he would have a strong chance. Sadly we have only seen him once this season and after making a winning reappearance at Gowran Park, he was cut for Gold Cup glory by the bookmakers.

Last year’s runner up Might Bite has had a really disappointing campaign so far. He was travelling so well in the King George at Kempton before dropping down the field in the closing stages. Although there may have been reason for that poor showing from Nicky Henderson’s horse, it is hard to see him returning to form again in time therefore at 5/1 in the ante-post market, Native River is the best bet to outstay his rivals up the hill for a second time in the Blue Riband contest.

Queen Mother Champion Chase
One of the shortest priced favourites at the Festival this year is Altior who is 2/5 to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second consecutive year. Henderson’s runner has won all 12 of his starts over fences and it is hard to see when his first defeat will come, such has been his dominance.


Racing Post via Twitter

Altior began his season at Sandown where he prevailed in the Tingle Creek Chase. Just weeks later he won the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, while more recently, he was faultless again in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

If you are not having a bet in the Champion Chase, you can admire the quality of Altior as horses like him don’t come around too often. For those looking to have a bet though, the best way to play here is in the betting without the favourite market with Min who finished second behind the winner in 2018. Willie Mullins’ chaser landed the Dublin Chase earlier this month and he looks to be the one who will get closest to Altior again.

Stayers’ Hurdle

The Stayer’s Hurdle is one of the most open Championship races this season but the standout performer in the division this season has undoubtedly been Paisley Park who has claimed the Long Walk Hurdle and Cleeve Hurdle.

Emma Lavelle’s stablestar was so impressive last time at Cheltenham where he was ridden clear after the last hurdle to record a 12 length margin of victory. A repeat of that performance will ensure he is hard to beat in this race where he is 9/4 in the betting.

One of the most interesting runners in the race is former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen. At his peak the Irish horse was very difficult to beat over 2m. On his opening appearance at 3m he won the Champion Stayers’ Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, therefore, he has proved he can be effective at this trip. Willie Mullins’ runner will tempt plenty of punters in at 8/1 but it is Paisley Park who looks the most likely winner to cap off what has been a fantastic campaign for the horse.

If you are having a bet on the four Championship races today, a number of bookmakers are now offering non-runner no bet, therefore, you will be able to get insurance just in case your horse does not line up on the day of the contest.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Trainers to Follow at the Cheltenham Festival


Aside from the Aintree Grand National there can surely be no more highly anticipated horse racing event or Festival held in the UK than the Cheltenham Festival.
 
In the past decade, the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award at the Cheltenham Festival has been presented to just four trainers, Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls. Mullins, Henderson and Nicholls are, in fact, the three most successful trainers in the history of the Festival, with 61, 60 and 43 winners, respectively. By contrast, Gordon Elliott is a relative newcomer, who didn’t saddle his first Festival winner until 2011, but already has 22 winners to his name, including a record-equalling eight in 2018.



At the time of writing, it’s 16/1 bar anyone other than Elliott, Mullins or Henderson winning the Irish Leading Trainer Award in 2019 – Nicholls is a 33/1 chance in the betting odds, despite leading the trainers’ championship – but we thought we’d have a look at the record of some less-heralded trainers who’ve paid their way at the Festival over the years.



Jonjo O’Neill: 26 Cheltenham Festival Winners



Nowadays the Master of Jackdaws Castle, in Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire, less than 30 minutes’ drive from Prestbury Park, Jonjo O’Neill trained his first Festival winner, Danny Connors in the Pertemps Final in 1991, from his original base in Penrith, Cumbria. He has won the Leading Trainer Award just once, in 2003, but other highlights include winning the Stayers’ Hurdle twice, with Iris’s Gift in 2004 and More Of That in 2014 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Synchronised in 2012.



Philip Hobbs: 19 Cheltenham Festival Winners



Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs saddled his first Festival winner, Moody Man in the County Hurdle, in 1990 and, although he is unlikely to win Leading Trainer Award, his runners are always worth a second look. His most recent success was with Defi Du Seuil, in the Triumph Hurdle, in 2017, but he also won the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with Flagship Uberalles, in 2002 and the Champion Hurdle, with Rooster Booster, in 2003.



Edward O’Grady: 18 Cheltenham Festival Winners



Co. Tipperary trainer Edward O’Grady saddled his first Festival winner, Mr. Midland, in the National Hunt Chase way back in 1974, but has since added 17 more to his tally. His victories include Stayers’ Hurdle twice, with Flame Gun in 1978 and Mountrivers in 1980, the Weatherbys Champion Bumper twice, with Mucklemeg in 1994 and Pizarro in 2002 , the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle twice, with Golden Cygnet in 1978 and Back In Front in 2003 and the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle twice, with Drumlargan in 1980 and Mister Donovan in 1982. Admittedly, O’Grady hasn’t saddled a winner at the Festival since 2006, when he won the Coral Cup with Sky’s The Limit, but he remains the third most successful Irish trainer of all time at the March showpiece meeting.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Funny Cheltenham Joke

Funny Cheltenham Joke
Riding a firm favourite at the annual Cheltenham Festival, the horse is well ahead of the rest of the field. Suddenly, out of nowhere he's hit on the back of the head by a turkey, then a string of sausages. Rattled and confused, he somehow manages to keep control of his horse and stays ahead of the pack. Moments later however, he's struck again, this time by several mince pies and a box of Christmas crackers. He struggles to keep the lead, but somehow still manages to stay ahead of the field. With the win in his sights though, he’s then struck on the head by a bottle of sherry and, to add insult to injury, a Christmas pudding. As result, he finishes third. Angered, he immediately goes to the stewards to complain that he has been seriously hampered. 

and a couple of bonus funnies:

 
I found a way to make a horse stand perfectly still. Place a bet on him.
 ---

A talking horse walks into a bar and approaches the manager. “Excuse me, good sir,” the horse says, “are you hiring?”
The manager looks the horse up and down and says, “Sorry, pal. Why don’t you try the circus?”
The horse nickers. “Why would the circus need a bartender?”

---

 
What's the difference between praying in church and at the track?
At the track you really mean it!


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2012


cheltenham festival 2012
Champion Hurdle

The two previous winners, Hurricane Fly and Binocular, returned for the 2012 renewal of the Champion Hurdle, with the former sent off 4/6 to make it 2-2 at the Festival. However, on good going, it was Rock On Ruby, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Noel Fehily, who kept on best to beat Overturn by 3¾ lengths. Hurricane Fly could make no impression in the closing stages and finished third, a further 1¾ lengths. Officially, the winner was credited to Nicholls, but Rock On Ruby was mainly prepared at his satellite yard in Seaborough, Dorset by Harry Fry.



Queen Mother Champion Chase



Just eight runners lined up for the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase, with defending champion Sizing Europe odds-on, at 4/5, to win again. Henry de Bromhead’s 10-year-old ran creditably, but was joined by 4/1 second favourite Finian’s Rainbow, at the final fence – bypassed following the fall of Wishfull Thinking on the first circuit – and headed in the final half a furlong, or so. Finian’s Rainbow, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, prevailed by 1¼ lengths, with Big Zeb a respectable, but distant, third, 15 lengths away.



Stayers’ Hurdle



Big Buck’s, the undisputed star of the staying hurdle division, claimed a record-breaking fourth victory in the race, at the chief expense of 20/1 Voler La Vedette, who pushed him all the way to the line, before succumbing by 1¾ lengths. The victory was the sixteenth in a row over hurdles by Big Buck’s, equally the record set by Sir Ken nearly six decades earlier. Another 20/1 chance, Smad Place, finished third, 7 lengths away.



Cheltenham Gold Cup



Defending champion Long Run was sent off 7/4 favourite to retain his title, ahead of 2007 and 2009 winner Kauto Star at 3/1. Kauto Star was pulled up before halfway, though, and although Long Run ran creditably he couldn’t find the same turn of foot as he had twelve months previously and eventually finished third, beaten 3 lengths. The race was won by 2011 Welsh Grand National winner, Synchronised, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A.P. McCoy. The 8/1 chance led at the final fence and stayed on gamely to beat rallying 50/1 outsider The Giant Bolster by 2¼ lengths.