Guides

Enjoy the Cheltenham Festival and Maybe Land A Winner with These Tips


This week sees the start of the Cheltenham Festival, one of the biggest horseracing meetings of the year in the UK and one of the biggest sporting events in the country. This year, a quarter of a million racegoers are expected to attend the event, with millions more following online and on TV. Bookies estimate that around £350m will be wagered on this one event alone, making it one of their most important meetings of the year.

So if you are thinking of joining a top quality bookmaker, such as bet365 perhaps, then this week is arguably one of the best for you in terms of the quality of bets available to you.

Let us now take a look at each of the four days of Cheltenham and we will give you our tips for each of the races being run on the first two days, plus the two big races on Thursday and Friday. It is worth noting that this year’s festival will be on the wettest ground for 36 years and that may well influence our selections for the days ahead.

  • Tuesday 13th March – Champion Day

1.30pm Supreme Novices Hurdle (2m, ½f)

Getabird is the favourite for the opening race, but I’m putting my money on the Noe Fehilly ridden Summerville Boy who has decent form over heavy ground, winning his last race well at Sandown. Tip – Summerville Boy (9/1)

2.10pm Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (2m)

While I don’t like the favourite in the opener, I think the Willie Mullins trained Footpad is an absolute certainty here. He’s won his last four over all types of softer ground and he’s the class act in this field. Tip – Footpad (5/6)

2.50pm Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase (3m ½f)

There’s an 18-strong field for this very open three-miler. Coo Star Sivola will likely start favourite here but I think Cogry is the pick here given a low weight and an in-form stable. Tip – Cogry (11/1)

3.30pm Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (2m 1/2f)

For me there’s only one horse to back in this race and that is last years winner Buveur D’Air. The Barry Geraghty ridden gelding has been in sensational form this season and if he was good enough to win this race last year, he is more than capable of doing so this – Tip – Buveur D’Air (8/13)

4.10pm Mares Hurdle (2m 4f)

This is another race where I think the bookies could be in for a caning as although Benie Des Dieux should run well, I can’t see anybody getting the better of the favourite Apple’s Jade here.  Tip – Apples Jade (8/13)

4.50pm National Hunt Chase (4m)

There’s a 16-strong field in the National Hunt Chase and this is an open one. I think Jury Duty and Duel at Dawn both have strong chances but I’m going to plump for Colin Tizzard’s Sizing Tenessee. Tip – Sizing Tennessee (8/1)

5.30pm Novice’s Handicap Chase (2m 4½f)

The biggest field of the day sees 20 take to the track for the Novice’s Handicap. This is another very open race with Demi Sang, Livelovelaugh and Any Second Now all good shouts but I’m going for the longer odds choice Barney Dwan. Tip – Barney Dwan (8/1)

  • Wednesday 14th March – Ladies Day

1.30pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (2m 5f)

Six-year-old Samcro is my pick to open the day on Ladies Day. Gordon Elliott’s charge has the world at its feet after seven wins from seven races and I can’t see anybody being good enough to challenge him in Wednesday’s opener. Tip – Samcro (8/13)

2.10pm RSA Steeple Chase (3m 1/2f)

Just ten runners but an open field sees Monalee, Black Corton and Presenting Percy all in with a shout, but personally, I like the look of Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape who should go very close. Tip – Elegant Escape (9/1)

2.50pm Coral Cup (2m 5f)

There’s 27 runners in this years Coral Cup and it promises to be a very open and interesting race. William Henry, Burbank and Max Dynamite will have their backers but personally, I think the solid form of Mount Mews gives Ruth Jefferson a big chance here. Tip – Mount Mews (12/1)

3.30pm BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (2m)

Min and Douvan could go close in the Queen Mother but there’s no way I can look past the superb performances this season of favourite Altior. Unbeaten in five, I expect him to make that half a dozen here. Tip – Altior (11/10)

4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m 7f)

There’s a 16-strong field in the Glenfarclas this year and E.Bolger has a couple of interesting options here Josie’s Orders may be better odds, but I think Auvergnat just has the edge after his win at Punchestown last time out. Tip – Auvergnat (8/1)

4.50pm Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2m 1/2f)

Another very open race featuring 22 runners with some very interesting options including The King of May, Nuba Negra and Act of Valour but my pick here is Gordon Elliott’s Mitchouka. Tip – Mitchouka (9/1)

5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2m ½f)

As always, there’s a strong field for the Weatherby’s bumper to finish off Ladies Day and Acey Milan, Tornado Flyer Blackbow and Felix Desjy look great options here, but my pick is Carefully Selected, ridden by Ruby Walsh and trained by Willie Mullins. Tip – Carefully Selected (10/1)

With the final race confirmations not yet finalised for the fixtures on Thursday and Friday at Cheltenham, I am going to focus on the two main races each day for my final two tips, starting with the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on Thursday and then the big Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

  • Thursday 15th March – St Patrick’s Day

3.20pm Ladbrokes World Hurdle (3m)

The absence of Apple’s Jade in this race I think turns the tide in favour of Supasundae. The 11/2 shot has been in great form this season winning last time out at Leopardstown and he won on his last visit to Cheltenham last year too. Tip – Supasundae (11/2)

  • Friday 16th March – Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

3.20pm Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (3m 2 1/2f)

With Sizing John and Thistlecrack both out through injury this year’s Gold Cup is once again lacking some big names through injury. However it is still a very strong field with Our Duke, Native River and Road To Respect all likely to look strong in the bidding. A great outside each way bet here is Saphir Du Rheu but to win, I think the value bet is Might Bite, especially if the ground eases a little before Friday’s big race. If conditions worsen however, then Native River will likely fancy the trip. Tip – Might Bite (3/1)