With the Cheltenham festival only a few weeks away the picture of runners is now becoming more clear day by day.
The big race trials have now been run and owners and trainers are now more settled with their charges entries in the big festival contests. Even given that the main events each day look less competitive than previous years there may still be value to be found if you are willing to take a chance with the festival anti-post betting.
Day one of the festival has the strongly fancied Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle. He is now odds-on and rightly so given that he is one of the few horses in the race that has had all his season's prep races go well. Although he has perhaps not been fully tested yet he has beaten all hi opponents in a style that should prove to be good enough for him to retain his title.
But there is still some value to be found in the race. Who could have guessed that the mighty Faugheen would be such a large price before his first run of the season? Although being pulled up that day nothing was found to be wrong with him subsequently, and his next run, 2nd behind Supersundae may not have looked good form at first glance but does stand up to scrutiny post result.
Fauheens stablemate Min has done little wrong this season and continues to improve and could be a big danger to the short-priced fav in the race and looks big enough for each way punters to get interested, although he may still yet go for the Champion Chase on Wednesday, but with No Runner No bet widely available there is no risk on this bet. The same could be said for last years second My Tent or Yours who despite his age will still give a good run for the money at currently double-figure odds. Who knows what horse will take the trip down the final horse walk past the cheering crowds as the winner.
Day two of the festival and again The Cheltenham festival available from http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/betting/t/18/Cheltenham-Festival.html require close inspection. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is another with a short-priced market leader, the very smart Altior. Unbeaten over fences, the race looks to be his to lose but again this allows the smart “Each-Way” punter to take advantage with horses at better prices. The Willie Mullins trained Douvan who is yet to be seen on a racecourse this season would be the obvious danger if you can look beyond his lack of “race fitness”. His beating of last years Gold Cup Winner Sizing John in the 2016 Arkle by 7 lengths looks even more impressive with time. Last years winner Special Tiara was unfancied last year and is again available at double-figure odds and he will certainly ensure a true run race with his catch-me-if-you-can running style.
Day three on the hallowed turf of Prestbury park sees the running of the Stayers hurdle. A 3-mile marathon over the smaller obstacles. This is a more competitive event with the Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae likely to start the fav. However, there are some big prices available for horses who have been below form this season. Unowhatimeanharry if returning to the form that saw him win the 2016 Albert Bartlet would make a mockery of the big odds available today and other proven Cheltenham winners are also worth early consideration.
The final day sees the blue-ribbon event The Cheltenham Gold Cup. While Mite Bite’s form looks rock solid he is another who has not really had the opportunity to run against the best chasers this season and is for that reason perhaps available at better odds that might be expected. This is one race however where massive prices are available if you are able to take a leap of faith in horses form. Last years runner up Minella Rocco has had the same sort of season as last year and is on offer at 20/1 or more. He seems to like this course and will probably run better than those odds suggest. Perhaps the darkest horse in the race surprisingly is the Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf. Currently, at well over 20/1 he ran a blinder at Leopardstown back on February 4th and there was no fluke in this win. So as you can see there is still value in the big races for the punter willing to take a chance.