13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
Always a tricky race to predict as these horses are novices so haven’t beat anybody you’ve heard of. You can only go by how well they’ve beaten the competition around them. None have looked more impressive than GETABIRD. The Willie Mullins trained horse has cruised to victory each race so far and hasn’t looked like being troubled. That said, Kalashnikov is no slouch and rightly second favourite. If he is to drift to 5/1 then he represents some good each-way value. There’s a lot of heat around First Flow whose solid form column can’t be ignored. Mengli Khan is fancied by trainers galore in the Cheltenham previews but was beaten an easy 6 lengths last time out by Getabird. It shouldn’t take long for Ruby Walsh to get a mark on the board this festival. Getabird is currently available at 15/8 and you get your money back if you lose when using Skybet.
14.10 Arkle Chase
It’s so unoriginal to back two favourites in a row but FOOTPAD holds Petit Mouchoir over hurdles despite the results over fences. Brain Power was travelling well last time out but probably didn’t have enough in the tank. Saint Calvados is the main danger and loves the ground but Footpad is some horse. He is currently boosted from 10/11 to 11/10 with Skybet.
14.50 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase
The first handicap of the festival and it really is anyones. The recent form of Coo Star Sivola cannot be ignored but there is a chance that the most recent result has been remembered over the performance of some of these staying types. The wet weather will suit VINTAGE CLOUDS at 9/1 who is a classy horse and carries an ideal weight. Weight-wise, Cogry is the pick but Sam Twiston-Davies opts to ride Vicente instead. Read into that what you like. Yala Enki run out literally everybody last time out in a slog with only two finishers so the ground should again suit. He does have a heavy weight to carry, however. Beware The Bear, O O Seven and Wakanda all look a little high in the weights. Skybet are paying 5 places instead of 4 in this race.
15.30 Champion Hurdle
Faugheen hasn’t proved he is the machine he once was but Cheltenham Festival is certainly the place for one of the best to make a comeback. Remember, Sprinter Sacre? It’s incredibly hard to look past Buveuir D’Air and I’ve already crowned him the best hurdler in previous blogs. Yorkhill is an interesting entry back over hurdles. Once a force, he’s had some useless runs over fences and over further. Looking at value for an each-way bet or betting without the favourite market, two horses catch my eye. Elgin has been supplemented (late entry – £20,000 fee) and has done some winning in lesser company. But, MY TENT OR YOURS is too tough to leave alone at 25/1. No enhanced markets on Skybet for this one but Paddy Power are refunding losing horses if the favourite wins.
16.10 Mares Hurdle
Apple’s Jade is rightly the red hot favourite, destroying all opponents in devastating style. Looking through the card, Jer’s Girl offers great each-way value and has a reputation for always being in the frame. Interestingly, we see Daryl Jacob on a 100/1 shot – he doesn’t usually ride donkeys. My each-way selection of choice, however, is LA BAGUE AU ROI. If you’ve followed my posts before, you’ll know this horse is a real cash cow for us. But it will be her hardest task yet to get anywhere near Apple’s Jade. Again, Paddy Power are refunding losing bets if the favourite wins.
16.50 National Hunt Chase
Never wise to bet big on amateur jockeys but Jamie Codd always catches the eye. He rides JURY DUTY who is currently available at 11/2. Cases could be made for all the horses in the top half of the card but it really is anyone’s guess. Skybet are paying 4 places instead of 3.
17.30 Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase
BARNEY DWAN is the best stayer in this group over 2m4f but could get caught up if the field goes off too hot. 9/1 represents tremendous each-way value if you have any money left at the end of the day. If you don’t, this certainly isn’t the one to go chasing your money in. Skybet are generously paying 6 places instead of 5 in this one.