If you’re going to Cheltenham or simply watching at home or in the work kitchen, then first of all you need to start off with the mind-set that you are going to lose all of the money you stake.
If you apply this mentality, you immediately stand to lose less money than you would throwing cash at every grey horse or every horse called Alan because you met an Alan at last year’s Christmas party.
This doesn’t mean you have to only bet a pound every race and not win any money, however. There are two tactics to apply. The first is finding the safest offer for the specific horse or race you are going to bet on and the second is finding said horse or race at the best value.
For example, you’d rather lose £25 on the first race and have it back ready to bet on the next race than lose £50 over two races. So let’s begin with that offer.
New and existing Skybet customers get money back if your horse loses the first race each day of the festival. Not only if it comes second or if the favourite wins but simply if it does not win. This is easily the best offer for the festival as it allows you to stake up to £25 truly risk free. You don’t need to worry about whether the money comes back as cash or free bets either as you are only going to bet with it again afterwards. There is no fancy link you need to qualify, simply have an account.
The Supreme Novices Hurdle, typically won by the formidable combination of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. But my tip is not to back the Mullins favourite, MIN. My tip is to open a new Coral account and get Mullins to train a winner at any point during the festival at 8/1. There are no odds for this anywhere else simply because the probability of this happening are so sky high, it’s the ultimate banker if ever there was on. So if MIN wins, you’ve won and MIN doesn’t win, your bet lives to fight another day.
For my Skybet selection where I will get my money back, I will be going for BELLSHILL as Long Dog is no longer entered into this race. The value at 20/1 is hard to ignore, is the same weight as MIN and is another Mullins horse. This festival is Mullins’ to lose. If you don’t fancy BELLSHILL, take a look at a non- Mullins horse as you’ve already bet on Mullins at this point. Altior is a strong horse but faces some tough competition from Mullins’ army.
The Arkle should be swallowed up by DOUVAN. If you google well, you can find opening a new Betfair account will offer DOUVAN to win at 5/1 or above instead of the no value bet of 4/11. But DOUVAN is another Mullins horse so if MIN has failed you, DOUVAN should cover the above mentioned Mullins banker.
L’ami Serge and Garde la Victoire have been pulled from this race this morning so VANITEUX becomes my each way selection.
The Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase is wide open. Personally, I wouldn’t want to tip this one but for the sake of the reader, HOLYWELL at 8/1. A horse with a pedigree for grinding out long slogs but we haven’t seen the best of HOLYWELL for some time. Jonjo O’Neil has a strong line-up for this festival and he may well have been aiming HOLYWELL at this rather than the previous poor showings.
The Champion Hurdle features some really class horses. ANNIE POWER got spooked by her shadow last year, allegedly but if Ruby Walsh who thrives at this festival can control her, she should stroll to victory. You can get an enhanced 10/1 on ANNIE POWER here by creating a new Betfair account and this one is money back if she loses too. If you’re put off by Ruby Walsh’s recent form of leaping from the saddle in the big race, THE NEW ONE is a big favourite of mine that has won plenty of money and looks a decent each way shout at 6/1. Peace and Co could follow home for third if you’re looking for big odds at 25/1.
The Mares Hurdle looks set to be won by VROUM VROUM MAG if the bookies are to believed so I like the “Betting without VROUM VROUM MAG” market which still offers each way. This shortens the odds of the horse but pays another place. There are some good horses to choose from such as Polly Peachum and Tara Point but my roll of the dice will be on LILY WAUGH at 20/1. LILY WAUGH has only let me down in a big event but arrives a more experienced horse.
The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap is traditionally one to ignore but if you haven’t had enough, my selection will be BLACK HERCULES, a consistent winner for me in recent times.