Cheltenham is finally upon us, the greatest time of the year. I’ll save us all the bother of inserting horse-related cliches. The important thing right now is to find some winners, so let’s get straight into the action.
1.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
The jockey/trainer combination of Walsh/Mullins has landed three wins and two runner-ups in the last five renewals of the Supreme, with Rich Ricci owning four of the horses.
The trio combine again with Getabird and this writer believes they could be adding to the roll of honour. An eye catching run in the Moscow Flyer has made him a worthy favourite.
His main negative has been his preference for right-handed tracks but Mullins has dismissed this which is good enough for me. With his price potentially drifting all the way to 5/2 on the day and with the heavy ground in place, Getabird represents a solid bet.
Selection: Getabird @ 15/8 (NB)
2.10 Arkle Chase
Listening to Willie Mullins talk about Footpad’s jumping should be enough to persuade you to part with your cash for my NAP.
Beat Petit Mouchoir in Leopardstown already, and Saint Calvados simply is not good enough. His jumping wins it for him. Simple as.
Selection: Footpad @ 11/10 (NAP)
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase
This race has fallen apart due to the heavy ground. A couple of fancies were ultimately not declared, so I was forced into a selection from the eighteen remaining runners.
Out of the pack, Singlefarmpayment stood out as the best bet.
Last year’s runner-up (albeit on good/soft) isn’t running as well as last year so a lot will be taken on trust. However, he has won a three-mile hurdle race on heavy ground at Cheltenham and we know he can run well in this race.
Again, if Tom George has him right he can run a cracking race at 8/1.
Selection: Singlefarmpayment @ 8/1
3.30 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Simply put, Buveur D’Air will not be beaten. However, one should tread lightly when ruling out a horse of the calibre of Faugheen.
His run in the Morgiana on his comeback in November would be good enough to at least compete here but obviously, his two subsequent runs left a lot to be desired.
Faugheen w/o Buveur D’Air is the bet and I would also advise people to back him at 13/2 EW.
Selection: Faugheen @ 13/2 & 5/2 w/o favourite.
4.10 OLBG Mare’s Hurdle
Apple’s Jade barring accident should win but it’s incredibly easy for a tipster to tip favourites. While I advise throwing Apple’s Jade in a treble with Getabird and Footpad, Jer’s Girl e/w at 14/1 or 11/2 without the favourite represents real value.
She ran Apple’s Jade close this year and the two-mile four-furlong distance represents her best trip. She’ll follow Apples Jade home along with Benie Des Dieux.
Selection: Jer’s Girl @ 14/1 & 11/2 w/o favourite.
4.50 National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase
Been on Rathvinden for a few weeks and can see him going close today. This is an amateur race so you need a strong pilot on board and Patrick Mullins is as good as they come.
He has been targeted at this race and is crying out to be upped in trip. Has won on heavy before, albeit over shorter distances, but with four places on offer, Rathvinden represents a good bet EW at around 7/1.
Selection: Rathvinden 7/1
5.30 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race)
The most likely winner of this race is Any Second Now who I believe is a worthy favourite. Incredibly, he is Ted Walsh’s only runner at the festival and is potentially well treated off his handicap mark.
Has been running in graded company all year and as they always say, beware of the graded horse in the handicap.
His price is painfully short, however, and does not offer any value in an unpredictable race.
Taking this into account, the bet is on Testify who will relish the heavy ground and with 11/1 (6 places) available at the time of writing, get yourself a decent each way bet.
Selection: Testify @ 11/1 (E/W)
1.30 Getabird @ 15/8 (NB)
2.10 Footpad @ 11/10 (NAP)
2.50 Singlefarmpayment @ 8/1
3.30 Faugheen @ 13/2, 5/2 w/o fav
4.10 Jer’s Girl @ 14/1, 11/2 w/o fav
4.50 Rathvinden @ 7/1
5.30 Testify @ 11/1 (E/W)
TREBLE: Getabird, Footpad & Apples Jade
EW DOUBLE: Rathvinden & Testify
Daniel Hussey, Pundit Arena.