Tuesday at Cheltenham: Our guide to the top tips
The Cheltenham festival is upon us once again, after a long 12 months since the last one brought the curtain down on racing in front of crowds in the UK.
This year will feel different, though racing fans at home will enjoy the action all the same.
The Supreme Novices Hurdle (13:20) is a small field this year with eight runners, though with a short priced favourite in Appreciate It at around 5/4, it’s going to be a good each way market to play in.
Henry de Bromhead’s BALLYADAM chased the favourite home at Leopardstown last month, and given these are only youngsters in the jumping game, it’s worth taking a chance on improvement forthcoming, at odds of around 7/1 each way.
It’s another smaller than usual field in the Arkle this year (13:55) and the favourite Sishkin will be tough to beat.
He’s not a working man’s price at 1/2 though, so I’m going to have a small interest in Dan Skelton’s ALLMANKIND to spoil the party at a much more attractive 6/1.
With only six runners it’s not really an each way market though if you like some insurance it could be worth backing it each way for a small profit should he come second.
The Ultima Handicap Chase (14:30) is traditionally a good race for the bookies and this year it looks like business as usual with a very competitive field.
I always like a bit of previous course form if possible in handicap races around here and MILAN NATIVE won the Kim Muir last year in good style.
He looks a solid each way option at 8/1 to be on the premises again, with most firms paying at least five places.
Possibly the most intriguing race of the week is the Champion Hurdle (15:05) with three classy hurdlers going head to head.
A good case could be made for each one of them, whilst the three further down the betting are also worthy contenders.
It’s hard to pick one convincingly, though slight preference is for Ireland’s star mare HONEYSUCKLE who will likely go off the favourite at around 7/4.
She is at the very top of her game, being unbeaten over hurdles after winning the Mares Hurdle here last year, where she outstayed a classy Willie Mullins mare in Benie Des Dieux.
This will likely be her toughest race yet, though the others all seem to have a rick in them and I fancy her to take advantage.
The Mares Hurdle (15:40) sees the well fancied Concertista from the Willie Mullins yard at around 5/4.
It is a worthy favourite given the way it has won its last three races over the past 12 months, one of which was here in the Mares Novice Hurdle.
It will likely go very close though looks worth taking on for me at a short price. The bookies love to get a very short one beaten on the first day to head into the rest of the week with some readies and this could be the one.
The second favourite ROKSANA is another classy mare and I was taken with the way she won the Warfield at Ascot in January. At around 3/1 she is my pick in the Mares.
The Fred Winter (16:15) is a race designed to give the bookies a breather with a nice book spread amongst plenty of runners.
This is for the juveniles (four year olds) and with that inexperience can come big priced winners.
A horse that could be being overlooked is Oliver Greenall’s HOMME PUBLIC at odds of around 14/1. A French import, he won a nice maiden hurdle at Market Rasen last month and looks the type to continue improving.
With 22 runners in the race it’s worth backing each way with some firms paying as many as six places.
The last race of the day, the National Hunt Challenge Cup is a gruelling test, at 3 and a half miles.
I like the look of David Pipe’s REMASTERED at around 8/1. He won the Reynolds town at Ascot last month from the front, and with the step up in trip likely to suit him, he could have the others on the stretch with similar tactics here.