MR FIXIT has asked me to review the races at the festival and see if there are any good bets lurking there that I like the look of at this stage so here goes.
Some bookies have gone non-runner no bet (NRNB) for a variety of races but there is also some value in the ante post prices because they tend to be a bit bigger. I'll specify where you should go for the best prices and whether they are ante-post or NRNB.
Remember that if the horse is a non-runner you will lose your money with an ante-post bet but you will get your money back with NRNB if the horse doesn't turn up for whatever reason.
I'll do a series of articles over the next few weeks so here are the first set of bets that I am recommending:
Ryanair Chase (Thursday)
I have one that I think is worth backing today prior to potentially running at Ascot on Saturday and that horse is FRODON. He has been a fabulous little chaser over the past two seasons and although he seems to have been around forever he is only a 6 year old because he went chasing very early on. He has a heart like a lion, jumps really well and will relish the test in the Ryanair.
He has about 7lb or 8lb to find in the ratings to be competitive with the likes of Fox Norton but if he wins the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday he will go up by more or less that amount, possibly more in fact. I think he could have a fabulous chance next month so I am going to recommend taking the 16/1 with Bet365 just now who are NRNB.
Stayers Hurdle (Thursday)
At this stage Sam Spinner and Supasundae top the betting but I'm looking at some value further down. Some may snigger at this suggestion but could this finally be the year for THE NEW ONE? Sam Twiston-Davies has been crying out for horse to be entered in this race for two or three years now and his old man Nigel looks like he is finally going to give him a chance.
The New One is an honourable old warrior but he just doesn't have the turn of foot for a Champion Hurdle where he has finished 3rd, 5th, 4th and 5th in the last four seasons. He almost always runs his race and I can see him coping comfortably with the extra distance in this race by bowling along at the sightly reduced pace.
He won't need that super quick turn off foot coming up the hill and I can see him going very close if it becomes a battle. Certainly he looks the value bet against Supasundae and Sam Spinner who are too short to back at the current prices this far in advance.
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (Friday)
The novice hurdle races are a bit of a nightmare to be honest. If you can find one that you fancy amongst the swathe of promising novices in the UK and Ireland then fair play to you but you then have to work out which of the three novice hurdle races the horse will run in.
I have found one that I like and that is SANTINI and I am helped greatly by the fact that Nicky Henderson and the owners have kindly only entered in him in one of the races rather than two or three as is so often the case for trainers these days. Now this horse is a real specimen. He's a big lad and there's no doubt he is going to be a chaser next season but he beat some lovely horses last time out and he beat them well. I think he can gallop round here and grind the rest of them into submission.
So those are the first three that I have in mind just now but I'll be back next week with a few more selections and I hope to do a ‘Festival Bankers' article over the next few weeks too where we can look at which of the short priced favourites are bankers and which are likely to leave you heading back to the cash machine. Stay tuned…
- Ryanair Chase – Frodon – 1pt each way at 16/1 with Bet365 (NRNB)
- Stayers Hurdle – The New One – 1pt each way at 12/1 with Ladbrokes (NRNB)
- Albert Bartlett – Santini – 2pt win at 8/1 with Paddy Power (NRNB)
Let's hear your early Cheltenham tips in the comments section below.