Cheltenham Festival Betting: Who Are The Early Players for Championship Race Glory in March?

December 6, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ All,Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival Betting Preview

The Cheltenham Festival may still be months away, but the big race markets are already well formed and, as per usual, the punters are sniffing around for what they feel might be the long range value.

Across the four day Cheltenham Festival betting bonanza, there are four feature Grade 1 contests which make up the Championship events of the week: Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and of course the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday the 16th of March in 2018.

Nicky Henderson is a man who knows how to win multiple Champion Hurdles and his defending Champion Hurdler BUVEUR D’AIR is quite neatly priced at 9/2 with William Hill and Paddy Power; who have the top odds.

Even the 7/2 elsewhere is fair, considering how impressive this JP McManus owned six-year-old was in the 2017 renewal. The horse followed up with another classy display when thrashing My Tent Or Yours and The New One in the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle and in his third season over fences to come, he is the one they’ll all have to beat. 2015 Champion Faugheen is due to return to action this weekend, but it’s a long road back considering he’s been off for 22 months. Triumph Hurdle winner Defi Du Seuil is the only other real meaningful danger to these two powerhouse names as things stand in the 2018 Champion Hurdle betting market.

On day two, Nicky Henderson can he the bullseye once again in the second Championship contest of the week, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, with his amazingly talented two-time Cheltenham Festival winner ALTIOR, who trades as low as 10/11 to win this race. However – Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes are offering top price of 5/4 on Altior, which has a far more generous look to it given how dominant dark and imposing gelding has been so far. With Douvan likely to go up in trip and the rest probably not good enough, Altior looks the one to side with, particularly if you’re placing a multiple bet or acca for the big week.

In the Stayers’ Hurdle, there really is not a lot of depth to the contest at the moment. Harry Fry’s UNOWHATIMEANHARRY was impressive on his return to action at Aintree and is nicely priced at 7/1 with Sun Bets and Bet Bright.

The 6/1 price from the high street bookmakers is also fair value. He ran a bit flat in last years’ renewal, but is the best stayer in the UK at his best and a tough, consistent horse it should pay to keep on side for the remainder of the campaign. The Willie Mullins trained PENHILL likes to stalk and pounce late, his racing style shown to great effect in the Albert Bartlett back in March and if he progresses, the 12/1 currently on offer could shorten up considerably.

Cheltenham Gold Cup betting Bobs Worth

In the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, there are several question marks for all bar the 2017 winner SIZING JOHN. Thistlecrack is the marginal favourite, but his King George was not a strong race and last time out he was beaten by the ill-fated Many Clouds, which is respectable form but perhaps not as good as he’s been credited for.

Might Bite is an outstanding talent, but we all know how quirky he is and his stamina over this extended 3m2f trip is certainly not assured. Douvan could well return to his best and be a force over staying trips, but it is a big stretch to call him a Gold Cup winner just now, while the likes of Djakadam and Cue Card have had their chances.

The likes of Our Duke and Coney Island are highly regarded second season chasers from Ireland who could definitely make an impact, while Outlander was quite impressive at Down Royal the last day and could too have more to give.

But ultimately, SIZING JOHN has the most solid look to his profile and at 6/1 with Coral and Betfair, Jessica Harrington’s stable star is the horse to be on early doors.

Recommended 2018 Cheltenham Bets

  • Buveur D’Air to win Champion Hurdle at 9/2 with William Hill

  • Altior to win Queen Mother Chase at 5/4 Paddy Power

  • Unowhatimeanharry (Each Way) in Stayers Hurdle at 7/1

  • Penhill – (Each Way) in Stayers Hurdle at 12/1

  • Sizing John to win Cheltenham Gold Cup at 6/1 Coral