The Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us and you’re probably wondering which horses to bet on? You could pick the prettiest coloured silks, the funniest horse name, or you could follow the Racing Post experts who tipped 18 winners in 2018. With decades of experience, our experts managed to tip Gold Cup hero Native River, Summerville Boy (Supreme Hurdle) and Penhill (Stayers’ Hurdle) to name a few. Can you really afford not to follow the Racing Post Cheltenham Festival Tips?
Racing Post experts Graeme Rodway, Tom Collins and Pietro Innocenzi give their best bets of the week in a Lucky 15.
Pricewise Ante-Post Cheltenham Tips
Pricewise is the name of the Racing Post’s phenomenally successful tipping service, a name that is feared by the bookies. Lead Pricewise tipster Tom Segal has been a household name in the racing world, renowned for his big-priced tips that move markets within hours of publication.
The Pricewise tipping service is available in the daily newspaper or online to Racing Post Members’ Club subscribers. However, we are unlocking all the Cheltenham tipping previews for you to read in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Survival Guide
Dave Orton’s advice for a successful festival
Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint
Although the opening day usually sees at least two or three short-priced favourites, it’s imperative not to get too carried away and see your bank depleted by the time they set off in the closing National Hunt Chase, should there be a few turn ups.
Don’t assume that if it the heavens open before the meeting the form won’t stand up
We kicked off on heavy ground 12 months ago. However, on day one all seven winners were 9-1 or shorter including three favourites obliging, two second favourites and two third favourites.
It’s been an unusually dry winter this time around and clerk of the course Simon Claisse is the best in the business. Thankfully, the cream always rises at the festival.
Take full advantage of the fierce competition among bookmakers
This is the one week of the year when traders stick their chests out and take it back to the old school. While Best Odds Guaranteed and extra each-way places ensure that punters have never had it so good, most of the big guns get pushed out first thing each morning to attract business. Early birds and all that.
Don’t ignore trends
Due to advanced training methods around the turn of the millenium trends got turned on their head. Time has passed by again, though, and ten-year-trends are on the comeback trail. After all, trainers are creatures of habit.
The Coral Cup is just one example in which strict criteria must be met. For instance, a quick glimpse shows the more lightly-raced hurdlers with no more than four runs that season have dominated in recent times. Last year 20-1 shot Bleu Berry had just the one coming into it. It’s a big help in whittling down large fields. If you’re unable to burn the midnight oil, then don’t miss Kevin Morley’s piece each day highlighting stand-out trends.
Do take particular interest in the preliminaries
Whether you’re propping up the Guinness Bar, peering down from a box or glued to the television, some horses just can’t handle the big occasion and spoil their chances before even jumping off. On-course markets are shaped in the ten minutes leading up to each event.
Don’t be afraid of backing more than one runner in a race
If you’re intent on whacking Sir Erec in the Triumph, for example, then it should be straightforward to work out your stakes and save on any dangers in an inflated market to gain some insurance. Making a profit is the prize, but not losing is the end game.
Do respect your elders
When the emphasis is on stamina, age is certainly no barrier to success. The three-mile Albert Bartlett has been won four times by horses older than seven in the past decade, while the National Hunt Chase over four miles has been won five times by runners in the same age range – Willie Mullins’ Rathvinden was a ten-year-old when taking that last year.
Stick to your guns
Don’t sway from backing up your own opinion. The entire jumps season revolves around the festival and the form is all out there. There’s absolutely nothing worse than jumping off one due to overthinking things, or being afraid of a big price, only to see it hose up.
Keep Gordon Elliott on side in juvenile hurdles
Gordon Elliott has a notably strong record with juvenile hurdlers, having won the Triumph Hurdle and the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle twice each, including both races last year. Four of his 15 runners in those races since 2013 have won, at odds of 25-1, 10-1, 33-1 and 9-1, providing a 66pts profit. Look out in the Fred Winter this year for Lethal Steps and, at bigger odds, Coko Beach.
Recent form is key in novice chases
Of the 26 novice chases run at the festival run up to 3m1f since 2000, only four winners failed to finish first or second last time out.
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins rule the roost
Ruby Walsh is 29/72 when riding a last-time-out winner trained by Willie Mullins at the Cheltenham Festival since 2008 (strike-rate 40 per cent; +£45.05 to £1 level-stakes.) That strike-rate improves slightly on non-handicap hurdlers, with 20 winners from 42 runners (48 per cent; +£22.60.)
It’s not all about the big stables
Last year three of the five handicap chases went to Nick Williams, Mick Channon and Warren Greatrex last year – all with runners priced below 10-1 and in the top three in the betting.
A fancied runner from outside the big stables is always notable and possibles this year include Clondaw Castle (Tom George) and A Plus Tard (Henry de Bromhead) in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, Siruh Du Lac (Nick Williams) in the Stable Plate and Any Second Now (Ted Walsh) in the Kim Muir.
Focus on fancied Jessica Harrington hopes
Punters who restricted their bets to Jessica Harrington’s festival runners priced at 10-1 or lower would have had nine winners from 34 (26 per cent) for a level-stakes profit of 28.75pts. Make a note of Supasundae, who is 8-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle, and Walk To Freedom, who could shorten from 14-1 for the Pertemps Final.
Betting crucial for Enda Bolger runners
The market is a good guide to Enda Bolger’s chances. Four of his eight winners started favourite and none of the eight returned bigger than 6-1 (8-24, +10.51pts with all runners at 6-1 or lower). This year he has leading fancies for two races – Stand Up And Fight, a 4-1 shot for the Foxhunter, and Auvergnat, who is 6-1 for the Cross Country Chase.