When it comes to horse racing, especially over the jumps, there is no meeting in the season that quite matches the excitement of Cheltenham Festival week. The action gets underway today, Tuesday 16th March, and there are four days of fantastic action to look forward to.
Many of the top steeplechasers will be in attendance hoping to make their mark at the meeting, including some horses that are going for legendary status at the meeting. Add to that the sheer quality of the different races each day and although crowds may be absent, none of the excitement of the racing will be.
I am feeling pretty confident this week after my 18-1 tip of Justin Thomas winning the Players’ Championship came in last weekend, so lets hope we can follow that up with some fantastic winners at Cheltenham too!
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With Day one of the festival now well underway, we are going to start our tips on the second day of Cheltenham, which is designated as Ladies Day and we will then go on to tip other races on the remaining two days of the festival.
Day Two – Ladies Day
- 2.30pm – The Coral Cup
The Coral Cup is always keenly contested and for the past two years, Nicky Henderson-trained horses have landed the win. The trainer has a number of potential runners here too, most notably Monte Cristi and Craignechie, both of whom are rated as very good chances to go well. With a strong field likely, the likes of Birchdale, Botox Has, Blue Sari and Guard Your Dreams are also all thought to have a strong shout. Early money has gone on Koshari and Grand Roi, but I do feel this is a race that is as likely to be won by an outside as it is a favourite.
Our Tip – Don’t go for the winner bet here as I think each way offers better value and for that bet Witness Protection (25/1) is a very good option.
- 3.05pm – The Queen Mother Champion Chase
One of my personal favourite races of the meeting, previous winners include Altior, Sprinter Sacre, Finians Rainbow and Sizing Europe. Politologue is back to defend the title it won last year after finishing second the year before and the Paul Nicholls mount will be well backed. Nube Negra and Pit the Kettle On are two others that are worthy of a mention, but in truth this is a race that Willie Mullins Chacun Pour Soi should have a fantastic chance in after winning all its last four races.
Our Tip – After declaring for this race, Chacun Pour Soi has attracted plenty of money and at 10/11 to win, it is difficult to back against what is a really top quality ride in this field.
Day Three – St Patrick’s Thursday
- 1.55pm – Pertemps Final
Irish horses have had a fantastic record in this race over the years and while there are a number of great options from the emerald isle here, notably Willie Mullins’ Champagne Platinum as well as The Bosses Oscar I think Southfield Harvest is one to watch after a very solid start to the season. Bushypark was another to consider but carrying an extra 12lb may well prove to be too big a task. This is a tricky race to predict and it should be very interesting to see how it all transpires.
Our Tip – Atough one to call, Champgne Platinum and Imperial Alcazar seem to be the popular picks, but I am going to go with Southfield Harvest (14/1) to land the win here.
- 2.30pm – Ryanair Chase
Welcome to the Willie Mullins Ryanair Chase! The famous Irish trainer has enjoyed more success than most at Cheltenham over the years and he has three outstanding prospects set to go in the Ryanair Chase in Allaho, Min and Melon. His main challengers will be Fakir D’Oudaries, Imperial Aura and Mister Fisher. This is a really open race and also features a horse returning to try and win the race it won last year in the shape of Min.
Our Tip – Another very tough one to call here and while Min is a very tempting prospect given the win last year, I feel Allaho (5/1) is probably just the better pick at this moment in time.
- 3.05pm – Stayers’ Hurdle
After not performing to his best last season, Paisley Park, winner of this race in 2019, is back to try and win the Stayer’s Hurdle once again and in truth, he is the quality of the field in what is a close race otherwise. Bacardys, Lisnager Oscar, Sire Du Berlai, Flooring Porter, Vinndication and The Storyteller all have a shout if Paisley Park fails to shine but I think it would take an off day for the horse for another to land in the winner’s enclosure.
Our Tip – Our nap for the day here, back Paisley Park to land the win at 2/1.
Day Four – Gold Cup Day
- 2.30pm – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
The odds look good that the winner of this year’s Albert Bartlett hurdle will come from Ireland or France once again. The likes of Adrimel, Alaphillippe, Barbados Buck’s, Fakiera, Stattler and Torygraph are all great shouts in this very open race. Even the likes of The Cob, Threeunderthrufive and Mint Condition all have decent form. This is very tough race to call and I believe will be one of the most keenly contested at the festival this year.
Our Tip – This will be fought to the bitter end but I think Stattler is a good shout here at 9/2.
- 3.05pm – Cheltenham Gold Cup
The biggest race of the festival sees one of the most famous names of recent years going for a historic treble. Al Boum Photo has won the race the past two years and is seeking to emulate Best Mate by making it three Gold Cup wins in a row. He faces a real test though from two runners in particular in the shape of Champ and A Plus Tard while Santini and Royal Pagaille cannot be ruled out either. For many punters the question here is will Al Boum Photo join the legend of Aintree, and if not, who will beat him?
Our Tip – Back Al Boum Photo to become a Cheltenham legend at 11/4.