The time for talking is over. The greatest show on turf is here to captivate us. Tipster Lewis Jones is also here to help you find a pathway to profit.
When the tapes go up in the Sky Bet SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE at 1.30 – we roar.
Typically, the Festival opener is a helter-skelter of a contest, run at a ferociously fast pace that does not suit those that race prominently. Travelling strongly, jumping at speed and finding off the bridle is the required formula for finding the winner. With that in mind, there’s no need to look further than AL DANCER (Sky Bet Odds 4/1).
The Betfair Hurdle winner sauntered clear at Ascot and while that form needs building on, Nigel Twiston Davies’ charge possesses the gears and class to go very close. Horses that have won the Betfair have a record of 4-2-2-2 in the Supreme – despite not producing a winner, make no mistake, it’s a strong trial.
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In her current form, I just cannot foresee a situation where Buveur D’Air can give APPLE’S JADE 7lbs and beat her. The Gordon Elliot-trained superstar mare is in the form of her life and should get her crowning moment in the CHAMPION HURDLE. Laurina is the unknown quantity in the race with the vibes from the Willie Mullins yard very strong on her chances of coping with the step up class.
- Back our 10/1 acca on Glen Forsa, A Plus Tard and Impulsive Star all to place!
It’s shaping up to be one of the races of the Festival and truthfully, really is not much of a betting heat. Just sit back, relax and enjoy these three engage in battle. But if you want to have a betting interest, side with Apple’s Jade.
One of the stronger bets of the day is GLEN FORSA (Sky Bet Odds 7/2) in the Racing Post ARKLE CHASE.
There’s been some absolute rubbish spouted about this horse over the past few weeks about his unusual rise through the handicap ranks. All that I care about is how fast he can run and jump – and on what he’s produced on the clock and in terms of his slick jumping style, Mick Channon’s horse is the most likely winner of this contest.
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His 19-length thrashing of Kalashnikov at Sandown was no fluke despite some calls from the excuse merchants that Kalashnikov did not run his race. Those that have raced prominently in the Arkle (not led) are 13/76, producing a healthy profit. With plenty of pace on, Glen Forsa should race just off a hot pace and fly up the hill.
Give Me A Copper is a ridiculous price in the ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE – it’s a price based upon trainer hype. Both he and Minella Rocco, who has not looked the same horse since being beaten in a Gold Cup, are worth taking on.
It’s worth rolling the dice at a couple further down the market. BEWARE THE BEAR (Sky Bet Odds 14/1) is a moody beast but one that is brimming with talent. His stamina is endless and the blinkers could be the making of him judged by all his all-the-way win at Cheltenham in January. He still might be ahead of the assessor.
Also, CALIPTO (Sky Bet Odds 16/1) comes here in the form of his life and may still have some juice left in his handicap mark on his first venture over staying trips at Cheltenham having run well at the track twice at the Festival over shorter trips.
I was keen to oppose Benie Des Dieux in the MARES HURDLE but none of her opposition had me delving into my wallet. Although she looks a beatable hot-pot, it’s a no-bet race for me.
Far greater betting opportunities are there to be gobbled up in the closing two races.
The CLOSE BROTHERS HANDICAP is such a compressed race at the weights, it’s a case of finding the best horse rather than the best handicapped one. On that basis, A PLUS TARD (Sky Bet Odds 7/1) rates as best bet material for day one. Henry De Bromhead has a classy five-year-old on his hands here judged by the performance at Punchestown where he jumped supremely well and was only mugged late on by Winter Escape.
The trainer is well capable of preparing a chaser for the Festival, boasting a 30 per cent win and place strike rate with his horses over the larger obstacles. Rachel Blackmore has a fine chance for her Festival winner.
I’m keen to take on both market leaders Ballyward and OK Corral in the NATIONAL HUNT CHASE due to their lack of experience over fences. IMPULSIVE STAR (Sky Bet Odds 12/1) – ridden by top amateur Sam Waley-Cohen – brings very strong handicap form to the table from his powerful staying showing in the Classic Chase at Warwick, where the third and fourth have both won since. There is more to come from this progressive chaser for the in-form Neil Mulholland yard.
Advised tips with staking plan:
Al Dancer 4/1 (2pts win)
Glen Forsa 4/1 (4pts win)
Beware The Bear 14/1 (1pt EW)
Calipto 16/1 (0.5pt EW)
Impulsive Star 10/1 (2pts EW)
A Plus Tard 7/1 (3pts EW)
*The points system is a way of calculating profit and should give you a good idea of how confident the tipster is about the selection is (1 lowest, 5 highest). Whatever your normal stake size is multiply that by the point suggestion. We will be posting the profit and loss results over the week on the daily tipping page. And remember, gamble responsibly.