A day at the Cheltenham Festival when Altior runs is always one to savour.
We are witnessing equine greatness and there should be no stopping him in the CHAMPION CHASE, bar an act of god.
If Nicky Henderson’s legendary chaser successfully defends his crown he’ll be taking his winning streak to a record-equalling 18 races on the trot and his fourth Cheltenham Festival success. Unfortunately for punters, this is the year when the markets have cottoned on to his freakish ability and there’s no even money surrounding his chances.
If odds-on pokes are your thing, then go ahead and pile in – but he’s not included in my betting portfolio this year. That won’t stop me roaring him home. A horse of a lifetime. Let’s celebrate him.
BEAKSTOWN (Sky Bet Odds 11/1) might just be the horse to take trainer Dan Skelton to the next level. His chances have been completely underestimated in the BALLYMORE NOVICES HURDLE. The way he put the Grade Two Leamington Novices’ Hurdle to bed at Warwick was impressive, his turn of speed looked spectacular – something which is required for this Ballymore test at Cheltenham.
That race at Warwick is a brilliant pointer to races at the Festival. Just look at the recent winners.
Willoughby Court and The New One did the Kingmaker-Ballymore double while Inglis Drever finished a staying-on second in the Ballymore and Cotton Mill ran out when travelling strongly. Furthermore, Deputy Dan finished second in the Albert Bartlett. Warwick is a similar test to Cheltenham, so form there is worth respecting.
- Remember, it’s your “Money Back If You Lose” on the Ballymore when betting with Sky Bet up to £20. An offer well worth taking advantage of. Go here!
SANTINI (Sky Bet Odds 4/1) has always struck me as a horse capable of winning a Gold Cup one day and he is worth keeping the faith with in the RSA CHASE.
Henderson’s brute of a stayer was beaten by Topofthegame at Kempton over Christmas but history shows us that forgiving a run there with Cheltenham in mind is a profitable system. Bobs Worth and Native River were both beaten in that novice race at Kempton but developed into Gold Cup winners. I’m confident he’ll reverse the form with Topofthegame, who has yet to win over fences and doesn’t look straightforward. Delta Work is the main danger but this is his biggest test of his career. Santini can power up the hill to victory.
It usually takes a classy progressive horse at the top of the handicap to win the CORAL CUP and SCARPETA (Sky Bet Odds 16/1) looks set to run a big one for Willie Mullins. Previous Cheltenham Festival form is always handy in a big-field handicap of this nature and Scarpeta’s run behind Samrco in the Ballymore last season shows his capabilities.
All eyes will be on Grand National hero Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country – he looks up to the challenge of defending his crown but it’s a no-bet race for me. The same is also said for the Fred Winter and the Champion Bumper, where the lack of known form on offer with young, progressive horses is not my kind of thing.
Keep your powder dry and we’ll go again tomorrow.
Advised tips with staking plan:
Beakstown 11/1 (2pts EW)
Santini 4/1 (2pts win)
Scarpeta 16/1 (1pt 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’ll be posting the profit and loss results over the week on the daily tipping page. And remember, gamble responsibly.